The whole idea behind the routes (of 200km and over) is that you get a good tailwind through the open and flat Fens. Then as you get to Thetford Forest to turn south, the wind starts to slow down and you'll have a cross wind while you are sheltered by the trees. By the time you reach Suffolk, the wind should have dropped considerably as you turn back into it but along more sheltered roads, which aren't flat but not hard going. Your average speed, in theory should peak when you cross the A10 going east, then drop all the way to the finish.
However, the weather doesn't always do what you want. With NE wind, you will probably be better off doing the routes anti-clockwise. The aim is to get a tailwind across what I call the Fenland Blowpit to give your average sped a boost without any extra effort. Then fight the wind when it is weaker and along roads that shelter you from the wind. I have comfortably and very easily held 25mph on some of those Fenland roads with a good tailwind. I've also been down to 8mph and trying very hard into headwinds in the Fens.
All routes start and finish at Trek Store in Milton Keynes who will be taking care of my 3 Raleighs for the year. This might even come in handy starting from a bike shop if you need or forget something.
SustenanceThere's also a Costa Coffee inside the Trek Store. Trek open at 9am (11 on Sundays) and are open until 8pm midweek, 6pm on Saturdays and 5pm on Sundays.
There is also a 24 hour Mc Donalds next door (you can get inside, not just drive through, which won't serve cyclists).
Also a 24 hour Starbucks nearby, which is also 24hr but drive through only after about 11-12pm.
If you want something more substantial to eat before or after a ride, there is a Wetherspoons nearby and numerous restaurants in "The Hub," all on Midsummer Boulevard as well as the shopping centre and Theatre District.
Starting or finishing from a different location in Milton Keynes will mean that you need to check with your DIY organiser whether the ride is still within distance to qualify.
Transport to the startNot being a car owner, my knowledge and advice for car parking probably won't be much help, but...
The car park at Trek has restrictions and will be locked at night, so that won't be very helpful.
For parking during a ride, I suggest finding a car park you are happy with (the train station is nearby, though parking could be expensive) or parking up in a local housing estate. Great Holm is less than a mile away via the Redways. There is a car park at Lodge Lake where people go night fishing. This could be a good choice? There is a sign on the notice board saying that the car park is for park users only, not commuters or business.
The train station is nearby, so using a train could be a better bet. You can use Midland trains without needing a cycle reservation but they won't carry non folding bikes at peak commuter times. You'll need a (free) reservation for Virgin trains.
You could always cycle. That's what I'd do.
AccommodationLots of hotels in Milton Keynes from Travelodge upwards.
There's also the YHA at Bradwell Village.
I'm not aware of any campsites nearby.
Audax UK Rides
Audax is very simply following a route of a set distance within a maximum and minimum time limit.
These routes can be used for DIY permanents as either a Mandatory GPS, Advisory GPS or just getting receipts from tills etc that show time, date and location at the controls.
For Advisory GPS verified rides, you pass through each control town (unless it's a specified location, such as a petrol garage as in Soham) but don't have to follow the exact GPS route.
For mandatory GPS verification, you must follow the exact GPS track unless there's a good reason such as roadworks or an emergency.
The rules etc. and calendar of Audax UK events are on the AUK website.
I have a set of routes from 100-600km, making up a whole SR series.
Either ride alone or as a group within the rules of Audax UK.
The SR series is suitable for all 3 types of validation. I also have some routes that will only work for mandatory GPS validation.
They're not hardcore Audax rides. I've planned them to be as easy as possible so that you can get the benefit of a SW wind through the Fens
You could always link routes together to make one long ride or even link them with other rides. Or you could split them up to make shorter rides.
Of course, you could just go and ride them for fun and not worry about Audax rules and times and do as much or as little each day as you like.
As Audax rides, they are designed to be started from Milton Keynes at the Trek Bike Store. You can start and finish at any control, but be careful you don't end up at a closed shop in the early morning. Not every control may not have 24hr facilities other than an ATM.
For each ride, there's a link to Ride with GPS for my recommended route. I have made them a bit more "touristy" by avoiding some of the main roads. You can always follow the main roads instead (unless you're riding it as a Mandatory GPS) as I would be doing most of the time. Main roads are easier to follow, so I've plotted routes along lanes for GPSes.
Please quote the relevant, "Audax DIY No." to your DIY organiser to save them from checking a route which they have already checked, unless you are mixing and matching routes to invent your own ride.
Marsh Gibbon 100km Audax DIY No. 7269
Ideal for someone getting into cycling or as a social ride. The cafe at Quainton is very nice. You might prefer to ride this route anti-clockwise so that you can do the bulk of the ride before a cuppa and cake before the last 30km back to Milton Keynes.
