Wherever there are mountains there are sure to be some fantastic bike rides to be experienced. Here are just some of those around the UK that are very popular and, given that they are all long distance routes, you have the opportunity to bike the whole route, which may take a few days, or to simply join the route at a particular section for a day trip.
The Scotland Trail runs for 270 miles and you can begin the route in Skye or Fort William, heading South through the spectacular Cairngorm Mountains and it ends in Montrose.
To complete the whole trail can take anywhere between 4 and 6 days, Skye being the longer of the two start points, but you can take a day trip and bike a section or complete a particular loop.
There are some amazing climbs and it features Britain’s highest pass, Corrieyairack. There are some magnificent views, including Mount Keen and it’s an exhilarating trail taking in the fresh, clean Scottish air.
Rail access is from Skye, Fort William, Aviemore and Montrose.
The Lakeland Loop is one of the most challenging long-distance rides in the UK. Starting and ending in Bowness in the Lake District, its 150 miles can take between 3 to 6 days.
It is physically demanding with lots of knee-jerking downhills and you’ll encounter lots of white-water fords along the way so you’re sure to get wet. You’ll pass by Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite which are both highly spectacular areas where many kinds of outdoor pursuits are practised then you can complete the loop via Keswick and the Blacksail Pass.
Rail access is from Boot or Bowness.
Coast to Coast
The Coast to Coast in the North of England is the classic off road biker’s dream. Beginning at St. Bees in Cumbria its 200 miles crosses the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors before ending on the North East coast at Robin Hood’s Bay. The whole trip can take anywhere between 4 and 6 days and you’ll experience the contrast between the wild lakeside fells and the bleak, peat Yorkshire moors.
Rail access is good on this route if you’re just looking to complete a section of the trail but popular rail points include St. Bees, Whitby and Scarborough.
Sarn Helen Trail
If the challenge of mountain bike climbing to you is of Everest sized proportions, you’ll not be disappointed by the Sarn Helen Trail which covers both North and South Wales, beginning in Conwy, N. Wales and ending in Worm’s Head not far from Swansea, S.Wales. It is simply mountains all the way for 270 miles and the whole trip can take a week so most people will do it in sections.
Snowdonia, the Cambrian Mountains, the Brecon Beacons and the Gower Peninsula are just some of the spectacular highlights you’ll encounter along the way.
Rail access is from Conwy, Machynlleth, Builth Wells, Neath or Swansea.
High Peak Trails
The High Peak Trails have something for everybody with 2 loops in the fabulous Peak District in Derbyshire. The 2 of them are in stark contrast even though both begin in Edale. One is known as the White Peak, the other the Dark Peak and you can bike in pleasant thyme-scented Long Dale in the South to the windswept haunting moors of Howden in the North.
The loops are 165 miles in total and to complete both can take up to 6 days.
Rail access is very good with starting points at Edale, Buxton, Hathersage and Bakewell to name a few.
The Wessex Way is the South’s equivalent of the Coast to Coast in the North, running for 250 miles between Beachy Head, near Eastboune, West Sussex in the East to Weston-super-Mare in Somerset in the West.
Although it’s one of the longest routes, taking between 5 to 7 days to complete all of it, it’s also one of the easiest with it being just a steady bike ride amidst rolling countryside and beautiful scenic views.
You’ll cross the Mendip Hills, Salisbury Plain and the South Downs and it can be completed in as little as 4 days if the weather’s fine but if it’s wet or winter, it can take a week.
Rail access is very good on route.
The Westcountry Way in Devon and Somerset allows you to capture the majestic contrasts between Dartmoor and Exmoor. Dartmoor being famous for its bleak hills and stark ‘tors’ whilst Exmoor allows you access to the beauty of the cliffs with plenty of winding single track descents.
The route can take 4 to 6 days, depending on whether you’re starting or ending your trip in Minehead or in Taunton. The extra 2 days will enable you to bike through the Quantock Hills in Somerset too.
Rail access from Plymouth, Minehead, Taunton and other smaller stations on route.
These are just 7 of the more enchanting long distance bike rides. However, there are many hundreds of equally challenging and enjoyable shorter routes all over the UK, many of them being located within the National Parks.