The UK is really four countries, England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, plus the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. For the purpose of this page we are sticking to where we have been, England, Wales and Scotland. Our longest tour was to north west Scotland.
Numerous ferries connect with Europe, with air connections world wide. Iberian Airlines and Aer Lingus seem to cater for tandems alright, as shown in our Spain and Ireland pages.
Tends to be dominated by the weather system of the Atlantic, so generally wet and cold in the NW and warm and dry in the SE, but not always so. Recently summer has tended to be late with it cold right into mid June, with winter often milder than in the past. We get long dry spells and also long wet ones, so it is no wonder it is a subject often discussed by the British.
The mountainous regions are in North England, Wales and Scotland. South England has some very hilly and scenic regions like the Downs, Chilterns, Cotswolds to mention a few. The east is generally flatter. Traffic is a major problem to cyclists,especially on main roads, but there are some areas with less traffic.
Ordnance Survey are the popular ones for cyclists, usually the 1/50000, 2cm to 1km scale, each map covering an area 25 miles x 25 miles. For longer tours the 1/250000, 2cm to 5km, is more suitable with eight covering all of the country.
Food and Lodgings
Cyclists tend to seek out all the best cafe’s, but now with many bars open all day there is more choice. Youth Hostels are still popular with the UK cyclists, while others go for the B&B, both being very common in the tourists regions and infrequent in non-tourist areas. Prices vary, for hostels and B&B according to the region, London expensive, eg. Stratford upon Avon is a bit less, York a little less, less popular areas even less.
Rail travel with a cycle is generally acceptable, but with a tandem it is a different story.
Sustrans is an engineering charity initially concerned with developing disused railways as safe routes for people, and now co-ordinating the National Cycle Network, with 2500 miles to be completed by the year 2000, and 6500 miles by 2005. Now covers all the country.
North East England, Northumbria, for gentle hills, and a mass of quiet roads, with adjacent Scotland being similar. South West Scotland is one of our favourites.
Border area of England and Wales is another good area.