Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 613

18 AUGUST 202 2 35 Photography: Fionn McArthur, Robert Spanring/ Cycling UK pedal power Two cyclists on the Cantii Way pass St Mary’s Church in Chilham, Kent (top); many bikepackers opt for gravel bikes, such as this Pearson o grid carbon model (above); Simon’s bike on Shetland (previous page) GET THE RIGHT GEAR Bike While you can in theory use any kind or bike, many bikepackers prefer to roam on mountain bikes or gravel bikes that have been speciäcally designed to take on diverse and difäcult surfaces. Bags Pannier bags can sometimes snag on undergrowth, so bikepackers often like to use streamlined bags äxed to handlebars and saddles. You might also go for a small backpack. Sleeping A lightweight sleeping bag and mat are essential for nights under the stars. Some bikepackers opt for a little tent, while others go for a bivvy bag – like a tiny tent, minus poles. Essentials Repair kit, lights, a bike lock, food and water are all important – as well as lots of dry bags to save your belongings from the British weather. And always wear a helmet. THREE TRAILS TO TRY The Cantii Way, which opened in May, takes its name from the Iron Age Cantii tribe who once ruled over Kent. Druids and Celtic chieftains are rarely spied from the saddle these days, but beautiful landscapes are. From its starting point in the village of Wye, the 145-mile route winds north through Kent, the ‘Garden of England’ to the holy city of Canterbury and the oyster capital Whitstable. Continuing clockwise, the sandy beaches of Thanet turn to the white cliffs of Dover and the shingly shores of Dungeness, before cyclists return across the downs to Wye. The Rebellion Way, launching in October, takes inspiration from sometime Norfolk resident Queen Boudicca, who led a violent and ultimately unsuccessful insurrection against the Romans in 60-61 AD. By contrast, a successful conquest of this 228-mile route, leads cyclists to some of the most peaceful corners of East Anglia. Starting and ending in Norwich, riders take in the reedy backwaters of the Broads, the golden sands around Holkham and the historic towns of Diss and King’s Lynn. On certain sections the route intersects with the Peddars Way, an ancient, arrowstraight road built by Boudicca’s Roman adversaries. The Great North Trail, a largely offroad route launched in 2019, stretches 800 miles from the English Midlands to the Scottish Highlands. The adventure begins in the Peak District – cyclists follow the spine of the Pennines northward deep into the Yorkshire Dales, before crossing the border and making a beeline for Edinburgh. It’s north of Glasgow that the scenery becomes truly epic. The route passes heathery Highland glens and snow-dusted munros en route to Cape Wrath, the northwestern tip of mainland Britain. two wheels good Simon Parker at the Bay of Skaill, Orkney (main); Sam Jones of Cycling UK on the North Downs Way at Guildford, Surrey (bottom left); cyclists on the Cantii Way in Kent (bottom right)