The UK is home to some colourful place names and some equally vibrant riding. Here are five of our favourite rides that combine the two. After all, it’d be rude not to...
1. Lord Hereford’s Knob, Black Mountains
24km (14.9 miles)
“Twmpa, Twmpa, you’re gonna need a jumper, It gets a bit chilly on top of Lord Hereford’s Knob”. Achieving notoriety amongst a certain audience thanks to a Half Man Half Biscuit song, Lord Hereford’s Knob, or Twmpa in Welsh, is a prominent escarpment on the north of the Black Mountains. This route starts outside Talgarth with a bit of a heave up onto the plateau, but from there it’s steady-going, with a tasty descent into Boxbush before the final plummet off the side of The Knob.
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2. Great Cockup, Cumbria
53.6km (33.3 miles)
Cockups are best avoided on rides, but this ride guarantees at least three of them. Cockup, Great Cockup and Little Cockup lie to the north of Skiddaw in the Uldale Fells. The name isn’t as ominous as it sounds. Cockup comes from the Old English words cocc and hop – cocc meaning grouse and hop meaning secluded valley. Starting in Keswick, this ride gives you a grand tour of Cumbria’s northern fells, through the middle of Skiddaw (pronounced ‘Skidda’), out past Cocklakes, alongside Willy Knott and then back through the Cockups, as long as there aren’t any navigational, er, cockups.
3. Sandy Balls, New Forest
18.4km (11.5 miles)
Dorset is probably the county with the rudest place names and the New Forest offers a perfect pedal through the profane. Starting at Sandy Balls, you’ll pass the even more worryingly named Burnt Balls, Cockley Bushes and Deadman’s Bottom. This is a pretty laid back ride with one or two sections that will have you cursing under your breath and others that will have you swearing to come back again. At just over 18km it’s not too long, but might be worth an extra dab of chamois cream to avoid any unwanted chafing.
4. Shitterton, Dorset
25.2km (15.6 miles)
Head up Butt Lane, turn around and take in the views over the quaint hamlet of Shitterton. The name is thought to originate from the fact that it was built on a stream that acted as an open sewer, and while the sewer is no longer visible, the name has remained. Thankfully the riding is far better than the name implies. Mixing open fields, heathland and woods, this route packs in a variety of terrain over its 25km length and is definitely not, well, you know…
5. Slack Bottom, West Yorkshire
20.7km (12.8 miles)
Encountering a slack bottom on a ride can be the result of a Camelbak-warmed pork pie (don’t ask how we know), but in this case it’s the name of a row of weavers’ cottages sat above Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. This route certainly has some fast and loose sections with a chance of mild puckering, combining some of the Calder Valley’s best-loved descents, with proper Yorkshire moorland singletrack. As such it’s best ridden when dry to prevent a soggy gusset and avoid creating a dirty rut.