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Top 10 Best of British biking trips that are just as satisfying as any Euro tour

If you've been forced to put that European motorcycle tour on hold for another year, never fear because there are still some gems  to experience right here in the UK

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With COVID-19 news continuing to influence the way we live, while borders are steadily opening up again to welcome holidaymakers, for now restrictions remain in place to make that annual European motorcycle trip a treat for 2022 now.

But never fear, Britain still has a host of excellent ‘staycationing’ routes to sate your adventurous spirit and with our own lockdown measures easing steadily - more so following the latest extension to restrictions - there has never been a better chance to see what exists right on your doorstep.

With miles of brilliant biking roads and interesting destinations abound, biker-friendly cafes and more, why not tick off some or all of these with a few cheeky trips or combine some of them into a proper UK road trip.

Top 10 Motorcycles We Can't Wait To Ride in 2021 Pt. 2 | YAMAHA R7, KTM 1290 Super Duke RR

But where to go… well, we’ve done the legwork just for you! 

Here we have easy day trips, a selection that deserve some planning and some you could easily combine for the ultimate coast-to-coast biking adventure. 

If you haven’t decided what to do this summer, then you’d better read on…

London’s ‘café culture’ – The Ace Café and more

Yes, The Ace Café on the north circular near Wembley in north-west London is an obvious one.

But even if you’ve already been to this revived biker caff and sampled its legendary breakfasts it’s worth revisiting – especially if there’s an event on. 

Bike Night is every Friday, the Rockers Reunion Run is back on in early September (check out the calendar at https://london.acecafe.com) and, although admittedly not exactly a great ride, the Ace is also a good starting point for popping down the road to Brooklands for a visit to the famous banked circuit and museum, which everybody should visit at least once. It’s a good day’s out in anybody’s book.

Midlands history tour

OK, so riding round Birmingham and Leicester on some kind of mystery tour might not sound that appealing, but believe us, a tour of Britain’s biking heritage makes a great day out. The remnants of our historic industry are largely within a few miles of each other around Birmingham and Coventry and can be linked up to make an intriguing journey. 

There’s the memorial plaque on the site of Triumph’s old Meriden factory on the side of the B4104 (with neighbouring Daytona Drive and Bonneville Close); the remains of BSA’s Small Heath factory are just up the road, as is Norton’s old site in Bracebridge Street, Aston, plus of course you can include a visit to new Triumph in Hinckley (factory tours resume on July 1 and its 1902 Café is already open) and even the National Motorcycle Museum in Coventry, which is also now open again. Go on, you know you want to.

Brighton, Goodwood and the South Downs

Here’s another goodie. A trip to Brighton by bike is never wasted. You can join the Rockers Run from London down the A23, ending up on spectacular Madeira Drive where you can dive into one of the many caffs and revive memories of Quadrophenia or simply have an ice cream on the prom. 

Then from there, take the opportunity to ride across the glorious South Downs, perhaps skirting by Goodwood (tickets are still available – just – for the Festival of Speed July 8-11 and for the Revival on September 17-19) or instead taking the A272 and ending up at famed bikers caff Loomies near the junction with the A32.

South Wales – off-road and on 

Most of us have heard of the legendary ‘Black Mountain Road’, the spectacular 15-mile or so slice of Tarmac across the Brecon Beacons most famous for regularly being used on TV’s Top Gear. Many of us are also aware of ex-Dakar racer Simon Pavey’s world renowned Off-Road Skills school. But many don’t realise the two are barely 10 miles apart. 

Our suggestion? Get yourself booked into Pavey’s school – there are levels for all riders, it’s a great learning experience and everyone should do it at least once – and while you’re at it use it as an excuse to also do the Black Mountain Road and explore the Brecon Beacons beyond. 

Both should be on everyone’s biking bucket list and now’s as good a time as any.

North York Moors, Scarborough and more!

Yorkshire folk like to refer to their home at ‘God’s own county’ but when it comes to bikes and the North York Moors they may be right. The Moors themselves offer dozens of brilliant, spectacular biking roads. 

