Author Topic: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !  (Read 784 times)

meddyg

  • 'You'll have had your tea?'
Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« on: 24 April, 2021, 10:29:32 pm »

- actually it’s St.David’s to Lowestoft with 2 Pembrokeshire friends.
So we kinda know how to get out of Wales…
St Clear’s, Llandeilo, Brecon, Hereford, Tewkesbury, Evesham, Bicester.
Then route NCN 51 to Bedford. Most of that is booked for mid June.

Almost all Premier Inns so far.
So I chose Diss as last nite before Lowestoft as chain hotels peter out- and a bit of a treat, after Happy Eater
and Toby Inn fare all the way.

Is it more interesting to swing up to Ely (Travel Lodge) and across to Diss
or East via Newmarket (bleak central Premier Inn again) , Bury St Edmunds to get to Diss ?

Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #1 on: 24 April, 2021, 10:52:26 pm »
Oooh keep me informed, may be able to join you for a day ride some of the way after Bedford. I have a feeling that there is a thread buried away somewhere that replicates this journey.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #2 on: 24 April, 2021, 11:05:20 pm »
Cambridge to Lowestoft is an easy days ride. No need to stop at Diss. Do not go via Ely, it will be a massive diversion into bland fenland roads.

MsG

  • No hills in Fenland but lots of wind
Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #3 on: 24 April, 2021, 11:11:22 pm »
It depends on what you're looking for in a route really. Hills vs wind. Smooth vs grippy tarmac. Quiet or busy roads? Any off road?
Newmarket way is hillier (relative).
Yes there is a lack of hills Ely way but there are routes through to Diss that include forest and picturesque villages.

Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #4 on: 25 April, 2021, 06:42:07 am »
You are probably aware but NCN51 can be a bit “off roady” and you are better on nearby roads between Winslow and Bletchley.

robgul

  • Cycle:End-to-End webmaster
  • cyclist, Cytech accredited mechanic & woodworker
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Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #5 on: 25 April, 2021, 08:11:27 am »
We rode from St David's to Lowestoft back in about 2006.   Stops were at Fishguard (we didn't start from St David's until mid-pm having spent the morning getting there by trains and bus from home), Llandovery, Hereford, Stratford-upon-Avon (at home overnight), Wellingborough, Ely, Harleston - reaching Lowestoft at lunchtime to then get trains back home via Birmingham.

The whole ride was on-road - we did look at a few NCN sections but decided not to use them.  Total distance was 405 miles according to the planned route, IIRC we did an actual 420 miles.  Crossing the fens was a bit boring and windswept but the rest, especially Wales to Stratford was great - Lowestoft, as always, was a disappointment!

Somewhere I have the itinerary listing the towns and villages along the route.

[The whole thing is also a on my  www.cycle-endtoend.org.uk website - as the Side-to-Side]
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fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #6 on: 25 April, 2021, 05:42:45 pm »
Forget Ely unless you have a yearning for the Cathedral (which is lovely). Newmarket & Bury are nicer riding. 'Hills' is relative, but North of the A14 is generally flatter than south of it. If I were riding Cambridge to 'toft, given I used to live in BSE while Mr Smith lived in Diss, I'd go Something like this.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #7 on: 25 April, 2021, 06:47:11 pm »
I'd suggest going south of Bury to Hawstead Green for a stop at the Maglia Rosso CycleShop and Cafe.  Then start heading more directly for Lowestoft (why there and not Southwold?)

robgul

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  • cyclist, Cytech accredited mechanic & woodworker
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Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #8 on: 25 April, 2021, 07:03:27 pm »
I'd suggest going south of Bury to Hawstead Green for a stop at the Maglia Rosso CycleShop and Cafe.  Then start heading more directly for Lowestoft (why there and not Southwold?)

.... presumably as Lowestoft is the furthest point eastwards in the UK - as St David's is furthest west in Wales - IIRC Ardnurmurchan is the furthest west on the UK mainland
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Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #9 on: 25 April, 2021, 07:19:59 pm »
Don’t take the Bedford road from Bedford to Sandy.  It’s a busy shortcut between the A1 and A421 to Milton Keynes. If aiming for Cambridge I’d go via Great Barford, Everton, Gamlingay, Longstowe , Comberton etc. There’s a 14% hill in there but nothing to worry about.


Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #10 on: 25 April, 2021, 08:21:28 pm »
If you haven't been to the Fens it might be worth swinging north just for the experience. But I wouldn't choose it for interest, it is an empty landscape and there is basically nothing there. Though, as has been pointed out upthread, Ely cathedral is lovely. Of the two options, I would choose the southern route (but I have been to these places before).

