2018 saw us exploring new territory. We travelled over to the Netherlands (Holland) for this years big ride. Another circular route, this time around a man made lake - The IJsselmeer.
We extended the route a touch to start and end at the ferry port in Ijmuiden. From the ferry port we headed into Amsterdam where we joined the official tour.
The route took us clockwise around the lake from Amsterdam, with overnight stops in Hoorn, Makkum, Blokzijl and Nijkirk. The route was largely flat (being in Holland which is famous for a distinct lack of hills), but the distance was further, taking us over 300 miles in total for the first time. Despite a lack of height, Holland still had some lovely scenery for us to enjoy, and the 20 mile cycle over one of the longest (fly infested) man made dams in the world was certainly an interesting highlight to the trip.
With perfect blue sky days thoughout the whole trip, some lovely food and great hospitality, it was truly another fantastic BGB Tour. Blog coming soon.
In 2016 we enjoyed our trip over the English Channel to France. So in 2017 we decided to do it again but go further south this time into Spain.
We chose another circular route by the name of Pirinexus. The Pirinexus cycle route spans the Spanish - French border from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean sea. It was nominated for the Best Cycle Route of the Year in 2014.
At 230 miles, it was shorter than Le Petit Tour De Manche of the previous year, but with significantly more vertical distance involved; 17,500 feet of climbing in fact! The tour begin in the Catalonian city of Girona and circled clockwise through the mountain villages of the Pyrenees and back down to the Mediterranean coast line before scooping around back inland to Girona.
Read all about our adventure in the BGB Blog.
The 2016 Cycling Challenge was our biggest challenge yet attempted for the BoysGoneBiking. Le Petit Tour De Manche is a long distance route that takes in the English "Jurassic Coast" in Dorset before a ferry across the channel takes you to Brittany and Normandy.
Due to ferry timetables and the time we had available, we did it in reverse!
Our adventure started in Brittany at the ferry port for St. Malo after crossing the English Channel overnight.
Day 1 took us along the Brittany coast and then cross country and around the rim of Mont St. Michel bay, past Mont St. Michel and across the border into Normandy. We finished for the night in Ducey. After 60 miles we were ready for a good meal, a beer of two and a full nights sleep.
Day 2 took us across Normandy and northwards into the Normandy peninsula. There were some tough climbs along this part of the route. We passed through Mortain and Vire and on twards our second night stop in Le Beny Bocage, stopping at a lovely B&B with high class food. A further 60 miles were completed on day 2.
Day 3 and we wound our way ever northwards through the scenic Vallee de la Vire on our way to Carentan. The terrain was more greenways and river side tracks today, finishing along a canal path which popped us right into the centre of Carentan - beautiful. Another 60 miles under the belt.
Day 4 and the final stretch of the French part of the tour. We had a deadline to keep to today so we could catch the Ferry at Cherbourg. We had to be there before 5.00pm or we'd not be able to complete the whole tour. We sped along with renewed determination and sailed through the largely greenway tracks towards our destination. We arrived in Cherbourg with 2 hours to spare and 235 miles completed in total. The fast cat back to the UK and a quick relocation in the car put us in Poole, ready for tomorrows final push to the end.
Day 5 was cold, damp and windy. Welcome home! The tracks rougher and the signage none to clear, our pace slowed as we fought against the elements and the route itself to get to our finishing post. Cold and tired, we finally found our way onto to the esplanade in Weymouth and located the Victorian clock tower which was our offical end to the challenge. We did it. 280 miles completed.
"The Way of the Roses is a relatively new coast to coast cycle route from Morecambe on the north west coast of the UK to Bridlington in the east, taking in some of the most stunning and breathtaking scenery along the way. It is a challenging route consisting of a variety of terrain including traffic-free paths, on-road cycle lanes, country lanes and quieter roads.
Way of the Roses cycle route has 170 miles of the finest views that Yorkshire and Lancashire have to offer, taking in the Lune Valley, Yorkshire Dales, glorious Nidderdale and the Yorkshire Wolds."
Our second tour, although a shorter route than the TPT at 170 miles compare to 215 miles, the climbs were a lot steeper and more frequent, so in many ways it was a tougher challenge than the TPT.
We stopped over in Grassington, Boroughbridge and Huggate at some great little B&B's. The Black Horse in Grassington in particular had amazing food for a pub and well worth a visit, even if just for lunch.
The scenery through the Yorkshire Dales and Wolds was nothing short of spectacular, and good fortune alone allowed us to watch the Tour De Yorkshire as it passed through.
With historic sites such as Fountains Abbey and York Minster on the route, you will be treated to some fantastic places to stop and explore. Another brilliant UK Coast-to-Coast and if it's amazing scenery and interesting places to stop for a while that you want, then we can't recommend this route enough.
"The Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) is an exciting route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders linking the North and Irish seas, passing through the Pennines, alongside rivers and canals and through some of the most historic towns and cities in the North of England.
The Trail from coast-to-coast between Southport and Hornsea is 215 miles (346Km) long.
A north-south route connecting Leeds and Chesterfield, a spur to York and a spur to Kirkburton means there are approximately 370 miles (595 km) of Trans Pennine Trail available to explore."
The first tour for the BoysGoneBiking. We cycled the TPT over 4 days in April 2013. We planned three long days covering distances between 60 and 80 miles, and a shorter final day of about 30 miles to allow time for a lift back to Cheshire. The stopovers were made in Stockport, Doncaster and Hull. Apart from a short sharp climb up the Longendale Trail and over the moors, the TPT is relatively flat and off road, using canal tow paths and disused railway lines (thank you Richard Beeching!), as well as quiet country lanes. We were very fortunate with the weather which remained fine for the whole trip from Coast-to-Coast.
If you are looking for a long distance cycle ride then this is a great one to begin with. It is a fantastic tour which we highly recommend to cyclists of all abilities.
For 2019, we are heading back to France. We enjoyed our previous two tours in France immensely - Le Petit Tour De Manche and Pirinexus, which spanned both France and Spain - and in particular the large network of green cycleways, the Velo Vert, which criss-cross the country.
The Tour De Grionde is a 295 mile circular route starting and ending in Bourdeaux, and takes in the heathlands of Gascony to the vineyards and great castles of the Medoc region. It passes through the Arcahon basin and along the Atlantic Coast line, circling around the Gironde estuary back to Bordeaux.
It promises a lot of varied terrain and interesting sites along the way, including some hills, forested natural parks, rugged coastline and two ferries to boot.
Follow our trip on Facebook as we go.
Click on the tour logo to link to the official website for the tour.