Guide to the 2017 Tour of Britain in Cheltenham

Guide to the 2017 Tour of Britain in Cheltenham

The 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain brings some very exciting news for us here at Cyced. Stage 7 will be finishing its grueling 186km ride in the regency town of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.  Cheltenham was not only where Cyced was conceived, but also where I was lucky enough to join. So this is a meaningful event for Angus and myself. But that’s enough reminiscing for now, down to the details of the Tour of Britain in Cheltenham, and what it’ll mean for the Gloucestershire town. (more…)

8 Hard Cycling Hills in Gloucestershire

8 Hard Cycling Hills in Gloucestershire

The Cotswolds and hills go hand in hand, therefore it’s only right that Cyced dedicates an article to some of the toughest inclines in the area. Many of the hills on this list are around the Cheltenham area and are children of Cleeve Hill, the largest in the county. The statistics are taken from the specific Strava segments Cyced created for each climb, so the measurements and categorisations of the hills should be familiar. (more…)

Newport Cycling Routes: Ten of the Greatest Rides

Newport Cycling Routes: Ten of the Greatest Rides

Evan at Cyced has put together numerous Newport cycling routes so you can get out and about in South Wales. Discover the greatest views Newport has to offer and enjoy the glorious roads.<!–more–>

cycling route difficulty

Disclaimer: These cycling routes have been designed for riders who are comfortable cycling on the road and have experienced sharing the road with other vehicles competently. Do not attempt these as a complete beginner without the assistance of an experienced cyclist. 

 

easy cyced cycling routeEasy Newport Cycling Routes

Goldcliff to Bishton

To ride this easy Newport cycling route, make your way to the Nash entrance to Goldcliff and follow the road you’re on until you reach the sea wall. I would recommend that you ride all the way to the sea wall for two reasons. The first being that the road is a highly coveted Strava segment. The second reason is because there is a shop/café just off of the car park, allowing you to refuel if you’re using this route as sprint training.

Even though this is a relatively short route at 12 miles, once you’re out of the city and are riding on the open country roads of Goldcliff, you’re surrounded by natural beauty as far as the eye can see. This route is almost flat, with just 237ft gained I elevation, so it’s great for someone who is looking for a quiet ride, or for those looking to put in a 10 mile Time-Trial training session.  

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Newport to Usk

This is one of my favourite routes, as it shows off everything great about cycling in South Wales. It’s also the most difficult ‘Easy Route’ we have for Newport County, in both distance (23.1m) and elevation gain (1635ft).

To get started with this route, scale Royal Oak Hill or follow Route 88 to get to Caerleon. Then follow Bulmore Road, on the east side of the River Usk, all the way to our destination. You will pass through several small Welsh Villages, such as Llantrisant and Llanllowel, and are accompanied by the River for the entire journey so you can use this as a reference if you think you’re lost.

There isn’t a whole lot to do in Usk once you get there, but there are a few places to refuel, and it’s very quaint. You are able to carry on until you reach Abergavenny, but that’s another ride altogether so I’d say it’s time to turn back towards Newport. To get home, follow the same way you came in, but it’s worth warning you that all those hills you came down to get there, you’ll now have to climb them to get back.

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Caerleon Route 88

This could be considered the easiest route in our Newport cycling route collection, coming in at just over 4 miles. If you’re new to cycling and are looking for an introductory ride, this is perfect. I’d advise you to begin where the planned route below ends and turn around once you arrive in Caerleon then double back on yourself.   

Carleon Route 88

If you’ve been cycling for a while, or you’re a little braver then you were, then this is a great light spin to get some fresh air and some nice photos. Begin wherever you like (the starting point in our route is always just a reference) and head towards Royal Oak Hill, just off of Cheptsow Road. Climb the hill, which is the only real challenge in this ride, and follow the road until you come to the top of Belmont Hill. The hill makes the elevation gained on the ride around 280ft. Go down the hill and turn right over the bridge to get into Caerleon, and then follow signs for the Roman Amphitheatre where you’ll find access to the cycle path (Route 88).  

This is the most enjoyable part of the ride so get ready to enjoy some beautifully constructed wooden bridges over the River Usk. From here you can easily follow the national cycling route until you reach the superstore in Crindau. The entire ride should only take you around 25 minutes, great for a quick distraction from the woes of the real world.

