350* miles, 6 days, 6 stages
Our route follows National Cycle Routes 1, 13, 11 and 66.
There’s a Samaritans branch at all our overnight stops
Stage 1 London (Greenwich) to Colchester (Saturday 21st May)
65 miles via National Cycle Route 1
The Cutty Sark at Greenwich
We’ll be setting off from the Cutty Sark in Greenwich via the Thames foot tunnel and north along the River Lea towpath to Waltham Abbey. We’ll then cycle north-east to Harlow and through Essex’s rolling hills to Chelmsford. The highlight of Stage 1 will be our visit to Maldon from where we’ll complete our journey to the ancient Roman city of Colchester.
Stage 2 Colchester to Newmarket / Cambridge (Sunday 22nd May)
50 miles via National Cycle Route 13 and country lanes
Kings College, Cambridge
After following National Cycle Route 13 to Sudbury, we’ll strike north west following the River Stour to Haverhill and then on to Newmarket via Stansfield and Cheveley. This relatively easy day along gently country lanes should see us arrive in Newmarket in the mid-afternoon where we’ll be guests of the British Racing School Conference Centre. Elior Contract Catering have kindly agreed to prepare our evening meal.
Newmarket / Cambridge to Kings Lynn (Monday 23rd May)
54 miles via National Cycle Route 11
The Customs House at Kings Lynn
Today’s gentle easy ride through the Fens takes us through the magnificent ancient city of Ely, through Downham Market and on to Kings Lynn – one of England’s best kept secrets. This impressive and once hugely prosperous medieval town boasts more ‘listed’ buildings than York.
Stage 4 Kings Lynn to Lincoln (Tuesday 24th May)
67 miles via National Cycle Route 1
This is the longest stage of our journey and it could be the breeziest. There’s nothing much to stop the wind along Lincolnshire’s flat Fenland lanes where the roads are usually raised up above the surrounding farmland. But there’s plenty of interest and we’ll be able to see Lincoln Cathedral in the distance for much of the afternoon before engaging low gear for the city’s challenging hills.
Stage 5 Lincoln to Hull (Wednesday 25th May)
52 miles via National Cycle Route 1
The Humber Bridge – connecting Lincolnshire to Yorkshire and part of National Cycle Route 1
Who said Lincolnshire is flat? North Lincolnshire’s rolling hills (wolds) are recognised as one of the best cycling environments in England. Roads are well-surfaced and largely deserted. We’ll make a worthwhile detour to Market Rasen for the fast, exhilarating ride across the Lincolnshire Wolds to the picturesque small town of Barton-upon-Humber. The Humber Bridge cycleway takes us to Hull – another massively under-rated English city. We’ve a treat in store.
Stage 6 Hull to York (Thursday 26th May)
52 miles via National Cycle Route 66
The iconic CafeVelo in Beverley, East Yorkshire. Well worth riding 300+ miles to visit!
When we tear ourselves away from CafeVelo, we’ve another rolling chalk landscape to cross. We’ll need our low gears. The Yorkshire Wolds are a little more challenging than their Lincolnshire counterparts. From Beverley, we’ll cycle through Cherry Burton (it’s as lovely as it sounds) and down into Market Weighton (decent brakes needed here) for gentler slopes through Pocklington and on to the Vale of York at Stamford Bridge, the site of King Harold’s less famous but successful skirmish in 1066. Then it’s a fast ride into York for celebratory tea and cakes or something like that anyway!
* 350 miles allows for diversions to nice cafes, finding our overnight accommodation and getting lost!