A small selection of specially curated routes for Komoot's #explorelocal campaign. We've chosen routes that are ~100km long, all on tarmac and starting and finishing in the heart of the bigger towns/cities up the spine of the Cold Dark North. Make an adventure of it - come and ride local in the #ColdDarkNorth soon!
This 90km ride from the heart of Preston rolls out of the city into the southern section of the Forest of Bowland, taking in Jeffrey Hill and Birdy Brow before heading North through the Whitewell Estate and Dunsop Bridge up to the famous and stunningly beautiful Trough of Bowland climb. From there the route rolls through parts of the local Dolphinholme and Oakenclough road race circuits before skirting Beacon Fell on the way back into the City.
There are many ways we could have gone from Lancaster - but with Preston covering the South of our patch, we've sent you out into the a taster of the Dales. The ride rolls out of Lancaster and over picturesque Littledale to give you a sense of what's ahead and around. From the crest of that climb the road rolls along the Lune Valley heading North and East with the prevailing tail wind to the town of Ingleton under the mighty Ingleborough Peak. From there you journey to the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct and then into Dentdale Valley. The route back is tough - starting sharply and terrifyingly with White Shaw Moss (aka Kingsdale). But from here all the way home you will have gravity (if not the wind) on your side as you follow the running Lune back to Lancaster.
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Like Lancaster to the South, Kendal is spoilt with options for a ~100km ride! We've sent you out through the Lyth Valley and Underbarrow to the banks of Lake Windermere for a quick tourist hit before rolling on to the outskirts of Ambleside and Grasmere - around the picturesque "balcony road" of Thirlmere Reservoir and the on a lap of the mighty Helvelyn. You return to Kendal via Matterdale, the hardest ascent of Kirkstone Pass and then the rolling roads through Staveley and Burneside back into Town.
Our 100km #ExploreLocal route from Penrith is almost entirely in the lush, verdant, nature saturated Eden Valley. From the town you head South through Great Strickland and Kings Meaburn on the way to Appleby-in-Westmorland. From this historic town you have a few kilometres to get your self ready for the almighty Great Dun Fell. If you don't know about this one then do your research but to say that it's arguably the best road climb in England isn't overselling it. It's also the highest paved road in Britain. From the insanely fun descent of this dead end climb you head North to the less challenging but equally iconic Hartside Fell. Then after the summit of this Tour of Britain stage climax, you'll head back down and again through the quiet lanes of the Eden Valley back to the start. Lovely.
The #ExploreLocal Route from Carlisle is our longest at 128km - but it's also one of the most stunning - essentially a figure of 8 lapping Skiddaw/Blencathra and Cat Bells. You'll roll through the lanes of the North Lakes past Bassenthwaite and through Stair, up the stunning Newlands Valley before you take on the challenging climb of Honister Pass from the (arguably) harder side. Then you'll be faced with the beauty of Derwent Water on your way back to Carlisle via the East side of Blencathra following the River Caldew back to Carlisle.
This one's pretty special. From Sedbergh you'll head along Howgill Lane, cutting slowly through the empty lanes of the Lune Gorge and past Tebay before heading East to Ravenstonedale and then South back to Sedbergh a stretch of 20km pretty much without a pedal stroke ona still day. From there you'll enter the Dent Valley and tackle the Tour of Britain worthy Gawthrop before our favourite road the descent of Barbondale. After that it's full steam through Rigmaden and over the Fox's Pulpit before a few hairy descents on the way back to your finish back at Sedbergh. Enjoy!
Hardest to get to. Arguably the remotest. Definitely the roads least travelled in our #ExploreLocal series starts and finishes in Barrow-in-Furness - taking the relatively easier roads on the way out around the coast and heading North and West to Broughton before entering the Western Lake District and being greeted by the empty, stunning landscapes of Corney Fell and Birker Fell. We'd challenge you to find more breathlessly beautiful roads in Britain. Like no one has been there before. Glorious. After a taste of the Dudden Valley you head over first Kiln Bank Cross and then Bank House Moor (both savage climbs in their own right) before the steady roll back down to sea level. You won't regret the effort to get to this one. The Wild West wins our hearts every time.