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Duffryn to Bassaleg

This is a short route at 11.7miles, but inclues 600ft of elevation that’s ideal for those of you looking to up their hill-game. Using Tredegar House carpark as a starting place, head towards Lighthouse Road in Duffryn. If you don’t know where this is, it’s the road adjacent to John Frost High School (formally Duffryn High School). Once you’re out of the built-up area, you’ll find you’ve discovered a haven for cyclists. Lighthouse road promises some truly epic riding, with some top-notch views, meandering country roads, and very little traffic.

Take a right just after Peterstone Golf Course, or you’ll be heading towards Cardiff, and ride through Marshfield until you reach the A48. If the A-roads scare you, don’t worry too much as it’s rarely busy on this short section during off-peak times.

Take your next left up Pound Hill, and then turn right onto Penylan Road. These are the big ones, but are fantastic practice hills to get used to climbing. Once you’ve recovered, pass through Bassaleg and back towards Tredegar House (or home if you’d rather).

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Medium difficulty cycling routeMedium Newport Cycling Routes

Newport to Tintern Abbey

This is a great destination ride; boasting over 48 miles, around 2300ft in elevation gain, and a chance to see one of Wales’ most beloved historical buildings. You’ll also have a fantastic view of the River Severn for most of your ride, all of which should take around 4 and ½ hours, so getting a good photo or two shouldn’t be too difficult.

Begin by cycling through Goldcliff, Redwick, and Magor to the South-East of Newport. You’ll then continue into past Chepstow and up into St Arvans, before turning right onto the A466 and around to Tintern. Here you’ll find the famous Tintern Abbey and the Anchor pub/ restaurant/ hotel. Follow the Anghidi River to the west, before looping back into St Arvans. Once you reach the roundabout outside of Chepstow, you can choose to follow the same route home, or follow the quicker (but busier) A48 all the way back into Newport.

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Newport to Barry Island

Although we have listed this route as ‘Intermediate’, there are some difficulties you may find with this ride if you’ve only just shifted from easy routes to intermediate ones. The big thing to keep in mind is that you’ll be passing through the busy capital city of Cardiff; there are also several sections on A-roads.

Newport cycling route to Barry Island Cycling map

Now we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time to discuss everything right with this Newport cycling route. There are four big points of interest on this ride, the first of which is the jewel of Wales; Cardiff. Although the centre isn’t too cycle friendly, there’s still plenty to see. The second point is Cardiff Bay, one of my favourite Welsh destinations as it is exceedingly cycle friendly and is host to the Cardiff Triathlon in June time, there’s also plenty to eat whilst you’re here. Next are the Cosmeston Lakes which can be found about halfway between Penarth and Barry, this is a great picture-point. Finally is the focus of this ride; Barry Island. Barry is famous for its fish and chips, partly due to the TV sensation ‘Gavin and Stacey’, so the reward for completing this route is of a higher standard than usual.

It’s actually rather simple to get to Barry Island from Newport, by following lighthouse road all the way to Cardiff, and then stay on the coastal roads you’ll easily find the bay. This is the most rewarding part of the ride and you’re able to ride along the bay itself, and on top of that there’s a reasonably difficult hill hidden as you pass into Penarth.  From there it’s well sign-posted ride from Sully, along the coast, into Barry. 

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Around Newport

This route was created to illustrate the blooming-beauty of Newport, the City on the Rise, whilst also getting some decent miles into your legs. The ride comes to 36.9 miles, with an elevation gain of 1874ft, so the entire thing should take around 3 and 1/2 hours on average. This medium difficulty Newport cycling route incorporates some of the areas explored by our Easy Routes. This allows for riders to tackle a fair few miles, whilst staying within a comfortable distance to the main city.

Begin by riding into Duffryn, and looping through Marshfield towards Bassaleg. Then climb your way through the Welsh country lanes, where you’ll have an excellent view of Twmbarlwm. There’s not much built-up around this area, so make sure to bring some spare inner-tubes and food for any unexpected problems along the way. Head into Caerleon and climb the gigantic Belmont Hill, if you’ve got surplus energy from the ride then I’d suggest you put everything you have left into it, and descend back onto Cheptsow Road in Newport.