There’s popular, biker-friendly cafes nearby such as Barkers in Helmsley and if you want a tourist spot to pop into there’s the home of TV’s Heartbeat, Goathland, a short, spectacular ride away. 

Beautiful Whitby and its famous harbour and chips-stealing seagulls are just a few miles further on the coast and if you want to link everything to a racing event there’s also Scarborough and Oliver’s Mount, England’s only real road racing circuit, just down the coast with the Barry Sheene Classic on June 26/27 and the first Oliver’s Mount Festival scheduled for July 31st/August 1st.

Devil’s Bridge and the Lake District

The North York Moors may be one of the stars of England’s north-east, but in the north-west it’s got to be the Lake District – and there’s plenty of biking reasons to tempt you to tick it off your biking bucket list over this restricted period. 

Not only is the landscape spectacular pretty much every way you look, there’s the famous Hardknott Pass, the joint record holder for the steepest road in England, just down the road on the fringes of the Yorkshire Dales there’s the famous Devil’s Bridge biker meeting point, by Kirkby Lonsdale where you can also usually grab a burger.

If you want something a bit more cerebral there’s also the Lakeland Motor Museum packed with classic cars, motorcycles, scooters and, currently, a special display dedicated to speed record king Donald Campbell.

The Best of the Peak District

If you’re Midlands-based and the above British biking heritage ‘tour’ isn’t your bag why not fully explore the brilliant biking roads of the Peak District? Centrally located between Manchester, Sheffield and Derby there’s not only again loads of brilliant biking roads, including the famous Cat & Fiddle Run, there’s also plenty of attractions, cafes and excuses to ride. 

The historic spa town of Buxton is worth a visit in its own right. There’s the legendary biker stop-off of Matlock Bath. While it’d be almost criminal to vist the Peaks without popping into Bakewell and buying a Bakewell Tart (or Pudding) from the Original Bakewell Pudding Shop. Whetted your appetite yet?

Le-JoG – Land’s End to John O’Groats

Famously the longest ride in Britain between two inhabited points – 800-odd miles, depending how you measure it and whether you include motorways etc – ‘LeJoG’ is a bucket list ‘must do’ not just for motorcyclists but for cyclists, walkers, classic buffs – the lot. 

Seeing as riding abroad is off the agenda now is surely the best time of all to get round to doing it. Admittedly it’s not a whimsical undertaking. Sticking to speed limits, on a suitable bike and with proper preparation still takes over 14 hours and that’s on top of the travel to get there and get home, so it’s getting on for three days minimum, with a couple of overnight stops. 

A perhaps more civilised schedule is doing it in three stages of around 200 miles plus. There are plenty of online guides, routes and recommendations to help and doing it mid-summer, if only for the long days, is obviously recommended. 

Go on – what are you waiting for?

Explore the Yorkshire Dales

Yes, Yorkshire again. But in truth it’s a county so big, so varied and with so many great biking roads it deserves being included twice. In simple terms, the Yorkshire Dales National Park is located north of Leeds and Harrogate, more centrally than the eastern North York Moors, covers a vast area and includes some of the best roads in the country. 

There’s also plenty of beauty and stop-off points worth visiting (there’s simply not space here to list them all), the famous and popular Penny Garth biker-friendly café is bang in the middle in Hawes and it’s surely worth exploring if only to trip over iconic place names such as Pateley Bridge, Grassington, Aysgarth and Nidderdale, not forgetting, of course, Appletreewick!

The North Coast 500 (NC500)

Like LeJoG, yes, this is another biggies. But given the fact we’re restricted to the UK, now is a better time than ever to get it under your biking belt – if you haven’t done already! 

Billed as the ‘ultimate road trip’, the NC500 has become something of a must-do in recent years, both among bikers and car enthusiasts. Essentially it’s a 500-mile around the coastal perimeter of the most northerly part of Scotland (hence ‘North Coast’) and includes some of the best roads anywhere. 

The sheer distance, of course, means again it shouldn’t be taken lightly but, again, there’s plenty of online advice, guides, maps, recommendations and more available – not least at www.northcoast500.com. Go on, you know you want to. You’ll be telling your grandkids about it for years…!