Bicester is halfway and there are plenty of places to eat and drink etc The main town centre is pedestrianised.
There isn't much more than a shop in Silverstone. You'll pass Silverstone race track. It gets very busy if there's a race on so I wouldn't recommend riding if there's a race on.
Milton Keynes-(Trek Bike Store has a Costa Coffee inside. Also a 24hr Mc Donalds and Starbucks nearby)
Quainton-30km-George and Dragon Pub which has a popular cyclists cafe attached
Bicester-54km-usual town centre stuff. Wetherspoons-pubs-petrol garages-supermarkets-ATMs etc
Silverstone-82km-village shop and pubs
Giraffe 200km Audax DIY No. 7271
I won't tell you why it's called, "Giraffe" You'll have to ride it to find out.
March is a nice Fenland market town with lots of cafes etc. Biggleswade as the last control. Then back through some nice parts of Bedfordshire. I've planned the route to avoid the A507 that I'd probably use because the A507 is faster, but not very nice. I also came into Milton Keynes a different way to what I'd go to avoid a right turn on a very major roundabout at J13 of the M1 as you'd most likely get there when it's busy. It's bad enough when it's quiet.
The last few miles are on Milton Keynes Redways. They are often rough and slow going but this route is more direct than roads. Use the grid roads if you prefer. They aren't much fun when they are busy. The redway route will take you through some of the old villages within Milton Keynes and is worth doing if you want to see the historical side of the town. It might add about 5 minutes to the time it takes you to finish the ride. You might even be better off timewise if there are queues of traffic on the grid roads.
Kimbolton-50km-Olivers cafe, ATMs and Budgens shop
March-104km-Cafes, ATMs and shops etc. KFC and chain pub/restaurant on the by-pass
Biggleswade-170km-Pubs, cafes, ATMs and shops etc
Fens and Forests 300km Audax DIY No. 7272
Ride through the Fens to Thetford Forest then back through the Fens to St Ives.
You should make good time with even a light tailwind to Downham Market. It's a nice ride through Thetford Forest down to Bury St Edmunds but it's not all good news. If the wind is from the west it will be slow going to get across to St Ives. Then you climb out of the Fens until you cross the A428 at Eltisley. Last control at Biggleswade then same route back as the 200 until Ampthill where you stay on the A507 to J13 of the M1. You'll probably get there after 7pm when the traffic tends to be much lighter. Also uses the grid roads instead of redways for the last few miles.
Kimbolton-50km-Olivers cafe, ATM and Budgens shop
Downham Market-130km-Morrisons supermarket (no cafe) shops, ATMs. I can recommend the Downham Cafe near the clock tower.
Bury St Edmunds-180km-Co-Op shop on the way out following the GPX. Otherwise, usual stuff you'd expect in a town.
St Ives-240km-Marsh Harrier Pub/restaurant on L by "Magdalene" If you go SO at that roundabout there's a 24hr BP/M&S garage which serves coffee. Also a Tesco opposite the garage (on your L) Or follow the route and pass another 24hr garage with a coffee machine on your R after you cross the River Ouse. Or go into St Ives for the usual town centre stuff such as cafes etc.
Biggleswade-175km-ATMs, shops etc
Suffolking (long way) 400km Audax DIY No. 7283
A ride that goes from Milton Keynes to Suffolk and back, but not the most direct route.
Hopefully a good tailwind all the way to Swaffham. By the time you get to Diss to turn into the wind, there's a good chance it will have dropped but the roads you'll follow to Sudbury will be more sheltered from the wind than the Fen roads.
Back into the Fens to Ely. Hopefully by then the wind will have dropped right down, or at least not be as strong as when you had it behind you on your ride back to Milton Keynes.
Midanglia 600km (can be ridden as 2 300s) Audax DIY No. 7281
Ramsey-82km-Cafes, shops, Tesco with garage and a Co-Op supermarket
Spalding-130km-Mc Donlads and a garage on A151 heading east. Wetherspoons, shops, cafes, a garage ATMs etc etc in town.
Downham Market-180km-Downham cafe, supermarkets, shops ATMs etc
Bury St Edmunds-235km-Shops, cafes, Wetherspoons, garages, supermarkets, ATMs etc etc
Longwater Retail Park, Norwich (NW of Norwich on the A47 by-pass, near Easton)-304km-Premier Inn with a pub restaurant which will serve food until, usualy 10pm. Otherwise, cross the A47 to go to the retail park for Sainsburys, Mc Donalds, KFC, Pizza Hut or an ATM.
Swaffham-338km-Best Western and other Hotels, Pubs, cafes and chip shops if early enough otherwise ATMs.
