Adventuring. It can hold a different meaning for everyone.
While for some it's about exploring the wilderness, camping and carrying what you need - for others it's simply stepping out of your comfort zone, or having new experiences away from your typical day to day.However you think of it, the idea of adventuring by bike is exciting, and it's something most of us probably wish we did more of.
But for those of us keen to dip our toes into the pool of exploring by bike, it can feel hard to know where to start.
This is where our Attacus Coast To Coast Adventure began.
Exploring the Lune valley
How do you become more adventurous?
Short answer? It's a state of mind.
We wanted to create a ride that helps break down the barriers to adventuring, and show how easy it can be for regular cyclists to achieve - even those who don’t consider themselves naturally adventurous.
Because, in reality, you don’t have to travel the furthest, climb the highest, go the longest or even go that far afield to have an epic adventure. It can be something you even fit in over a weekend.
At the finish line in Berwick
We think adventures are often better shared.
Having mates around you going through the same challenges, knowing someone's got your back whatever comes up - it can really help break down the magnitude of an otherwise intimidating ride.
Headed up by Attacus Managing Director Emily, our Coast To Coast riders are what you’d call typical cyclists.
Anna and Helena are ride leaders for the local club, Esme’s big into racing, and all have a desire to do epic things on their bikes.
Hitting the Yorkshire Dales
Emily’s vision was to create a ride that really felt like a journey. One that would give the group a challenge, but that was still achievable over a weekend.
A multi-day, point-to-point adventure that balanced long days, lack of sleep, decent climbs and living out of saddle bags, with getting to explore stunning roads and epic scenery. And all of it just a few hours away, on our own doorstep here in the UK.
Hills for days
But planning routes on roads you’re unfamiliar with can be a challenge, so we drew on all the best resources we could get your hands on.
One that worked really well was Komoot. It’s a route planning and navigation website that’s literally made for this kind of riding. It moves away from the traditional focus on data and segments, and focuses wholeheartedly on the journey.
Road bikes off road
You can use it to plan decent cafe stops, places to stop and take a snap, and incorporate highlights from other cyclists' tours into your route.
A word of advice though - if you’re planning an unfamiliar route, make sure you pay close attention to all the great detail Komoot provides on road surfaces, so you don’t end up on an unexpected 10km gravel section like we did!
The joys of an unexpected gravel trail - it was worth it for the scenery though
Emily also called on the help of our friends and North West bike tour experts Deb and Toby of Cold Dark North to help finesse our day one route.
And boy was it a cracker.
Starting in Lancashire’s Morecambe Bay, the group covered miles of undulating country roads through the heart of the stunning Lune valley.
After a pit stop at the quaint Churchmouse cafe and some top notch triple decker toasties, they then touched the tip of the Yorkshire Dales.
A much-needed coffee stop
Our riders then climbed into the North Pennines and up no. 77 of the UK’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs - Hartside Fell - before finishing in Alston, Cumbria (which, incidentally, is also the halfway point of the traditional Sea To Sea route).
Tackling Hartside Fell
The longer, hillier day two leg headed out of the Pennines, along quiet roads and old railway trails, and into the rugged Northumberland National Park, passing right by Hadrian’s Wall.
Routing in cafe stops proved trickier in this super-rural area. And after the park threw up a surprise 10km stretch of gravel, the Carriages tearooms (a cafe set on an actual train) were a welcomed sight.
Riding the North East's railway trails
The route then heads out of the national park and towards the coast, before ending on the seafront in England’s highest town, Berwick-upon-Tweed.
If you’re using this route, you might want to take a gravel bike or re-route around the gravel section.
Adventure is for everyone
Despite not considering themselves adventurers, the squad absolutely smashed this challenge.
And sitting down with them after the ride, it's clear the biggest takeaway for the group is their newly-found passion to do more riding like this.
And we for one can't wait to see what they do next...