Preparation

Make sure that you are physically prepared for these routes by doing some training rides prior to your trip. You don’t have to be Superman to complete it but you do need to know that you can manage more than 10 miles on a bike before collapsing in a heap.

These routes are suitable for cyclists of all abilities but should be cut into manageable chunks depending on your ability, fitness and inclination. Most people tackle the C2C over 3 days but many take 4, 5 or 6 days and find that this gives them more time to enjoy the route and surroundings. Lots of cyclists do the routes in under 24 hours, but this is not advisable unless you really know what you are doing. Anyway, I think it should be about enjoyment and sightseeing, so the longer the better…

Those of you who are planning to camp along the routes should bear in mind that the extra weight of the camping gear will slow you down considerably and this should be taken into account when planning your ride times.

The routes can be ridden on most types of bike as long as they are mechanically sound, but, obviously if you are planning to do the off-road sections then a mountain bike would be preferable. People do ride on many weird and wonderful contraptions. But the old adage about horses for courses still rings true.

Advance booking for your accommodation is desirable, often essential.

Some sections will involve riding through exposed, isolated, upland areas, so be prepared. Check the weather forecast, take adequate foul weather clothing (i.e. waterproof NOT showerproof and preferably breathable) and emergency rations.

Unless you use a bag carrying company you will need to carry all your personal belongings, clothing and tools either in some panniers or in a rucksack. Panniers are preferable. If you have friends or family in a support vehicle please ask them to stick to the main roads where possible in order to keep the traffic on the routes to a minimum.

Some sections will require short rides on busy roads so be careful.

Parents of young children should remember that the routes are demanding both physically and technically and may be too much for many kids to handle.

Be certain of your level of fitness, or at least be prepared to cut the routes into smaller stages as certain sections can be very demanding. Use this guide, browse the map, plan ahead and try to set yourself a realistic daily mileage target.

Do not underestimate the amount of liquid you will need to carry. The norm should be two bottles in the morning and two in the afternoon, but a lot more if it’s hot.

If you plan to ride road sections late in the day then take some lights with you because even in summer the mist can come down very quickly in the hills or unforeseen punctures etc can slow you down. It is still a good idea to carry lights with you regardless.

You should also take a good bike lock and use it when going into shops or just visiting a site of interest.

But most importantly of all: remember to have a good time!

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