Not a control, but Barton Mills services/Mildenhall, instead of turning R off the A1065 into Mildenhall, go straight on to the roundabout with the A11-377km-24hr Mc Donalds, 24hr Shell garage with comfy seats, toilets and coffee machines just before the A11 or another 24hr Esso garage (also has coffee machine) on the roundabout plus a Travelodge.
Soham-390km-Garage (possibly 24hr) with an ATM (statements are free but probably charges for taking out money) on the southern end of the by-pass. Or go into town for ATMs, cafes and shops etc
Not a control, but Newmarket at 403km has a Premier Inn. Turn left at the roundabout just by the Premier Inn for a 24hr garage with seats, toilets and a coffee machine. Very little between Newmarket and Manningtree.
Manningtree-471km-Pubs, shops and ATMs. Cafe in the train station and a garage at the top of the hill on the way out.
Saffron Walden-545km-Tesco, Wetherspoons, shops, bike shops, cafes etc etc
Routes suitable only for Mandatory GPS Audax verification (or just for fun!)Kimbolton 100km Audax DIY No. 7270
Good for a social ride or your first metric century if you're not fussed about Audax validation. Passes through some nice villages with interesting architecture. The country park at Harrold would make a nice stop each way for an extra leisurely ride broken down into roughly 25km stages. Olivers cafe in Kimbolton is hidden at the back of a shop in the main high street. It sometimes has a big flag out front. There are also pubs and there's a budgens shop at the far end of the village which has a coffee machine.
ATM in Kimbolton as well as Olivers cafe and a Budgens shop with a coffee machine at the far end of the village.
Very nice cafe at Harrold Odell Country Park, which is about half way.
Kings Lynn 300 Audax DIY No. 7273
Straight up to Kings Lynn with a tailwind. There are cafes and shops in Ramsey if that's too much for one go.
This route often follows trunk roads without going on them. The roads used are often very quiet but still easy going.
A507, J13 of M1 and grid roads to finish.
Ramsey-85km-Tesco, Co-Op, shops, ATMs and cafes
West Lynn services-145km-Pub/restaurant, Mc Donalds, 24hr garage with coffee machine
Littleport, CB6 1JJ-190km-24hr BP/M&S garage with coffee machine. Turn L at roundabout for a Co-Op supermarket
Biggleswade-260km-ATMs, shops etc
Milton Keynes-310km-Trek/24hr Mc Donalds
400km from Trek Audax DIY No. 7280
Almost 100 miles of flat roads. Once you leave the road alongside the A1 you're into the Fens until just north of Newmarket. I've plotted the route to avoid the major trunk roads. You can follow those if you like. They are straight forward enough to follow.
24 hour garage at Baldock services (A1/A507) 50km from the finish has a coffee machine. The main service area with shops etc closes at about 11pm.
Whittlesey-100km-Wetherspoons, ATMs cafe, shops and a garage.
Spalding-135km-Wetherspoons, shops, cafes, garages etc
West Lynn services-170km-24hr garage and Mc Donalds. Pub Restaurant
Newmarket-245km-Wetherspoons, 24hr garage, ATMs etc etc.
Sudbury-285km-Usual town centre stuff, cafes, shops etc
Royston-350km-Wetherspoons, shops, ATMs Tesco at A1198/A505 Mc Donalds on far western side of the by-pass
Milton Keynes-416km-Trek/24hr Mc Donalds.
Handy 400. Similar to Suffolking
Needham Market (much more to chose from in Stowmrket. 24Hr services on A14/A140 if very late/early hours)-228km
Other non-Audax rides
Half the daily average distance of Tommy Godwin's annual mileage record.
The daily average distance of Tommy Godwin's 1939 annual mileage record.
This could work well for anyone wanting to ride with me for a day but have a stop for lunch and re-catch me on my way home. But no guarantees!
My route outlines
These are basic outlines of routes I anticipate to take during the year. You can use them to predict where I am going if you are trying to meet me on the road. It's much easier to wait ahead of me than chase the live tracker. But I will often change route for various reasons so you'll have to keep an eye on the tracker and stay on your toes!
WSW/SW wind 230 mile route outline
A route outline for where I might go on a typical day with a WSW or SW wind.
SSW/S wind 235 mile route outline
A route outline for where I might go on a typical day with a SSW or S wind.
Direct Northern Route.
Mainly for a very strong wind from the north or south or to use to get myself north or south to take adavantage of a forecast favourable wind.
Flat Northern Route.
Mainly for a light wind from the north or south.
A route I might take to get to and from the SW or with a S wind.
A route I might take to get to and from Norfolk.