Phone contactJohn Sutcliffe: 0788 773 1552


Road Cycling in the Lake District

I am a 67 grandmother, holidaying in the Lake District with my 2 sons and their families, and the “lads” treated me to a day out cycling with them, booking with John. I am an electric bike fan, but the lads booked ordinary bikes for themselves. John took an executive decision and issued the 3 of us with electrics - the lads were soon converted! John has a shed full of bikes of all sorts - ours were fat tyre off roaders - all were in extremely good condition and clean - not always the case when I have rented elsewhere in the world! I had asked for off-road riding, with as little on-road as possible, and John obliged - we had a wonderful day out, challenging for me - thrilling for my sons! John was the best of guides - always watching how we were doing, keeping us challenged but safe, proactively explaining what the stretch ahead might contain, especially when on-road, stopping from time to time along the way to explain local points of interest. I can thoroughly recommend John as a guide for cyclists of any age and ability. You will not only enjoy your day of cycling but come away with a deeper understanding of the history and people of the Lake District. Thank you John.

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Just wanted to mail to say thank you for Saturday - Dad & I both had a fantastic day!! It was a great experience and thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you for helping me to give my dad a truly memorable Father's Day. We have said we would like to come back and do more routes with you & have both began recommending you to our friends and family. The knowledge you shared with us & extra things you do which where above & beyond really made the day perfect :-).

Thank you again for a great day & I look forward to seeing you again!


It takes a truly engaging route that made for an enjoyable ride even in the conditions the Lakes decided to throw at me on my hire day. Fortunately John is a seasoned cyclist in the area and quickly pointed out the inadequacies of my kit and loaned me some leg warmers which proved indispensable. John also spent a good while explaining the route and providing a Garmin to guide me so relatively little time was spent stopped by the roadside getting cold. I had the wind and rain behind me for the first 8 or so miles skirting Coniston and made good progress. The climb up Hawkshead Hill was enough to steam my glasses up and I managed to resist the temptation to stop for a cuppa in the Drunken Duck. From there down to Langdale before taking a photo of the obligatory 30% warning side ahead of Wrynose Pass.

I'd ridden the pass before but without the 25mph headwind! It was treacherous at times but the lightweight and low gearing of the Trek Project One hire bike got me over the top. Time to admire the views - ok rain clouds - gulp a gel and then onwards through the valley floor.On a dry day without a headwind this section would have been a real highlight, undulating and technical enough to keep your interest but still make good progress. From Broughton I took the alternative route John suggested and turned for Torver. I was expecting this to be flat, but flat in the Lake district is a relative term! Final turn back towards to Lowick and an extremely welcome warm shower and hot cup of tea. It was a 45 mile ride by the Garmin but felt like twice that - a challenging day but one I'll be back to repeat, rain or shine.

D Pearce

I was looking for something a little more challenging than a leisurely guided tour. After a bit of Googling, I thought it would be a shame to visit this area and not take on either Wrynose or Hardknott pass. I emailed John and explained what I'd like to do and he was extremely helpful. I brought all my own gear, although John can supply bikes also, and met up with Graham for an early start. Graham is an experienced roadie so it was nice to be able to tip along at over 30kph on the flat. The route we took in was recently voted 'Britains best ride' and it didn't disappoint. The roads were almost traffic free and the scenery was as good as you could find anywhere. There were plenty of challenging hills but nothing could prepare you for the steepness of Wrynose. There were a good few cyclists out that morning with a lot of them walking up the final steeper section. Graham was a great guide, and always let you know what sort of road lay ahead such as a steep fast descent, or a dangerous corner. This experience and local knowledge was invaluable. I could never have completed this route on my own with just a printed map, or mapmyride guide, as I would either have gotten lost or thought I was lost.


We did not know what to expect on the "Lakes and Dales Tour" as we booked via email from the States. John met us at Oxenholme Station and took us to his home which was to be our base for 4 nights. The bikes were superb road bikes which John fitted to our size, one a titanium men's bike and the other a ladies carbon bike. Wow, after riding mountain bikes on the road these bikes are really fast and comfy on the road.

We had 3 days touring with John in the South Lake District before setting out for 3 days in the Yorkshire Dales, self guided from supplied instructions and maps. It rained, the sun shone, we went up hills and down Dales, what terrific scenery everywhere.

The itinerary John had planned was perfect - not too hard and not too easy for a couple of relatively unfit Americans. We had dinner on farms and ate their home grown lamb, we ate out in the local pubs, and our bags were transported from place to place. Finally John came to collect us and our bags and we had a final ride and a calm sunny afternoon, around Coniston Water. What a perfect way to end a splendid weeks cycling in the Lakes.

Mr & Mrs G, USA

I wanted to get to know Southern Lakeland a lot better from a cycling perspective and decided to do a mix of guided and solo rides during my week’s stay. I got in touch with John at and discussed what I was looking for and ended up going for three guided tours covering each of the three South Lakeland peninsula’s – Cartmel, Furness and Millom. These all proved to be excellent rides in quite varied and not-often visited South Lakeland countryside – all starting and finishing from John’s base in Lowick. John provided a fascinating insight into the rich and sometimes surprising history of this diverse area, and I would thoroughly recommend John as a guide if you fancied doing something different!

I also managed to squeeze a few rides in on my own account and could not resist ‘Britain’s best ride’, which I did from Ambleside. I did the ride on a dry and sunny September day and the ride certainly lived up to its billing. I have attached the route as a Garmin course for anyone interested.

