Where are the best places for cycling in the UK?

When Pendulum set off on tour, their guitarist Peredur ap Gwynedd always takes his bike with him in the hope of finding an exciting new route. Here, he picks his five favourite cycling spots in the UK

Peredur ap Gwynedd is a man of many talents: he is the guitarist in rock band Pendulum, a Welsh language commentator for the Tour de France and huge cycling enthusiast. He always takes his bike with him in the hope of finding an exciting new route. Here are his five favourite cycling spots in the UK...

Carmarthenshire, in Wales. Photograph: Adam Burton / Alamy/Alamy

1. Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire

Beautiful forests, barren landscapes, the starkness of the Preseli mountains ... but whoever came up with Sustrans bike route 47 is an absolute sadist: so many (extremely) steep hills. There’s hardly any traffic either, apart from the odd milk tanker and wannabe rally drivers.

2. Hertfordshire

This is my day-to-day training area. It’s sadly devoid of any long hilly drags but it can get quite lumpy in some places. We’ve got an area around Essendon called Little Switzerland. That loop is a very poor fourth cousin to the Alps, but it’s all we’ve got, so we embrace it with fondness.

3. Yorkshire

Stage two of this year’s Tour de France was very deceptive: many of the riders’ hopes were dashed on this very difficult terrain. The hills are reminiscent of the Ardennes in Belgium – nasty things!

4. Dartmoor

I’ve only cycled here once, in the hours between the tour bus parking and sound-check. What do I remember about that day? Struggling into a headwind climbing up Rundlestone, and our album Immersion getting to number one. Hooray!

5. Anywhere in Scotland

Jaw-droppingly beautiful vistas. Long mid-summer days. And home to the toughest climb in the UK, Bealach na Bà.

Other recommended UK cycling routes include...

Mountain bikers enjoy the Blue and Red mixed route at 7Stanes Glentress.
Mountain bikers enjoy the Blue and Red mixed route at 7Stanes Glentress. Photograph: Celtic Bicycle Wheels / Alamy/Alamy

7stanes biking centres, Scotland

Scotland is one of the top-rated destinations for mountain biking and the 7stanes biking centres, including those at Glentress and Innerleithen, offer some of Britain’s most challenging trails.

The Camel Trail, Cornwall

The Camel Trail, an 18-mile, multi-use trail along a deserted railway line from Padstow to Wentfordbridge, offers a level, traffic-free route across stunning Cornish countryside.

Cwmcarn Mountain Bike Centre, Wales

The Cwmcarn Mountain Bike Centre offers some of the best trails in South Wales, half an hour from the Severn Bridge, and includes a purpose-built freeride park.

North Antrim coast, Northern Ireland

The North Antrim coast offers some stunning routes. The 120-mile Causeway Coastal Route stretches all the way from Belfast to Londonderry, with rugged coastline to one side and breathtaking mountains to the other.

Herne Hill Velodrome, London

Herne Hill Velodrome is part of the history of British cycling: the great Fausto Coppi rode here and it has staged competitions at both the London 1948 and 2012 Olympic Games.

If you’ve got a great cycling spot of your own, share it with us in the comments section below!

Guardian Live: the science of cycling event is on 22 October, 7pm at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. Chaired by the Guardian’s cycling correspondent William Fotheringham, the discussions will feature tips and advice from Olympic medallist Emma Pooley and top coaches from British Cycling. Book now.


Peredur ap Gwynedd and Mark Hooper

The GuardianTramp

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