The off road coast to coast from St. Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood's Bay in North Yokshire was the first truly long distance touring ride that we had done. To be precise it was the second, as Karen and I had completed the Coast to Coast on our own in 1996, but we hadn't properly documented it. Then we rode on our Marin Bear Valley hard tails, carrying the minimum of gear in a saddle bag and a Trek back pack each, staying in B&Bs and hostels.
After months of pestering by our good friends Phil and Krystyna, we consented to do the Coast to Coast again, only this time we made the ride on our brand new Giant xtc920 full suspension bikes (nearest current equivalent being the Anthem xo) and rather than carry back packs we purchased the Topeak MTX EXP Trunk Bag - Black
Three other friends joined us. Mike for the whole ride, John 1 for the early section and John 2 for the latter section. Again, we rode without any support and stayed in B&Bs.
First time around we used Tim Woodcock's excellent guide The Coast-to-coast Ride: 210 Miles of Challenging Riding from the West Coast of Cumbria to Robin Hood's Bay (Wheelwright's Mountain Bike Route Guides). As with any guide, rights of way change and maps get out of date. There were a few times where the route explanation didn't quite match reality and we had to back track a few times, but it made for interesting riding. This version is now no longer in print, but I note that Tim has produced a newer version called The Coast-to-coast Mountain Bike Route Pack (Mountain bike route companion packs) If it is anything like his original version it is a worthwhile purchase.
Now just a note of caution here. This coast to coast route should not be confused with the much easier C to C route. The latter is largely on tracks and road. It is considerably shorter and can easily be achieved in a two or three days.
The mountain bike coast to coast route takes six or seven days and sections of it are over pretty testing terrain demanding a reasonable level of fitness. Certain sections required us to carry our bikes up steep moorland. Daily distances therefore tend to be substantially shorter than that which can be achieved on road.
The guide book promises "210 miles of challenging riding from the west coast of Cumbria to Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire," although we clocked it at 230 miles, probably due to a few detours.
I am not going to reproduce Tim's guide here. Copyright wouldn't allow it and besides why reproduce the wheel. However I'll give you an idea of how we got on.
Our ride descriptions give an account of the ride that we completed. As
part of the description we also provide links to google maps and
elevation profiles based on mapping data available through the internet.
The ride profiles are smoothed to give what in our opinion is a more
beneficial view of the profile. We use paper maps, GPS and on line data
to plan and conduct our rides. We are happy for you to use our
descriptions, but be aware that we do not guarantee the accuracy of the
information provided as situations surrounding any ride change over