Then go through, or around, Ringland and onto the SDR for a short moment before turning onto Cot Hill. Here you’ll have another chance to enjoy the country roads as you roll through Llanwern, Bishton, and Goldcliff. From there you can decide on whether to finish your ride and head home, or to add a few miles onto the outing. We all know how hard it is to go home once you’re out.

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hard difficulty cycling routeHard Newport Cycling Routes

Into the Welsh Countryside

First things first, you should know this is a monster of a ride… an absolute monster. I’m not saying this is the hardest ride you’ll ever do, there are plenty of races and gran fondos that are more difficult than this. But it is hard.  You’ll be riding for around 6 hours (without a break), that’s 6 hours of climbing tough hills and trawling long stretches of country roads.

into the welsh countryside newport cycling route

Sounds like I’m not selling this route right? Well I’ll tell you why those aspects of the ride are exactly why you should go out and do it. For a seasoned rider this route is perfect, it has everything you need for a great training session whilst also boasting everything else you love about cycling.

For me there has to be a lot of positives to a ride for me to go out and tackle 65 miles and over 4000ft in elevation gain, especially on my own. But this route offers some of the most spectacular scenery you can ask for, with the midway point being the epic Twmbarlwm, a section that follows the meandering River Usk. It’s endless Welsh countryside at your wheel for most of the ride, I really can’t recommend this route more.   

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Newport to Bristol

This isn’t the prettiest of rides, concerning the roads you’ll be taking on, but it’s one with a great destination. It’s an especially good choice if you’ve never ventured over the Severn Bridge, as it’s a real treat.

The route is pretty basic on the Wales side of the ride; you’ll just be following the route to Chepstow, after which you’ll be taking the exit for the Severn Bridge and then down through Aust into Bristol. You can venture as far into Bristol as you please, but there are so many amenities in the City designed for the bike that it’s pretty simple to get around and find somewhere to lock the bike up.

There are plenty of hills along the way; two notable ones are Pwllmeyric Climb and Hollybush Lane, so keep an eye out for those. Other than that, this is your standard 65 miles ride, and although the 3800ft elevation gain may seem daunting there’s really not too much to worry about. I would go as far to recommend this route to beginner riders, as it was one of the first I ever did.

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Newport to the Tumble

I’m going to say it folks, this is my favourite cycling route. I’ve been on some pretty amazing rides across Britain, from the rolling hills of the Cotswolds to the picturesque coastline of Plymouth. I’ve got three Gran Fondos under my belt, and a few KOMs, but I don’t feel the same way about those as I did when climbing to the top of the Tumble.

The route to get there is a real treat too; you get to follow the River Usk all the way to the small eponymously named town, Usk. There are some small inclines on the way, but each of them pale in comparison to the Tumble. You’ll also have ride along a busy main road to reach the bottom of the hill, but once you reach the reservoir at the peak, you’ll have forgotten anything negative you may have felt about the ride.

downhill newport cycling route Tumble
With around 57 miles to ride on top of the 3888ft of elevation, most of which is concentrated at the Tumble, this route is no easy feat. The hill itself is over 3 miles of harsh rising inclines, but I implore you to do so if you haven’t done already, because the view is worth every second your legs will scream for.

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You’ve got your Newport cycling routes, but do you need to find a cycling club too? Check our ultimate guide to Newport cycling clubs.

 

The Guide to Cheltenham & Gloucestershire Cycling Clubs

The Guide to Cheltenham & Gloucestershire Cycling Clubs

One of the best things about cycling is riding with others, and joining a club is a great way to do that. Gloucestershire is lucky enough to be a county with a large number of cycling clubs, and great quality ones too.  So we’ve decided to dedicate an article to promote these. Without further ado, here are Cheltenham and Gloucestershire cycling clubs.

Cheltenham Cycling Clubs

Cheltenham and County Cycling Club (CCCC)

With over 300 members, CCCC is one of the oldest and most trusted Cheltenham cycling clubs in the county.  There is plenty of room for riders of all levels, and there are separate groups for Road, Cyclocross, Mountain, and Ladies. The club is affiliated with a whole bunch of cycling organisations and its prices are more than reasonable, especially for the quality of rides and kit.

