With such a well-established route network, it’s no wonder the United Kingdom has such a great tradition of bicycle touring. It seems the size of the country, it’s history and it’s population, lends itself well to exploration by small vehicle. Organisations such as Sustrans, who have established the National Cycle Network, and the National Byway, have made touring by bike even more accessible.
One of the most comprehensive online resources for the touring cyclist is a website called Pannier, which is devoted to building and encouraging a community of similarly-spirited adventurists. Their Journal page provides a bountiful source of inspiration. Take, for example, the Culinary Cornwall Tour, which is sure to whet your appetite for the open road.
The Culinary Cornwall Tour is a fine sample of the resource offered by Pannier: An excellent narration of the journey, accompanied by atmospheric photography, followed by a downloadable GPX route and extremely well-detailed Kit List. Most products are available in the Pannier online store. It makes planning a tour of any distance a cinch.
The Culinary Cornwall Tour is a 223km “A 3-4 day route in South-West Cornwall, based on stopping at some of the finest foodie establishments: producers; inns; delis; and hidden beach cafes. Includes some of the finest coastal roads, estuary landscapes, and green rolling farmland in the UK…” Is there nothing more well-matched than riding and eating?
Here’s an appetiser: “Cornwall’s 700km coastline and lush rolling lands – a result of its warm but wet climate – mean the Cornish peninsula has a natural larder boasting the very best quality seafood, meat, dairy products, crops, and wild food.”
“Having slowly collected kindling and small firewood over the course of the day, we cracked straight on lighting a small fire and preparing our food. We gutted and washed the Mackerels before seasoning them with lemon, the amazing ‘Pepper’ Cornish Sea Salt, and lots of parsley.
“Once the fire was the right temperature, we started the fish on the grill and, after a couple of minutes on each side, foil parcelled them up with more seasoning and put them on the ember bed. Danny opened a variety of St Austell Brewery beers in the meantime and we handed them around as we listened to the sea crashing below us and fish parcel bubbling away.”
“The pasty was well worth the wait – packed full of potato, swede, onion and beef – the calorie-filled lunch was ideal for fuelling the rest of our afternoon’s cycling. If the pasties had been any bigger, we wouldn’t have finished them in one sitting, so it was easy to see why they became a staple amongst the mining workers who made them popular in the 19th Century.”
“On a loaded touring bike in Cornwall, leaving 3 hours to ride 30 miles is still a bit touch-and-go. We set off from Lizard at 6.30am the next morning to get over to Gurnard’s Head for a ‘Foraging & Feast’ morning we were booked on – Caroline from the Fat Hen Wild Cooking School had asked us to arrive by 9.30am for an introduction, before heading off on our walk at 10.00am.
“We made good progress in the warm early morning sun to reach Marazion – clocking 11mph – and knew that from there we only had a short ride over to the north coast, so took the chance to ride the ancient causeway cobbles up to St Michaels Mount whilst the tide was out.”
There’s far more courses and, needless to say, the rest of the story is equally as palatable. Pannier is not limited to the UK, either. So far, the available routes extend across to Turin, over to Portland Oregon, and even down to Adelaide, South Australia. There’s enough there to get you started, the rest is up to you. Special thanks to Harry Engels for the mouth-watering photography.