All things bike and beautiful
Published on 26 October 2017 by Veronica Cowlin
If you've been walking your little socks off during the festival activities this month, why not take a seat for a while and enjoy a splash of Suffolk...
It makes for a refreshing change. The lightest summer breeze becomes the wind in your hair - even with a helmet on - as you freewheel down Suffolk's slopes, weaving around the wool towns perhaps, or making your way around Mid-Suffolk where the tiniest lanes carve a path through sways of barley or magnificent wide Commons, all a-dance with wild flowers.
The gel saddle can be a great perch, just right for peering over walls into hidden country gardens. Not much can beat riding as high as hollyhocks through charming Chelsworth to drool over the Delphiniums. A stop at the colourful Peacock for a pint, a Pimms or the thirst-quenching crispness of a glass of Aspal apple juice is a must too: there's never much pressing when you're out on a relaxing cycle ride, just the pedals to push at your own pace, just the gentle pleasures of the next village unfurling in front of your wheels to get hot under the tee-shirt collar about.
Worth a detour
The great thing about heading out on a bike is that it's not so much of a big deal to go that extra mile. In fact sometimes that can be all part of the fun of it - exploring, detouring, combining the quietest Suffolk lanes with a little off-roading maybe.
Mapping is a good investment, lest the back road to Bildeston gets longer with every signpost, but imagine yourself amidst the medieval twists and turns of Lavenham where every tiny lane is an accessible adventure, or forging forward along the old railway track from Hadleigh towards Raydon. Pedalling off towards the Dedham Vale and southern Suffolk borderlands certainly has its ups and downs just like the rest of the Heart of Suffolk. An afternoon on the bike will soon confirm things as far from flat, but the landscapes are smooth and the journeys gentle as rural lanes join the dots between Brett and Box via the lazy River Stour.
John Constable didn't have a bike...
Well, you don't have to be a clued up historian to work that out...but he did have a horse, and the area referred to these days as 'Constable Country' tends to point to the patch he could ride out to from his East Bergholt studio with his easel strapped to his back. Easel in tow or no, Flatford Mill is still a picture and just a fantastic bit of freewheeling away from the great painter's birthplace. Nearby Dedham Parish Church boasts his famous painting, The Ascension, a true inspiration which together with a little sustenance from The Sun or Essex Rose Tea Rooms is enough to convey anyone in the saddle to the lofty (well, relatively) heights of Stoke by Nayland for more half-timbered treats and a multitude of tasty ones in town's old coaching inn, The Angel.
Refreshing all round
Liquid refreshment is a must on any bike ride or serious cycling circuit, but in the Heart of Suffolk you're never very far away from a watering hole. As well as great spots to eat and drink and farm shops to pop into to purchase that impromptu picnic, there are so many places to park up the bike and watch the waterfowl. Alongside Needham Lake and the River Gipping or Polstead's historic pond and the soothing waters of the Stour, time can stand still as the hypnotic turning of the bike pedals is replaced by the swooning beat of dragonfly wings.
Cooling breezes. Refreshing waters. New experiences at your own pace and different, pleasing perspectives. The Heart of Suffolk and gentle summer cycling adventures are just made for each other. Why not take a seat and go that extra mile?
Operating from their Needham Market base since 1991, Cycle Breaks is an independent tour organiser, offering self-guided short breaks and longer holidays around Suffolk.
All cycling breaks come complete with top quality bike and accommodation provision, luggage transfer, full route descriptions / mapping and local assistance service.
Most tours around the Heart of Suffolk start from Needham Market with a number of short break or single centre itineraries starting from certain hotels around the county. To find out more or download their brochure visit www.cyclebreaks.com
This is a guest post from our friends over at Cycle Breaks. If you have a fabulous tourism business, attraction or event in the Heart of Suffolk and would like to contribute to this blog, please contact us.