Thursday, August 30, 2012
Some of the world’s top cyclists will pedal their way through the region next weekend as part of the Norfolk and Suffolk leg of the Tour of Britain.
The Adnams-supported stage of the country’s biggest road race will see the peloton of nearly 100 riders follow a route from Ipswich, through parts of Suffolk, including Lowestoft, before arriving in Norfolk.
They will then take in Great Yarmouth, Coltishall, Reepham, Dereham and Easton before finishing at the Norfolk Showground at Costessey – where the free Taste the Best of Norfolk Food and Drink Festival and family fun day will be held as part of the EDP Adnams Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, held in association with Norfolk County Council.
This year’s event will see a stellar line-up of riders including Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins and current road cycling world champion Mark Cavendish. With Norfolk and north Suffolk’s thousands of miles of roads and cycleways, there is ample opportunity for people to be inspired by September 9’s showcase of cycling and set out on two wheels. Here is a guide to where to cycle in each of the districts the Tour of Britain will visit:
With its flat terrain, Great Yarmouth is the ideal borough to cycle around. The town centre is well provided with cycle tracks and lanes for commuters and visitors alike. There is a family friendly off-road route, called The Broadway, which follows the famous Golden Mile along the seafront, with links to the town centre, train and bus stations. Other cycle facilities include links to Gorleston and the surrounding villages of Bradwell and Caister-on-Sea.
For a copy of the Great Yarmouth green travel map showing all cycle paths and tracks, including cycle parking, go to www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk/transport-streets/cycling/index.htm.
For those feeling more energetic, they can follow the 97 mile long Norfolk Coast Cycleway from Great Yarmouth to King’s Lynn. In Great Yarmouth borough this follows Sustran’s signposted regional route 30, with optional loops to explore places of interest, such as Caister castle and the Broads. A map of the route can be purchased from most Tourist Information Centres.
Everyone can enjoy the great outdoors in Broadland where an extensive network of paths and routes takes you through woodlands, parkland, marshland, Broads and heaths.
Cycling routes average 20 miles and provide for a relaxing day out and a good pub lunch.
For those wanting a greater challenge, spend the weekend walking or cycling off-road along the Marriott’s Way and the Bure Valley Path. A distance of some 35 miles exploring the cultural and railway heritage of the area, it is a great introduction to Norfolk, and a little more challenging than you might think. Go to www.visitbroadland.co.uk for information and downloads.
Cycling in Breckland is a must for any avid rider. Being blessed with scores of small, quiet roads, winding there way through some of Norfolk’s most stunning rural scenery, it is probably the best way to access the districts areas of fantastic natural beauty.
The district is home is the Boudicca Sportive. Held in June for the first time this year, the event boasts a 30, 70 and 100 mile ride. They each begin and end at the World Horse Welfare Organisation in Snetterton.
Cyclists can also follow the routes, which take in places including East Harling, Banham Moor, Morley and Deopham, all year round at their own leisure. For more details, go to www.boudiccasportive.co.uk.
South Norfolk Council provides a series of nine short ‘Bike It!’ route guides, as well as a full 88-mile South Norfolk tour map.
Pubs, shops, cycle-friendly bed and breakfasts and places of interest are all marked on the maps. South Norfolk is perfect for cyclists with hundreds of miles of flat, quiet roads passing through beautiful unspoilt countryside, making it ideal for families and experienced cyclists alike. All route maps are available to download from www.south-norfolk.gov.uk or by calling 01508 533979.
Sustranss’ national cycle network route one also passes through South Norfolk. It enters the district at Gillingham before heading north-west to Loddon where it then takes in the villages of Rockland St Mary and Surlingham before leaving the district via Whitlingham Country Park at Trowse.
Sunrise Coast and the Waveney Valley
With the area around Lowestoft, Southwold and the Southern Broads renowned for being flat, the Sunrise Coast and Waveney Valley provides some excellent cycling through miles of wonderful scenery including rides along the coast or through the countryside.Routes include from Beccles to Southwold, a 17-mile loop around Beccles and Bungay via Ringsfield and Geldeston, the Brewery Tour which takes in Bungay and Homersfield and a 24-mile circular route from Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft. To download maps, go to www.visit-sunrisecoast.co.uk.