Unfortunately- like everyone else, Covid19 has effected all of the planned rides, please be patient and stay safe.

Future Events

Click the green triangles on the calendar below to see the rides


The big calendar to the left is live, if you hover over the green triangles a small info-tip will open to tell you about the ride on that day, if you click the triangle a bigger image will open up, or just scroll through the months by clicking the month arrows to see the scheduled rides booked ahead. Or why not have a look below to see some rides on the current ‘bucket list’. To find out about updates on some routes click here to have look at the 'News' page. However you gain your inspiration, I hope this website encourages you to explore and travel, it is true travel does broaden the mind!

Where do get your your ideas for places to go?

That’s a difficult question to answer, but by the end of this little article, I would hope you can answer that question yourself? I think we can rule out interstellar travel (for now), but anything else goes! Travel begins with interest (except for work), interesting people, places, events, cuisine, anything which catches your attention. It’s that TV programme people have been talking about, it makes you want to rush home to see it, or record it to watch. It’s that book, play, magazine, you heard someone talking about it at the bus stop, now you want to know more about it. Anything that you’re inquisitive about, that starts the questions. It’s a place you see during a film- does ‘Hobbiton’, or ‘Helm's Deep’ really exist? Well, I can tell you Cheddar Gorge was the inspiration for ‘Helm's Deep’, wouldn’t it be nice to go and see it for yourself and have that realisation moment- ahh I can see it now?

Travel programmes account for a multitude of ideas, especially when they’re tied in with a subject you love- by now you’d know for myself that is trains, or Victorian industrial sites, and cycling. It’s not just travel programmes that can be thought provoking. It could be an event in time- ‘La Tomatina’ (The Spainish Tomato Fight), an anniversary of something (Normandy, Dunkirk, November the 5th ), a sporting event (I’ve planned a whole ride specifically around an Urban Downhill Mountain-bike event). You get the idea now, anything what so ever that grabs your intent.

You could of course catch a train, fly, or drive to these places, but that rather defeats the object of trying to ride the bike (and that's a whole new question). When I used to travel to ‘MotoGP’ events in Italy, I would very often cycle to the circuit from a few miles away, passing the hoards of people trying to drive or even walk there, and after the event where it would take most people hours to get away from the circuit- not me, I just rode away, within a short time I was away from the crowds. It doesn’t matter what your reason is to go to a place, but you do need a reason, otherwise when do you stop? People say ‘It's the journey, not the destination that matters’ and that can be true as well, if you want to continue lapping around the world until you fall off the bike and die, so be it, that’s your reason. There has to be a rational motive to ride the bike to an objective. There isn't enough time in our linear lives to do everything we want, but we can achieve many of them. "Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride" (Eddy Merckx).


Some of Ramblingfatman's planned 'bucket list' rides

North Wales through a reservoir!

There’s a bit of a faff on the first day, leaving the bike in one place driving to another and bus back to the bike. Then ride the Bala to Blaenau Ffestiniog Central railway route, trying to ride through the Afon Tryweryn Reservoir (Click to see video), the bridge shown left is normally under water (so we need a heatwave to ride it), and then over the Cwm Prysor Viaduct to Bleanau Ffestiniog. The next day is along the Rhiwbach Tramway through an old slate quarry. The last day it’s from Capel Curig to Betws-y-Coed on an old byway, a ride I didn’t complete in 2019.


Scotland Island hopping

The famous Scottish island hop is the Hebridean Way, but I want to do a different Island hop. Starting on mainland Scotland across seven Islands and back to Mainland Scotland. Foot passage on ferries is significantly cheaper than taking your car on board and free camping is allowed in Scotland (and hopefully the midges will be kind). It’s going to take 8 days with critical timing to catch the ferries. I’m going to lose myself absorbing the stunning beauty of crystal clear sparkling lochs, rolling hills, hidden glens, golden sandy beaches, and rare wildlife.


Exploring Brooklands racing circuit and the Cuckoo trail

The World's first purpose-built motor racing circuit was at Brooklands not far from London, today only remnants remain, but there’s enough of the track left to explore, there’s also a very good museum there. I intend to spend the first day at Brooklands re-discovering the track and former aerodrome. The next day I’ll catch a train to Crawley to ride the ‘Cuckoo railway trail’ to Eastbourne (it became known as the Cuckoo Line because traditionally, the first cuckoo of spring was released from a cage at Heathfield Fair).


