Cannock Chase, Midlands, UK
Being my playground and training ground for many years, also racing ground thanks to the bike course of the Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire (my closest big race to home). This place offers so much for me with it’s fluctuating gradients and incredible scenery. Having spent hundreds of hours mountain biking within Cannock’s legendary from a young age, it was nature for me to take my training to the roads of ‘the chase’. Typically you will find me here on my day off pretty damn early! I’m not one for café stops myself as I normally have a set session and timeframe to work within. However, on the rare occasion, I can escape carefree, a stop at Swinnertons café or the visitors centre is a good recommendation for either a coffee for the winter warmer or cold beverage for a summer bonk breaker (coke if it’s bad). I
t changes so much around there throughout the year with the weather and changing seasons it gives you a feeling you could be anywhere in the world let alone the middle of England. Take the Birches Valley Road and get lost in 'The Chase' you’ll love it! However, if you're heading there from the south like me do bare in mind there is quite often a headwind going home and generally up against a hill (feels like anyway). I recommend tracking the route east through to Fradley and then back through Lichfield where there is a range of pubs (just saying). From here I like to dot in and out of the country lanes in summer to zig zag my way home. For me, the fun doesn’t typically end there as I put my running shoes on then go on!
Laguna Beach, CA, USA
When I’m out in California with family, my favourite route to take is the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) all the way into Laguna Beach then into the hills of Laguna Niguel. This piece of road is stunning and takes you parallel to the coast until you decide to peel off into the hill for a while then drop down to the beach again to head south back down to San Clemente (my favourite beach town).
Café stops are endless along this route and particularly in Dana point harbour. You are never short of people to ride with on this route as there are always riders out along it. From all types of pedigree, racing professionals to retired folk who may I add are not to be mistaken for slow as they will stick to your wheel like glue If you attempt to pass them! They are the friendliest people you will ever meet and everybody there is always happy to have you ride with them if you want to tag on. The thing I like most about riding out there is you can make the ride as flat or hilly as you want. Unlike where I live where there is always undulations and traffic. There are also bike lanes on almost all major roads out there, so you feel very safe (unlike the UK) oh and of course the climate, who doesn’t love rolling around in the 28-degree heat and little wind! Riding heaven.