The Coast to Coast, otherwise known as C2C or Sea to Sea, route is a classic UK cycle route that takes you across England from one coast to another. It's a challenge ride of some 140 miles that starts on the Cumbrian Coast, winds its way across the Western and Northern parts of the Lake District and Cumbria then crosses the Northern Pennines to end in the Industrial cities of the North East, either Newcastle or Sunderland as you prefer.
Having done one classic South to North UK challenge ride, from Lands End to John O Groats when the kids were pre-school, we figured it would be neat to do another now they're old enough to power themselves. And what better than a coast to coast challenge?
Inspired by dreams of touring in Iceland we figured we needed a little training in cooler conditions so decided to take on the tour in February half term 2012. The week before we left ice and snow made road conditions extremely hazardous and left us wondering if we should call the whole thing off. But the temperature rose enough to melt the ice and make the route passable.
The C2C challenge has both on and off road options. And while I'm sure it would be a lot of fun on Mountain Bikes we decided that was probably not a great option mid winter with the ground so soggy (although as you'll see we did test out a little of the off-road sections). To add challenge to challenge we invited Cameron's to take this on as his first solo tour, riding his own bike instead of stoking on a tandem or triplet. At first I think he thought we'd be doing it on BMX Bikes but I figured that really would be one challenge too far.
Part training mission, part test-ride, part coming of age for Cameron, part family challenge and part pure family fun time, the C2C proved to be a fantastic ride. And one that is within the capabilities of most families with bikes. We rode from Workington to Sunderland in 6 days, sheduling shorter days at the beginning of the week and longer ones from the middle to the end by which time we were feeling stronger and fitter (and heading downhill!).
The C2C is a well signed and serviced route with lots of places to stop, visit and stay. And there are plenty of local companies that will rent you bikes, carry your luggage and help with booking accommodation too if you need it. It's well worth considering if you're looking for a great UK based family adventure challenge.
We produced a photo journal of the journey as we went and blogged about some of the people we met, places we visited and things we saw, so you can get a taste of what it's like to do the C2C from the links on this page.
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