Not everybody enjoys traditional holidays of relaxing on a beach sunbathing; some people prefer something more active. If that sounds like you or if you’re an avid cyclist looking to take your training to the next level (even, dare I say, the Olympics), these trails will definitely interest you. Here are some of my favourite places to travel in the world. Have fun, get fit, enjoy and explore!
1. SOUTH WALES
I really enjoy cycling in South Wales, especially Cardiff. The scenery is beautiful and the terrain offers lots of variety… hilly stretches, flat stretches… so it keeps you interested as well as challenged. My favourite cycling routes here are:
CELTIC TRAIL WEST
A beautiful long-distance cycling trail travelling from Fishguard to Chepstow. Includes a great variety of hills and other terrains and stunning views of seascapes and sunsets over the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
Distance: 143 miles (or 286 miles as a circuit).
If you’ve cycled this route before and fancy some variation, try planning a detour and taking the shortcut through the Carmarthenshire back roads on your return.
This is quite a challenging ride across Mid-Wales and Cambria but it doesn’t have to be intense. The route is very picturesque with lots of beautiful, rustic mountain roads, valley tracks, rivers and towpaths to explore. You can take it in your stride and enjoy stopping off in towns such as Llanidloes and Victorian Aberystwyth. A great place to go for a weekend adventure.
Distance: 113 miles
A much shorter route than the others but brilliant for cycling (especially for doing the Excalabur Sprint drill!) as it’s almost traffic free. The route takes you from the countryside beauty of the Brecon Beacons to the capital, Cardiff, so it’s a great day out. I say day because, even through the route is short and flat, there are so many interesting things to see and explore that, as you’re cycling you’ll certainly to want to stop off. Castles, historic mining heritages, restaurants and more.
Distance: 55 miles
In the summer, the city has a specially scheduled bike bus that can take you back to the Brecon Beacons so, if you would like to stop off, don’t worry. You don’t have to cycle back so you can take your time, relax and enjoy.
I do a lot of training camps there with Team GB. The weather’s lovely and it offers so much variety for our training. There are lovely long, rolling roads, stunning mountains where you spend 30-40mins climbing... and lots more. Palma, Puerto Pollensa and Alcudia are particularly lovely.
3. THE CHILTERNS, UK
Cycling in the English countryside, through quiet country lanes surrounded by beautiful scenery and rolling hills is beautiful. It’s always nice to get away from busy city life so this is one of my favourite places. I love training here too because the roads are quite challenging but with so much variety in in the terrain and landscape, it’s impossible to get bored. My favourite cycling routes here are:
THE CHILTERN 100
Comprising of many short, steep climbs, it’s brilliant for repeat-hill training. You need to cycle over the hills consecutively so it’s a real test of your determination and endurance, not to mention gearing!
110-MILE GRAN FONDO
2,700m of vertical climbing. It’s tough but, for the avid cyclists among you, you’ll love it. The views are spectacular.
Distance: 110 miles
The 76-mile route includes over 1,900m of climbing with lots of steep and technical descents. I really enjoy cycling here because its profile reminds me of Liege-Bastogne-Liege in Ardennes, Belgium, especially the jagged spikes reflecting the steep climbs and descents.
Distance: 76 miles
For more information or to train with Dani, visit www.roweandking.com