South Downs Way

Four days of riding the South Downs Way

The South Downs Way (SDW) is a 100 mile long-distance off road National Trail, stretching from the ancient saxon cathedral city of Winchester in the west, through to the white chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head at Eastbourne in the east. I’m hiring an electric MTB to ride it over 4 days, cycling 25 miles a day with one of my mates (who’s a lot fitter than me, he’s going to ride it on his own steam). Plans were to ride it around March 2020, but Covid19 put a spanner in the works, we will see when i can fit it in again.


Dolomites

Innsbruck, Reschen Pass, Merano, Bolzano, Lake Garda, Verona

I told my cycling colleagues; I was going to ride the Italian Dolomites, they looked at me in awe- when I added ‘downhill’, the look turned to confusion. The ride consists of several days starting in Austria, then I catch a bus up to the top of the Reschen Pass and from there it's downhill, through Merano descending through stunning alpine landscapes and through quaint mediaeval villages to Bolzano, then around Lake Garda and terminating in Verona. It is a long way off in 2021 when a new path around the lake is finished, click here to read the progress on it.


Passau

London- Cologne- Passau- Vienna

On the home page I mentioned some rides abroad, well technically this was the first one, and was the easiest ride to dip my feet in the water; riding along the Danube River. This has to be the most popular cycle paths in Germany and Austria. Its going to take two days on the train to get there, staying in Cologne (Germany) for the first night, and then on to Passau (Germany) the next day. The cycling starts from Passau and ends in Vienna (Austria) 4 days and 190 miles later. Then I catch the train to Budapest to chill out. Click the image or title to goto the ride.


Lundy

Portsmouth- Bideford- Lundy- Ilfracombe- Barnstable

This is a magical ride, it starts at Portsmouth and follows the old Plym Valley railway line, it then pursues Drake's Leat (a watercourse constructed in the late 16th century). Then onto the Granite way railway line (an old quarry branch line), next onto the Tarka trail (made famous by Tarka the otter) to Bideford. Then something I’ve wanted to do for years; Stay on Lundy- and island in the Bristol channel (so secluded there’s no mobile phone coverage) and finally after two days sail back to Ilfracombe and ride back to Barnstable. Click the image or title to goto the ride.


The iconic Ribblehead Viaduct

Settle to Carlisle

Everyone knows about the Settle to Carlisle railway line. The line runs through some of the remotest, scenic regions of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Pennines, passing through loads of small communities. Threatened with closure in the early eighties, it survived through National and local pressure groups, saving over a dozen tunnels, twenty two viaducts including the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct, not to mention the reopening of several previously closed stations. I intend to cycle from one end to the other then ride the train back, it will be great.


Menai Suspension Bridge

Criccieth- The Llyn Peninsula- Anglesea- Blaenau Ffestiniog

Another fantastical ride in Wales, starting with a spectacular train journey through the very heart of Wales, all the way along the West coast to Criccieth. From here we cut across the Lyn Peninsula following the Welsh Highland railway, and then hug the coast of the Menai Straits (not a spelling mistake), across Thomas Telford’s Menai Suspension Bridge and onto Anglesea. The next day it’s along the Ogwen Trail to Betws-y-coed, and then to Blaenau Ffestiniog. It’s a visit to the Llechwedd Slate Caverns before catching the slate train back to Porthmadog.


Island of Lindisfarne

Edinburgh to Newcastle (via Berwick Upon Tweed)

Following the east coast of the UK from Edinburgh on the National cycle route 76, taking in the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, where Saint Aidan chose to found his monastery. Five castles, including Alnwick where there is the White Swan hotel with the Olympic dining suite which features the magnificent panelling, mirrors and stained glass windows from the Titanic's sister ship. Then to Berwick Upon Tweed, a garrison town. Blyth, Whitely Bay and finally finishing in Newcastle.


The Roman Way

Hadrian's Cycleway Coast to Coast (The Roman Way)

Starting in Siloth on the on the West coast of Cumbria along the Solway Firth to Carlisle, a Scottish border town once important to the Romans, Brampton, Haltwhistle, Hexham, and finishing in Newcastle. Taking advantage of ancient castles, Roman remains and museums close to this World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s wall. About half way is Vercovicium Roman fort set high on a dramatic escarpment, with remains of the barracks and the commandant’s house and some of the oldest toilets you'll ever see, and a museum too.



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