The English Lake District isn’t immediately thought of as a huge gravel riding hotspot with tracks tending to be rough, steep and straight up and down, while the roads are normally paved along the valleys. However on closer inspection there are a few hidden gems to be found….
To be fair some of the country lanes are so rough I am glad to be on a gravel bike, combined with mud and thick leaves the chunkier tyres on my Tripster ATR in 650b mode it give a lot more reassurance when cornering at speed.
It was a testing day to say the least as I set off on a festive gravel spin. The ride started with a loop of Skiddaw trying to find an all weather route through the tracks lurking among the old mine workings behind Skiddaw.
With wet ground or rocky surfaces I was on the right set up with the Lauf Grit fork soaking up the rough stuff and 1.9″ tyres getting me traction when it got muddier.
Here is the route and I’d recommend it, in drier weather it would be super fast as it’s pretty flat just 1250m of climbing over 76km. In mid winter and gale force winds it was a fair bit slower…
Even the sheep were looking cold and miserable as the wind battered them. We saw these multicoloured HErdwicks keeping warm together;
After leaving the ancient mining tracks I joined one of my favourite lanes to ride in the Lakes that skirts from Mosedale to Latrigg. From Latrigg the road is closed to cars now but a lot of fun on a gravel bike with mud, gravel and pot holes to dodge!
The descent down to Keswick allows for a refuel at about 45km into the route.
The cycle path to Braithwaite is along the A66 before the climb up to Whinlatter begins. Soon after the road climb starts you can detour off into the forest and onto gravel. You canstay on gravel for most of the remaining ride too. After crossing the main road there track is rough having had harvesting machines digging it up and leaving debris, I rode it all but it was hard going, you might want to drop down and link up with the lower track on the map.
The forest was fun and I did the other half of the Blue MTB trail after doing the first half on the way up. THis is smooth at the moment and perfect on the Tripster ATR.
Then it was down towards Bassenthwaite lake and along the brutally steep cycle network path that detours up a good size hill in the direction of Whythop Mill and Embleton.
Altogether a fast ride off any busy Lakeland roads for its entirety. Well worth a loop in 2018 when the weather is maybe a bit better!
Lezyne Macro Drive Duo – This is new light is awesome because it has a day flash rear light and front in the same helmet based unit. I am loving it this winter and is bright enough to ride off road at night.
Lezyne Super GPS (24hr battery life on a GPS lasted the weekend on one charge!)
Praxis Works Alba Cranks (Alba for those that don’t know is the local name for Scotland so appropriate!)