They run a number of events which you can access on their website calendar, from group rides to time-trials. If you love to ride, you’ll love this club.

If you’re interested in joining get in touch with the club on their website.

Cheltenham Cycle Touring Club (CCTC)

CCTC presents themselves a little differently to other clubs in the area, as its main focus is on communal cycling and exploring all that Gloucestershire has to offer. The club would be perfect for cyclists who are just looking for some epic scenery and a top-notch social experience. They are active across the week, with several rides going out to accommodate your work and family lives.

To join the club, they only ask you be fit enough to ride, to bring supplies and repair kit, and to be well prepared for any conditions. All that’s left then is to enjoy the ride.

You can find their website at Cheltenham CTC.

The Woodmancote Wheelers

This club is a little smaller than the others, but its drive and passion for cycling is just as large. Operating out of the Woodmancote area of Cheltenham, the club has hosted a number of events and charity fundraises to keep its members busy throughout the year. It’s very open to new members and advertises an average social pace of around 16mph per ride.

The club is very clear about its ride etiquette, with the usual formation being 2 abreast in groups of no larger than 16. However, if the roads are narrower or traffic conditions worsen, then the group must reform into single file.

Visit their website at Woodmancote Wheelers.

Winchcombe Cycling Club

With room for both road riders and mountain bikers, this clubs supports a number of activities from MTB enduro events, time-trials, touring, to sportives. Membership costs to the club are extremely low (go to their website and see for yourself), and guest riders are welcome on all rides. They are based in Winchcombe, and ride throughout the area. They even have a nifty for sale/ wanted page on their website.

Winchcombe Cycling Club, for more.

University of Gloucestershire Blue Arrows

Being former members of this Cheltenham cycling club, we here at Cyced can truly attest to what the Blue Arrows has brought not just to us, but also to cycling in Gloucestershire. Members of the club have a fantastic relationship with local stores (such as Cheltenham Cycles and Leisure Lakes), and for the past two years have acted as sweepers for the Cheltenham Half-Marathon. Like the other clubs, they are open to all levels of cyclist, but are inclusive to students registered with the University of Gloucestershire (from campuses in Cheltenham and Gloucester), which is bad news for those who aren’t students, but fantastic news for those who are.   

To contact the club visit their twitter at UoG_Cycling

Gloucester Cycling Clubs

Gloucester City Cycling Club

This is a club with big scope. They provide social and cycling events for members of all levels and abilities, and offers the opportunity to ride both at home and abroad. If you’re a road rider looking for a club and want the flexibility to join a different variety of rides and opportunities, the Gloucester City Cycling Club might just be the one for you.

We couldn’t possibly tell you everything this club has to offer here, so get over and visit GlosCityCC for much more. 

Leadon Vale Cycling Club

The legacy of the London 2012 Olympics meant something special to many British athletes (of all levels), and was the spark for the formation of this particular club. They cover both road and MTB disciplines, and you can partake in up to 3 rides with the club before having to become a member, giving you plenty of time to figure out if it’s right for you. Based just outside of Gloucester, the club meets several times a week with three difficulty levels available: scenic, intermediate and sporting.

Find out more about Leadon Vale Cycling Club.

Stroud Cycling Clubs

stroud valley velos

Stroud Valley Velos

Based in the Stroud area, this thriving community of local cyclists host various road rides for different skilled riders. With a good ethos of never leaving a person behind, this may be the perfect club to join if you’re in the area and looking to join a Gloucestershire cycling club. Their Facebook group is very active and they use Strava to clock all their club hours.

See if the Stroud Valley Velos are for you.

 

Cirencester Cycling Clubs

Performance Cycles Club

A worthwhile investment is joining this club based in the Cirencester area. Primarily a racing club, you get a wealth of great discounts and exclusive offers with your annual membership. However, if you are in the area and it is a local club, they offer three group rides on a Saturday to cater for varying abilities.

Find out about memberships at Performance Cycles Club‘s website.

If you’re interested in more things about Cheltenham cycling, check our blog about Bike Shops in Cheltenham.

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