Liv Ambassador, Laura Kennington believes that cycling is an enviromentally friendly and near perfect way to explore the world. You go slowly enough to appreciate the views and take it all in, whilst also making enough progress to feel satisfied at the end of the day.
"Unlike motorised travel options, you feel every twist and turn of the landscape - you sweat and toil to the summit of every hill, you delight in the reward of every effortless downhill. Arriving somewhere under your own steam provides a unique sense of achievement - when you reach your final destination, there’s a feeling of having really earned it. Everything that surrounds the effort becomes heightened, too - the hot cup of tea after a day battling the elements is more comforting, the shower that washes off the grime of the day feels more luxurious and the dinner you devour after a day of burning thousands of calories always tastes extra delicious. Cycling has taught me to appreciate it all, much more than we ever do in everyday life.
If you’re also wanting to explore by pedal power, here are 4 of my favourite routes/places!
Norway could well be the most beautiful place I’ve ever been with my bike yet...Which is just as well really because I cycled there all the way from the Shetland Islands in Scotland! The route I undertook is known as the North Sea Cycle Route (Eurovelo 12) and, as the name would suggest, it travels all along the coast of the North Sea. It’s 3700 miles in total and travels through the East coast of the UK before then passing through France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and then finishes in Bergen, Norway. A long challenge, but a beautiful one! Denmark and Sweden were also wonderful and they also come highly recommended!
In particular, the Wild Atlantic Way - the world’s longest coastal route! This route in particular holds a very special place in my heart as it was the first bike adventure I ever undertook! The Wild Atlantic Way is 1600 miles long and hugs the outrageously beautiful coast of West Ireland. Years later, this adventure is still one of my favourites and I cannot recommend it enough - incredible scenes around every corner!
In a hurry? You can squeeze this mini adventure into a weekend! Leaving London (I was coming from near Tower Bridge) at around 5pm you cycle to Newhaven to get the overnight ferry, which leaves at 11pm from Newhaven and arrives into Dieppe. It’s a very short ferry (4 hours!) and you’ll dock in France at 4am. From there you can cover the remaining mileage to Paris. Admittedly, you won’t get much sleep but it does feel fun to go from one capital city to another within 24 hours and those early morning hours as the world wakes up in rural France are gorgeous (assuming the weather behaves, of course!). You’ll also get to enjoy some extra fresh patisseries when the bakeries open on your way through to Paris. If you’re travelling back by Eurostar, don’t forget to book your bike place in advance!
4. The Netherlands
If you’re looking for a more relaxed city break then this could be a great choice. Heading out from London again, I rode to Harwich and then opted to get an overnight ferry once more to the Hook of Holland. However, this ferry is longer than the one mentioned above to Dieppe so thankfully you arrive much less sleep deprived! From the Hook of Holland it’s a short ride to Rotterdam or you could pedal a bit further and head to Amsterdam. Either way, the Netherlands are lovely and arguably worth a visit with your bike for the phenomenal cycle infrastructure alone!"
Laura Kennington is a British adventure athlete, author and speaker with a passion for the endurance capability of the human body. A strong believer in the positive impact that adventure and sport can have on children and adults alike, Laura uses her human powered journeys as a platform to inspire and encourage others to get outside.