However if you change your midpoint from Diss, then even more interesting options are possible. If, for example, you were to stop at Stowmarket (which would be about the same distance), then I would go Cambridge - Clare - Lavenhem - Stowmarket - Debenham - Halesworth - Lowestoft, which would be a much prettier and more interesting route. It must be said that Stowmarket isn't very exciting, but then neither is Diss. If you want a nice town to stop in then I would choose Bury, but this might throw your distances out.

meddyg

  • 'You'll have had your tea?'
Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #11 on: 25 April, 2021, 08:45:27 pm »
Quote
Don’t take the Bedford road from Bedford to Sandy.  It’s a busy shortcut between the A1 and A421 to Milton Keynes. If aiming for Cambridge I’d go via Great Barford, Everton, Gamlingay, Longstowe , Comberton etc. There’s a 14% hill in there but nothing to worry about.
- yes, thanks !

I have the 'Square Wheels' route* (and have done that before) but my companions haven't !

*https://www.squarewheels.org.uk/bike/routeCamOx/

Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #12 on: 25 April, 2021, 11:58:27 pm »
Don’t take the Bedford road from Bedford to Sandy.  It’s a busy shortcut between the A1 and A421 to Milton Keynes. If aiming for Cambridge I’d go via Great Barford, Everton, Gamlingay, Longstowe , Comberton etc. There’s a 14% hill in there but nothing to worry about.
The old railway from Bedford to Sandy wasn't bad the last time I did it (on a road bike).

arabella

  • no se porque yo no lo se
Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #13 on: 02 May, 2021, 10:30:24 pm »
Probably worth pointing out that some people (me) like the fens.
but tbh I'd go with boab's route though possibly using the Pulhams (minimal navigation as it's the B-something-or-other, or it used to be when I fist cycled it.)
In the dark, all views are the same.

Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #14 on: 02 May, 2021, 10:44:35 pm »
Don’t take the Bedford road from Bedford to Sandy.  It’s a busy shortcut between the A1 and A421 to Milton Keynes. If aiming for Cambridge I’d go via Great Barford, Everton, Gamlingay, Longstowe , Comberton etc. There’s a 14% hill in there but nothing to worry about.
The old railway from Bedford to Sandy wasn't bad the last time I did it (on a road bike).

Personally I would take the old train line and avoid the Everton hill, particularly if you are fully loaded, its just not necessary. Its also a pity that there is a lot of housing development taking place along what were until very recently, bucolic country lanes. Cockayne Hatley*  has a bit of a sharp hill should you go that way but thereafter tends to be rolling country with the odd hill.

* ("Wendy" of Peter Pan fame is buried in the churchyard)
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

RichForrest

  • T'is I, Silverback.
Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #15 on: 03 May, 2021, 09:07:07 am »
You are probably aware but NCN51 can be a bit “off roady” and you are better on nearby roads between Winslow and Bletchley.

Also a lot of railway work going on between Bicester and Bletchley at the minute.
Route 51 was shut at Weasel Lane when I last went that way, meaning a detour via Mursley or the A421 to Bletchley. I used to cycle the A421 but wouldn't so much these days as it's a fast, busy and narrow road.

My route from Bicester to Cambridge would be via Marsh Gibbon, Winslow, Stoke Hammond, the Brickhills, Woburn, Steppingley, Maulden, Haynes, Northill, Sandy and Gamlingay.
That route was used for the Ox-Cam charity rides for years and was my preferred audax route out of Bletchley when I lived there.

Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #16 on: 03 May, 2021, 01:07:11 pm »
You are probably aware but NCN51 can be a bit “off roady” and you are better on nearby roads between Winslow and Bletchley.

Also a lot of railway work going on between Bicester and Bletchley at the minute.
Route 51 was shut at Weasel Lane when I last went that way, meaning a detour via Mursley or the A421 to Bletchley. I used to cycle the A421 but wouldn't so much these days as it's a fast, busy and narrow road.

My route from Bicester to Cambridge would be via Marsh Gibbon, Winslow, Stoke Hammond, the Brickhills, Woburn, Steppingley, Maulden, Haynes, Northill, Sandy and Gamlingay.
That route was used for the Ox-Cam charity rides for years and was my preferred audax route out of Bletchley when I lived there.
A421 is indeed horrendous. From Winslow I go swanbourne, stewkley, soulbury. I live near Woburn.

Re: Cambridge to Lowestoft via Diss - tips please !
« Reply #17 on: 04 May, 2021, 11:29:22 am »
I would be inclined to follow one of the Cambridge audax routes e.g. https://www.camaudax.uk/rides/cambridge-suffolk-eyefull-200/ (gets you close) or https://www.camaudax.uk/rides/cambridge-dissd-clare-200/

They tend to be small roads/lanes and typically pretty quiet.

Diss to lowestoft is probably a bit more tricky. I'd totally avoid the A143 - it's very busy. You should be able to skirt along the south side of the Waveney pretty much the whole way. Diss to Stuston is OK, then there's a road that's closed to cars but open to bikes (old bury road) that gets you across from Stuston to the A140 and across to Hoxne (B1118). From there it's roughly Brockdish, Mendham, Homersfield, Beccles, Mutford and into the south end of Lowestoft through Pakefield which is all doable on quiet country lanes.