The Lake District Loop Wins Britain’s Best Ride

Image: Wrynose Pass courtesy of Visit Cumbria

So is a 40-mile loop of the Lake District really Britain's Best Ride of 2013?

There are probably many reading this who will have a particular ride in their own back garden that they would argue deserves this accolade. The Peak District, the Welsh Mountains, Dartmoor, the Yorkshire Dales and the high (and low) roads of Scotland are just a few of the geographical areas in the UK that might feel aggrieved that the Lakes have waltzed off with this title!

A recent competition conducted by Halfords, Boardman Bikes and Cycling Plus Magazine asked cyclists to nominate the road rides they felt should take the crown as the Best Ride in Britain. Shortlists were then voted on by the public before five finalists were selected and then ridden by the editorial team of Cycling Plus.

The winning Lake District Loop was nominated by Broughton Wheelers club rider James Hodgson. The 40-mile route was described by Rob Spedding, editor of Cycling Plus, as a “tough and very lumpy cookie that takes in the beautiful Coniston Water and the immensely challenging Wrynose Pass

James was also keen to point out that, as well as the spectacularly beautiful scenery of the Lakes, his route was confined to quiet roads, incorporating some fantastic descents and some legendary climbs, but almost as importantly, plenty of B&B's, bakeries . . . and pubs! In short, the full package!

The other shortlisted rides included the Yorkshire Dales, Barnstable in North Devon, the Elan Valley on Wales and Applecross in North Scotland.

We all have a favourite ride in the UK or a particularly memorable day out, but before we allow this debate to descend towards Civil War, let's celebrate that the fact that we have so many phenomenal routes within relatively close distance to all of us.

As Chris Boardman pointed out, the competition has served to illustrate that "this small country has some of the very best and diverse riding to be found anywhere in the world. Any of these routes is worth a visit but especially that of our very worthy winner"

You can watch a video of the winning ride (and the shortlisted routes) here.

So what do you think: should the Lake District have won Britain's Best Ride of 2013, do you think one of the other contenders should have taken top slot, or do you have a better ride in your neck of the woods?

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Comment by Terry Hayward on December 20, 2013 at 17:25
It's all a matter of opinion as you say. I have 3-4 regular rides here in the Peaks that are breathtakingly beautiful, relatively car-free (except in summer) and have cracking pubs, cafés and bakeries on route. But, I know the Lakes very well and that route is indeed spectacular so whilst I'm surprised my adopted home of Derbyshire did not make the top 5, well done the Lakes - a worthy winner (IMHO)
Comment by Dave Nash on December 20, 2013 at 14:46

The Cotswolds, where I do most of my riding, are always beautiful and the roads are relatively quiet if you stay away from the main thouroughfares. For me personally, they are at their very best on a crisp October day when the combination of the autumnal colours  and the light on the Cotswold stone is simply sublime. There may not be a climb to match the likes of Wrynose Pass, Fleet Moss  or some of the Welsh and Scottish mountains, but those punchy little hills are cumulative and your legs will know they've had a good work out if you do a 50+ ride!

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