Rebellion Way: FAQ

All you need to know about the Rebellion Way to help you plan your ride




How hard is the route?

The route is designed to be manageable by anyone of reasonable fitness on most types of bike, and makes a great introduction to multi-day cycle trips. We've tried to keep the route as low-traffic as possible by using a combination of bridleways, byways, cycle paths, forest tracks and quiet roads. While Norfolk isn't completely flat, the gradients are gently rolling and the route doesn't climb above 100m at any point.

Guide writer and designer Guy Kesteven has put together two films which are full of historical and cultural insight about the places you pass through on the route, and these will give you a good idea of what the route is like.



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How long does it take to ride?

The full route is 373km / 233 miles, which we'd recommend 4-6 days to ride. We've included suggested itineraries in the guidebook for different daily distances.

If you don't have time to do the full route, it can be easily split in half at King's Lynn to do as a linear route by train.

There is also an option to cut across the middle between Stoke Holy Cross and Swaffham to create two shorter loops:

  • Rebellion Way north loop: 304km
  • Rebellion Way south loop: 171km

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What is a GPX file? How do I use it?

A GPX file is a way of sharing a route electronically and consists of a track linking a series of plotted points. This can be overlaid on an online map to view the route, and interpreted by bike GPS computers and smartphone apps to direct you along.

You’ll find that your computer won’t be able to open the GPX files directly, but there are various websites which let you open it, view it on a map and print sections. It can be easiest to download the file straight to your phone and then once you have a navigation app installed, tapping the file should open it straight in the app.

These articles have some more information about how to do that:

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Which kind of bike is best?

The non-technical, gently rolling nature of the off-road terrain and the sometimes scruffy road surfaces of the Rebellion Way make it perfect for a gravel bike, hybrid or touring bike with larger tyres. It will be fine on a mountain bike too if you want maximum comfort and confidence. Plenty of places to stop and recharge make it easy to keep an e-bike topped up.

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Can I ride it on an adaptive cycle or a trike, or with a child's trailer?

Cycling UK has worked with Experience Community to test-ride the full Rebellion Way with a handcycle and identify the barriers and potential obstacles along the route.

We've put together an alternative route avoiding the barriers to make it doable for trikes, handcycles, recumbents and trailers. That does mean this version has a higher proportion of road sections, particularly around Thetford Forest. Longer term, we'll be hoping to get some of the barriers and pinch points on the original route removed or improved, to make it more suitable for all riders.

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Is the route suitable for e-bikes?

This route is ideal for electric bikes. Although there are few hills, the added assistance along flat, straight sections (especially into a headwind) is an efficient and helpful use of the battery. There are also plenty of locations, such as at refreshment stops, where you could potentially recharge the battery during the day, if required.

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What kind of kit should I take?

Pannier racks or bikepacking bags are a good way to transport your cargo, as there are many facilities along the route, as well as excellent rail connections, and it is possible to ride the route safely and easily unsupported and with minimal baggage.

While Norfolk’s position in the east of the country means it is generally blessed with better weather than the rest of the UK, it is still in the UK. That means things can get wet or windy quickly at any time of the year, so bring appropriate gear. The big skies mean you’ll normally have plenty of warning to get your jacket ready though, and there are lots of churches, pubs, hedges and woods for shelter.

There’s also lot of flint all the way round the route, which can be hard on delicate tyres so take an extra tube and patch kit. There are several bike shops on or very close to the route, so you’re never far from a save.

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Is the route signposted?

The Rebellion Way route is not signposted, so the best way to navigate is by downloading the GPX file and using a navigation app or bike computer to navigate. Parts of the route overlap with National Cycle Network routes and Peddars Way National Trail, so you can relax for a bit and follow the signs. Other areas such as Thetford Forest require more attention to stay on track. The printed route guide contains detailed Ordnance Survey mapping to cover you for the tricky parts.

You can also look at and print sections on the OS Maps website if you have a premium subscription - Cycling UK members get a 20% discount.

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Is there a printed guidebook available?

Printed guidebooks can be purchased through Cycling UK's online shop.

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Is there information about accommodation and facilities along the route?

The route guide contains a table with distances between the villages and towns along the route, and details of which facilities are available in each.

As part of the EXPERIENCE project, Cycling UK has been supporting hospitality businesses along the route to become accredited Cycle Friendly Places, so you know you’ll receive a warm welcome and everything you need.

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Are there supported trips or baggage transfer available?

HikeHelp can offer baggage transfer along the Rebellion Way route. If using this service you are recommended to ride the route clockwise, as it fits with the direction of most of their walking customers tackling the Norfolk Coast Path.

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Can I take my bike on the train to start the route?

Yes, although you will need to reserve a space for it - trains to Norwich are operated by Greater Anglia and East Midlands Railway.

Trains to King's Lynn are operated by Great Northern and don't require a cycle reservation, although there are some restrictions. You can't take your bike on a train which left London between 16:00 and 19:00.

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Is there somewhere I can hire a bike?

There are several cycle hire centres along the route, including:

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What’s Cycling UK doing to encourage responsible cycling and access?

Exploring the outdoors is fantastic, and it’s essential that all of us play our part in protecting nature and looking out for others. Cycling UK is aiming to remind riders of that both in the guidebook and with our online information about the Rebellion Way.

We are working with Natural England to promote the updated Countryside Code in England, and with the British Horse Society to share the Be Nice, Say Hi campaign and raise awareness of how to pass horse riders safely.

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Why has Cycling UK developed this route?

The Rebellion Way has been created as part of the EU-funded EXPERIENCE project, which aims to develop sustainable year-round tourism experiences in six pilot regions in England and France – one of which is Norfolk.

Along with developing promoted routes and cycle destinations in the county, Cycling UK is also supporting hospitality businesses to become accredited Cycle Friendly Places, so you can be sure of a warm welcome and everything you need.

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What is the EXPERIENCE project?

Cycling UK is one of 14 partners collaborating to deliver innovative and sustainable new off-season tourism experiences in six pilot regions in England and France, focusing on sustainable, low-impact tourism activities to secure the future resilience of the region’s natural and cultural assets.

This project will harness the experiential tourism trend to extend the season, generating 20 million new off-season visitors spending €1 billion across the Channel region by June 2023.

EXPERIENCE is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg VA France (Channel) England Programme 2014-2020.

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Has Cycling UK developed any other long-distance routes I can try?

For a similarly leisurely flavour and a varied mix of coast and countryside, try the 147-mile Cantii Way in Kent. If you're looking for a coastal route with a bit more challenge, take on the climbs and rugged scenery of the West Kernow Way in Cornwall.

Cycling UK has also proposed a rideable route for the North Downs Way, which is in the process of becoming an official alternative National Trail route.

Immerse yourself in 10,000 years of history by riding King Alfred’s Way, a 220-mile loop which connects the South Downs Way, North Downs Way riders’ route, and the rideable parts of the Ridgeway and Thames Path.

Or for a really epic journey, try all or part of the Great North Trail, which connects the Pennine Bridleway with the An Turas Mor trail to form an 800-mile route linking the Peak District with the north coast of Scotland at Cape Wrath and John o’ Groats. 

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