Cycling in the Cotswolds
21 half and full-day cycle routes, and a 4-day 200km Tour of the Cotswolds
By Chiz Dakin
Guidebook of 21 half and full-day cycle routes, and one 4-day 200km tour of the Cotswolds. All the routes described are suitable for hybrid or mountain bikes, and most routes have an on-road alternative. The Cotswolds boasts cycle-friendly lanes, rolling countryside, canal paths and bridleways perfect for exploration by bike.
Seasonsroutes are best ridden in dry conditions (usually mid-spring to mid-autumn); winter/prolonged wet conditions can get make them very boggy/flooded
CentresStratford-upon-Avon, Shipston-on-Stour, Burford-on-the-Water, Winchcombe, Cirencester, Fairford, Stow-on-the-Wold, Shipton-under-Wychwood, Cheltenham, Stroud, Malmesbury, Bradford-onAvon/Bath
Difficultyroutes are graded moderate to challenging, although very short off-road sections may be challenging at all grades for those new to off-road riding; mountain bikes are recommended, but alternatives are given for road bikes wherever possible; basic level of fitness required for all routes, more for longer/multiday routes
Must Seeold-world charm, local honey-coloured limestone, thatched roofs and half-timbered buildings in impossibly pretty villages; wide variety of history from neolithic through Roman times to Middle Ages, long barrows, wool towns and ancient markets; Two Tunnels cycle route and a 4-day tour of whole area
Packed with routes right across the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this guidebook is all you need to explore the lanes and tracks of this much-loved area on two wheels - off-road on your mountain bike or on-road on your road bike or a bit of both on hybrid/sturdy bike (most routes have an on-road alternative).
21 day routes ranging from 9 to 41 miles are included, illustrated with clear custom-drawn maps and profiles, as well as a 4-day 200km tour which takes in all the Cotswolds' best highlights. Routes are arranged by difficulty, ranging from easy, moderate to challenging, and full information is provided for the novice cyclist on first aid, bike maintenance, gear to take or hire and much more.
There are also comprehensive lists of local gear and cycle shops passed along the routes, and information about where to stop for vital refreshment, too. With a good network of quiet lanes and canal paths and dramatic views from the top of the famous limestone escarpment, the Edge, the pretty Cotswold villages are the perfect base for a cycling holiday.
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Chiz Dakin’s cycle touring adventures almost happened by accident, when after a local photography trip by bike she realised that she’d done 50 miles in a single day with a reasonably heavy load. This led to the disconnected logic that if she could do that once, she was now ready to tackle multi-day cycle touring, and two weeks later set out on the Land’s End to John o’ Groats route.
Since then she’s done several other multi-day trips including a pioneering Welsh coast cycle route (600 miles and 16km of ascent) but still maintains that you don’t need to be seriously fit or fast to enjoy long multi-day routes. (She certainly makes no claim to being either!) She has also recently won an award for her photography.
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