Ten ways to make the most of late summer cycling
For those of us hoping the last couple of months would bring plenty of warm and dry weather, it’s been a bit of a disappointment. July was the wettest on record for some parts of the UK and August hasn’t been much better.
But with the BBC predicting we could be in for a spell of warmer and sunnier weather, it could be the perfect time to get out on your bike.
Of course, the return of sunny weather means protecting yourself from the sun’s rays and against biting beasties. If you’re not yet a member of Cycling UK, join now to receive a free summer essentials kit which includes a Pelotan sunscreen in convenient roll-on form, plus a pocket-sized Smidge spray – just the things for slipping inside your jersey pocket on a late summer ride.
1. Enjoy the longer evenings
There’s little better than getting out on your bike on a balmy summer evening. We have lots of evening daylight left – even in mid-September the sun sets after 7.30pm in much of the UK – so getting out for a pedal after work or when the kids are settled is still a great option.
Watching the sun go down while in the saddle can be a magical experience, and dusk is also a good time to spot wildlife such as deer, hares and tawny owls.
2. Discover new routes
From touring the countryside to descending a mountainside, whatever type of cyclist you are, we have a whole host of inspirational cycling routes for you to try. There’s no time like the present, so try out some new routes this summer and discover brilliant places you’ll want to revisit all year round.
3. Join a group or club
While it’s often easy to find the motivation to get out in summer, the camaraderie of riding with a group during the winter months is a huge benefit for many cyclists. Joining one now means you’ll have plenty of friends to keep you motivated as the days get colder and shorter.
Cycling UK has around 1,000 member and affiliated cycling groups across the UK – find your nearest and get involved.
4. Sleep under the stars
After a day of cycling, you pitch your tent or bivvy in a secluded spot. As the sun goes down, you cook an outdoor meal with the accompanying sound of a nearby babbling brook. After a night under the stars, you are woken by birdsong and pack up your gear, leaving no trace that you were ever there.
5. Try something new
If you were inspired by watching the recent UCI Cycling World Championships in Scotland, now could be a great time to give a new type of cycling a go. From BMX to mountain biking, track to trials – if something tickled your cycling taste buds, get involved and see how you get on!
6. Go longer
Make use of the longer hours of daylight to go for a long ride – you could even challenge yourself to rider further than you have done before. Just be sure to pack plenty of food and water – plus sunscreen and other ride essentials.
7. Go on a family adventure
While many children in Scotland are back to school, there are still a couple of weeks of summer holidays left for kids elsewhere in the UK. The tail end of the holidays can be a time when inspiration for new activities is in short supply, so why not try one of our 50 family-friendly cycle routes in the UK? For younger kids, an exciting cycling treasure hunt can capture the imagination.
8. Help a friend to rediscover the joy of cycling
Got a pal whose bike has been marooned in the garage or shed, but you think could be tempted back out for a ride? Let’s be honest, a cold winter’s day is not going to be the most appealing reintroduction to cycling. Pick a day with great weather, invite them for a pedal and see if you can help them to rediscover cycling bug.
9. Be one of the first to ride our epic new route
We’re hugely excited about Traws Eryri, our latest long-distance route that is launching in late August. Welsh for ‘Trans-Snowdonia’, it weaves 140 miles through one of the UK’s most dramatic mountain landscapes. Sign up to hear about its launch and you could be among the very first to take on this epic route that showcases the best of the wilds of Wales.
10. Plan a big adventure
If you’re someone who loves poring over maps and arranging logistics, it’s never too early to start planning your next big cycling trip – perhaps for spring or summer 2024.
Why not take on one of Cycling UK’s long-distance routes, like the West Kernow Way in Cornwall or the Great North Trail which links the Pennines with the northern tips of mainland Scotland. If you’re feeling really intrepid, head for the most north-western point of the UK and add your name to the historic Cape Wrath Fellowship.