With idyllic countryside scenes, centuries of varied history, and plenty of modern attractions, Bedfordshire is a wonderful county to discover by bike.
The Greensands Cycleway takes you 41.5 miles (66.9 km) from Leighton Buzzard to Sandy, dipping briefly into Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire.
This route is a perfect micro-adventure which you can complete without taking time off work. It's also a great option if you are a first-time tourer or as a warm-up before getting stuck into longer and more strenuous bike trips. Don’t worry if your legs are a bit rusty as you won’t be doing much climbing, with just 1,440 feet (440 m) of elevation gain spread over the weekend.
Greensands Cycleway may be short in distance, but it is still brimming with things to see and do: ramble around the thick woodland of Rushmere Country Park; watch dear roam the colourful parklands at Woburn Abbey; gaze upon wild animals of all shapes and sizes at Woburn Safari Park; explore the magnificent gardens and house at Wrest Park, and watch rare aircraft navigate the skies at The Shuttleworth Collection.
As the route follows lanes and roads the whole way, it’s best suited to adult riders or older children who are comfortable cycling with traffic. This does mean, however, that any bike, including your fast road bike, is up to the challenge. You could also consider riding your mountain bike. Although it will slow you down on the roads, it will come into its own if you fancy taking on the gnarly trails of Chicksands Bike Park on Stage 2.
The Greensands Cycleway is a great weekend away, come rain or shine. Quaint villages and towns are never more than a few miles apart so you have plenty of opportunities to escape a downpour in a pub and stop for a coffee or a bite to eat.
Officially created in 2014, the route traces the popular Greensands Ridge Walk and is well-signposted. Although I’ve chosen to start in Leighton Buzzard, you can ride the route in both directions, just choose the easiest starting point for you.
I’ve suggested spending the night in Ampthill, which is more or less the halfway point. There’s plenty of accommodation to choose from in the town, as well as a Centre Parcs resort a short ride away.
Both Leighton Buzzard and Sandy have direct train connections to London, making this route ideal for a weekend trip away from the capital. If you like to crunch miles under your tyres, you could also easily complete it in one day.
Your first day following the Greensands Cycleway is a relaxed 18.6-mile (30-km) ride from Leighton Buzzard to Ampthill. With 820 feet (250 m) of ascent and descent, you can gently …
The second day of your weekend adventure takes you 22.6 miles (36.5 km) from Ampthill to Sandy. With just 623 feet (190 m) of climbing, you should have plenty of …
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