Bad weather biking
It doesn’t matter how bad the conditions are, getting out on the trails always trumps the sofa or indoor trainer – here are five routes that save you from the worst weather.
1. Hawkshead Grizedale Mashup, Lake District
Ride time? 2-3 hours
Why ride it? Reasonably weatherproof, sheltered and good fun
Where to eat? Deflect to the Grizedale Visitor Centre or there’s stacks of choice in Hawkshead
GPS download: po.st/Hawkshead
The South Lakes has stacks of good bad weather riding and offers plenty of opportunity to mix and match to suit. This mashup of natural trails with a few sections of the Grizedale Red, is one of our favourites. From Hawkshead (Landranger 97/SD353980), take lanes NW to Knipe Fold, track NW to NY336005, then BW N over Arnside to the A593. Head W towards Langdale, then BW W to Stang End. A great track leads S to Hodge Close and another continues SW over Holme Ground. Continue onto the main road again and head S to Low Yewdale. Take a track SE then road S to ride around the tip of Coniston Water then a lane N to SD325982. Take the fire road up into the forest and link forest roads to SD340979, where you follow the North Face Trail to a fire road. Turn L then straight-away right to descend to Hawkshead
2. Mynydd Cribau, Snowdonia
Ride time? 2-3 hours
Why ride it? Sheltered, decent surfaces and great views of the mountains.
Where to eat? Caffi Moel Siabod – customers get to park free
GPS download: po.st/MynyddCribau
Snowdonia’s a pretty unforgiving place in winter, but there are still a few short, sharp loops worth riding, even in the worse weather. This is our favourite. From Moel Siabod café (Landranger 115/SH727557), head E on the A5 for 1km then turn R onto a parallel lane and follow this to a forest track on the R after 2km. Sharp R at the barrier and sharp to continue SW then sharp L to continue NE. Follow this S to Sarn Helen and follow this S to the A470. Turn L then R and R again to follow tracks S to Dolwyddelan (tea in the Spar). R onto the A470 then take the mapped track N through the forest and across the moors. Awesome descent to finish it off.
3. Goyt Valley, Peak District
Ride time? 2-3 hours
Why ride it? Good surfaces and a few fun trails
Where to eat? Great cafe at Roman Lakes
GPS download: po.st/GoytValley
Low level and well-surfaced, yet still a lot of fun. One of our favourite Peak loops for a foul day. PArk at Roman Lakes (Landranger 110/SJ969878), and head SE down the Goyt Valley. Continue SE on the B6101 and then loop S around the Paper Mill on fun trails. Continue N back across the B6101, then at Brook Bottom, head E then NE to Blake Hall. Continue E past Aspenshaw Hall to a junction and head N then E to Rowarth, where you head N to Plainsteads. Point W over Cown Edge and when you reach Ludworth, pick up lanes and trails that wind loosely S to Mellor. Now head S then W through Tarden to finish.
4. Inshriach Forest, Cairngorms
Ride time? 4 hours
Why ride it? Great singletrack and well-sheltered.
Where to eat? The Winking Owl, Aviemore
GPS download: po.st/InshriachForest
Our favourite Cairngorm winter bolthole and some great singletrack too… wet feet are guaranteed on some of the stream crossings though. Start at Auchlean (Landranger 35/NN851984), head S for 2km and cross the bridge to continue S for another 2.5km. Turn sharp R and climb NW, then keep NW when the track breaks L. Follow singletrack to Corarnstilmore, fork L to Baileguish and cross the bridge. Then head NE past Corarnstilbeg and to a junction and turn L to climb NW then SW, before swinging E to Creag Dhubh. Descend SE then follow unmarked singletrack SW to a fork. Keep R and drop to Inveruglas. Take the road/track N to Balnacraig then tracks SE to loop around the southern end of Uath Lochan. Head E to the road and take this S to the bridge you crossed earlier.
5. Pricetown, Dartmoor
Ride time? 3-4 hours
Why ride it? Real out there feel but good facilities at half way
Where to eat? Plume of Feathers, Princetown.
GPS download: po.st/PrincetownDartmoor
A classic easy route and a fine winter outing with great surfaces, and some great pubs and cafes at half way, but it is high and exposed so probably not the best if it’s really foul. From the Burrator reservoir (Landranger 201/SX550680), take the cycle path N all the way to the B3212. Cross and continue on the old railway track to Princetown, where you can warm up. To return, take the track beside the Plume of Feathers and follow this S to Nun’s Cross then W past Eylesbarrow mine ruins.