Beautiful scenery, the chance to spend some quality time with mates whilst keeping fit at the same time - what's not to love? A C2C cycle route might not be a holiday in Ibiza but you can be almost sure you won't wake up with cowboy boots and a mankini on after a heavy night on the tequilla shots... well almost sure.
What is a C2C Cycle Route?
C2C stands for Coast to Coast. So a C2C Cycle Route takes you from one coast of Britain to the other. Simple eh?
Err, that sounds like a long way…
It can be. It’s nearly 400 miles if you go from Land’s End to Margate, so it’s no surprise that the most popular route is the ‘Sea to Sea’ oop north.
Measuring 140 miles along quiet country roads, disused railway lines, and cycle paths, the route takes you from the Irish Sea in Cumbria, to the North Sea in Tynemouth (there's also the option to finish in Sunderland if you prefer).
Tradition has it that you dip your back wheel in the Irish Sea as you leave, and your front wheel in the North Sea as you finish.
Sounds lovely, but I don’t think I can cycle all that way in one day!
Most people take 3-4 days to cover the distance, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and take loads of selfies
Don’t worry, you don’t have to. Infact, unless you’re some kind of super-fit cycle champ, we’d thoroughly recommend you don’t.
Instead, grab your mates, book a few B&Bs en route, and enjoy it. Most people take 3-4 days to cover the distance, allowing plenty of time to sample local delicacies, enjoy the scenery, and pose for multiple ‘we’re totally doing the C2C #fitlife #sorrynotsorry’ Instagrams.
You mentioned scenery, what exactly am I going to see?
The route takes in the stunning countryside of the northern Lake District, the Pennines and Country Durham.
You can also add in Wiggo’s Way, an extra loop mid-route. Paying homage to Olympic gold medalist and Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins, the detour takes you through the best of the Eden Valley, before rejoining the original route at Stanhope in County Durham.
Why do this loop?
The best thing is the lack of traffic. The roads are quiet, so cyclists can relax and pelt along
“It’s got everything," says loop creator Anton Flaherty. “It may only measure 42 miles, but in that time you’ve got beautiful moorlands, leafy lanes, great views, some outstanding market towns with lovely fish and chip shops, cafes and pubs and some really, really tough climbs.
"The best thing, however, is the lack of traffic. The roads are quiet, so cyclists can relax and pelt along."
Ok, we’re sold. How do we go about organising it?
Tynemouth is a great place to finish, it’s a lovely seaside town with a great beach and loads of pubs
“If you’d like to cover the distance in three days, I’d say do 50 miles on the first day," says Flaherty. “Then stay overnight in the Penrith area, as the places around Keswick tend to ask people to book for a minimum of two nights.
“In terms of terrain, the second day is the toughest test, so just do Wiggo’s Way and stay in Stanhope. Then, on the third day, complete the final stretch to Tynemouth. It’s a great place to finish, because it’s a lovely seaside town with a great beach and loads of nice pubs and restaurants."
And it’s just 10 minutes from Newcastle if you want to party harder…