Ten great road routes to try this year

Tommy Morrisroe

Looking for some inspiration? British Cycling’s Tommy Morrisroe suggests ten great road routes to get you going.

Those fresh spring mornings. That tingling feeling when you first feel the breeze in your face. The call of the open road... 

...but which road? Where are those cracking routes that challenge, inspire and satisfy? We all have our favourites, but here are my nominations (complete with some rider reviews from our site too). So whether you’re riding solo or joining one of our Ride Social groups this year, just click the links to see each route in more detail and download a GPX file or route card. And don’t forget to #ShareYourRide with us!

1. Stockport: Follow the old brick road

Starting in the Peak District, Follow the old brick road is a great route if you’re looking for some testing New Year climbs. Beginning in Hazel Grove and heading south through picturesque countryside, the long Brickworks climb isn’t for the faint-hearted – but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with some gorgeous views across the Peaks.

“Challenging, with good climbs and lovely views!”
Richard Loh

2. Southampton: South Downs experience

Heading south to the hamlets of Hampshire, this is a lovely rural route beginning in the heart of Southampton. Heading up the banks of the River Itchen, the route continues into the countryside towards Bishopstoke and then to Upham before looping back through Bishop’s Waltham, Wintershill and Horton Heath. What’s more, there are two great points to stop for a breather: at the Itchen Valley Country Park visitors’ centre, and the Brushmaker’s Arms in Upham.

3. Nottingham: The Dumbles

The Dumbles route in Nottingham is perfect for novice climbers and those looking to increase their distance. The route begins with a steady descent through Mapperley before a long flat section through Lowdham, Caythorpe and along the River Trent to Hoveringham. Stop for a quick cuppa at Manor Farm Tea Shoppe in Bleasby before heading back towards Nottingham via Gonalston, Epperstone and the route’s first and only climb up Bank Hill.

“All on road, and flat in the middle for a significant distance. The hill at the end makes it a good choice as a first long ride.”
Richard McCurry

4. Glasgow: Visit to Campsie Glen

Crossing over the border to Glasgow, the Visit to Campsie Glen route heads north out of the city through Maryhill, Bearsden and Milngavie. A climb over the moor to Stathblane is rewarded with a flat section through the rolling farmland at the foot of the Campsie Fells, before returning to the city southwards through Torrance. End the 27 mile route with a well-earned rest at the Botanic Gardens’ Tearoom.

5. Northampton: Sixfields to Silverstone

While more commonly known for roads of a different variety, Sixfields to Silverstone is perfect for cyclists looking for a challenge. Departing along the River Nene cycleway the route takes you out along the country lanes of Northamptonshire, passing two marinas and the pretty villages of Blisworth, Shutlanger, Paulerspury and Whittlebury en route to Silverstone.

“It’s a good old ride and surprisingly hilly out to Silverstone.”
Steve Scoles

6. Ambleside: Enjoy the Western Shores From Ambleside

Avoiding the tourist hotspots on the opposite shore of Lake Windermere, this route provides a great opportunity to explore the beautiful Lake District National Park by bike, taking in local landmarks including Wray Castle and the quaint village of Hawkshead. While the route is slightly shorter than most others featured here, there are a number of modest climbs offering great views across the lake and Esthwaite Water.

7. London: The Kent Explorer

If you’re looking to escape the city for a couple of hours, take a look at The Kent Explorer. Starting in the London Borough of Bexley, the route follows the River Cray south towards St Mary Cray, before veering east through Chelsfield into the Kent countryside. Expect lavender fields, castle ruins and a handful of short climbs on your journey north back to Bexley.

“Some good roads, a bit of climbing – definitely recommended!”
Aurelien Decagny

8. Pontefract: Tour de Yorkshire route

Okay, so there might not be a blue and yellow jersey on offer, but this Tour de Yorkshire route in Pontefract is a great opportunity to test yourself on the same roads as the pros. Starting at Pontefract Castle, you’ll head south along ambling country roads towards the villages of South Elmsall, South Kirby and Hemsworth. The journey back north takes you along the West Yorkshire Cycling Route, with plenty of great views to savour before arriving back at the castle.

9. Watford: North west Watford countryside delights

Expect even more quiet country lanes on this circular 27 mile route in Watford. Starting and ending at Watford Cycle Hub, the route takes in the quaint villages of Croxley Green, Sarratt, Ley Hill, Bovingdon and Chipperfield en route. There’s also an opportunity to stop for a quick cuppa at Chipperfield Village Hall ahead of the steady descent back down to Watford.

“Really lovely ride through wonderful countryside.”
Helen Williamson

10. Birmingham: Cannon Hill extreme

Another great city escape, expect plenty of lovely scenery along the leafy lanes of Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Extreme route. Don’t be too put off by the title – the climbs aren’t as severe as it suggests and there are plenty of flatter sections in between them. For the more experienced riders, there are some great hairpin bends to hone your technique on, and the 31 mile distance makes it an ideal route if you’re training for a longer ride.