David Payne, Boxford Bike Club, Suffolk

My son and I enjoyed a fantastic guided ride this week with John. We experience quiet roads that we would never have found on our own. We passed lakes mountains the seaside and a 12th century abbey all within the 54 mile round trip. John explained the history and the geography of all the sites we were enjoying, and the watering holes for morning coffee and lunch were great. We brought our own bikes that were put to shame against the wonderful selection of titanium and carbon road bikes that John offers for hire. We live in North Manchester so we can get to the Lake District in under two hours, so it is our intention to return as soon as possible to continue to explore the South Lakes with John's guidance.

David Samuels

Much of my social life revolves around cycling, so when I managed to dislocate my collarbone one week prior to doing the Lakes and Dales loop with friends I was pretty gutted. The bone has partially settled (when I pulled my gloves off) and begun to settle but the consultant’s response when I said “So I won’t be cycling 190 miles at the weekend” was pretty clear.

I didn’t want to pull out so did an internet search and came up with John’s contact number at Lake District Bikes. I gave him a quick call to explain my shoulder problem, I knew I could not ride putting pressure through my arm and shoulder – so certainly could not ride uphill, but also I needed a more upright position so my arm was not hanging forward too much. So he showed me the Scott Varty which I tried and felt I could manage with. After John’s help lifting it onto my bike rack off I went. I was quite pleased also with the rack pack / pannier bag which came with the bike – as I would not have been able to pack my own tiny touring bags, the single bag and drop down pannier pockets were ideal for me with my injury. John also gave me the RRA BIM spray for tendons and ligaments – I used it consistently and think it really helped my shoulder recover.

I tried the bike on a short social ride of about 10 miles on the Tuesday evening, felt confident I could at least ride it. I looked up online and found out how to put kinesiology tape on clavicle injuries for support, got my hubby to get this all sorted. I set off on the Friday morning to join my three friends. I quickly adapted to the power settings, being able to pedal the bike myself at 10mph plus – but anything requiring more effort I was using the “eco” setting. We adapted the route to depart and finish from Kendal (where we live) – so cycled up to Sedbergh to join the route there to head up through the Howgills.

We really enjoyed the Dales and Eden section of the route, we had the joy of hundreds of orchids on the roadside between Greenholme and Scout Green (West of Tebay/ Orton section) and again many different varieties as we ascended past Sunbiggin Tarm. I recharged the battery at coffee stop and lunch stops, but still have over 60% left when we arrived at the Black Swan in Culgaith (a couple of miles off the route south of Skirwith – lovely pub, good food and comfortable), for our first night. The trip was about 55 miles, and I mainly used “eco” setting – played a bit with the other two, but didn’t really need the higher settings and was able to keep pace with my friends well.

Day 2 – from Culgaith onto Lorton (we stayed at Swinside End Farm in Scales just above High Lorton – lovely B & B amazing gardens – and ate at the Wheatsheaf in Lorton – great food but you need to book at weekends). A bit more ascent but again around 55 miles, again I recharged at coffee and lunch, but battery power lasted well and I was over 60% when we arrived at the B & B. I had begun with a slightly annoying chain slipping after lunch, which I kept trying to adjust – I even range John and the bike supplier – but still could not resolve it. It had begun to rain lightly as we descended down Isel Road into Cockermouth and we saw the bike shop there – so I stopped and asked if they could help diagnose the problem – and found it was a stuck chain link. This was replaced quickly by wonderfully helpful bike technician and I was really happy to go on without the irritation (it didn’t stop my cycling, just kept making a noise as the gears didn’t quite mesh right). (my friends were also relived as it was an irritation to them as well!)

Day 3 we rode from Lorton to Broughton – a lot of hill climbing this day – and I did appreciate my battery power! I used a higher setting for the steeper hills, but did have to avoid just zooming off into the distance with my friends pedalling uphill behind me. We stayed at the Manor Arms with comfortable beds and ate at the Kings Arms. Our ride back on the final day began with a wealth of wonderful hills out of Broughton, eventually ending up in Cartmel and descending to Grange for our flat run back round the coast to Kendal. The weather stayed good to us for Cumbria and wasn’t too hot for cycling. The ebike was ideal for my situation – my shoulder actually improved over the four days, although I was definitely tired each night and my shoulder did ache on day 3 and 4 in the morning – so had to take a couple of painkillers in the morning.

I would not have been able to do the ride on my own bikes, and the option worked well with my friends, it would have been possible to get a faster pace had I needed to, or do longer each day – but would have needed to keep an eye on the battery, as I had no intention of running out of power on the trip!

Happy pedalling to everyone – and if you’re thinking of doing the Lakes and Dales loop on an ebike – my verdict is “yes, do it!”


Thanks for a terrific week. The sights were tremendous, the routes well chosen and the itinerary challenging but flexible. We especially appreciated your knowledge of the area, the history and the architecture. Experiencing a bit of farm life first hand was an added bonus.

Terry, USA

My son and I hired bikes and wanted a days tour. John sorted us out, and rented my son his top of the range Titanium bike. This tour could be very expensive for me as my son loved the bike with top of the range Durace gears.

John was a great guide and regularly stopped to tell us about the place and its history which made it all so very worth while, and enjoyable. Lunch in the cafe overlooking Morecambe Bay was most welcome. A great day to remember.

John, Hants

Useful Links

Useful contacts to plan your route.....
Check online for lots more

Lakeland camping barns:

High Thorn Farm - camping:

Ullswater Holiday Park - camping:

Backpackers hostel:

Thorney How - independent hostel

Tourist information centres (TIC)



Self Catering Holiday Accommodation in the Lake District

Coal Yeat Holiday Cottages

Characterful Lake District holiday cottages offer self catering accommodation in a rural location with stunning views

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