Whether you’re just getting into cycling or have cycled for a long time, there are always hidden roads waiting to be explored. It’s one of the best aspects of cycling, exploring new routes, climbing hew hills & finding new coffee/cake stops. Here are our Top 5 destinations which you need to check out this year.

Bealach na Bà, Scotland

This climb is not for the faint-hearted, 626m in climbing and 9.1km in length, this is one of Scotland’s hidden gems. Located in Applecross peninsula, in Wester Ross of the Scottish Highlands, the climb itself stretches around the base coming up between the two mountains offering spectacular views at the top. The climb is worth doing on its own as much as the Bealach Mor sportive which covers the pass too.

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The 5th Floor & The North Race: BEALACH NA BÀ; Supported by TRAKKE from Angus sung on Vimeo.

Bolton Abbey via Langbar, West Yorkshire

This is what I deem as a classic Yorkshire ride, a steady undulating route with quiet beautiful country lanes as well as a couple of hills thrown in for good measure. This is one of my main training/weekend routes from the centre of Leeds towards the Abbey but it never ever grows old.

Heading 5 miles out from the city centre, you’re immediately struck with the beautiful countryside Yorkshire has to offer. Out through the backroads of Otley things start undulating with a few small climbs towards Ilkley.

After Ilkley, you’re on the back roads towards Bolton Abbey, my favourite bit. Quiet lanes with limited cars, you’re guided through the valley towards the Cavendish Pavillion Cafe for a well-deserved piece of cake and coffee.

It would be a shame to miss out on one of the UK’s top climbs given the route goes straight passed it. Langbar, 20% at points, it’s not for the faint hearted but the views at the top make it well worthwhile!

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Bolton Abbey via Langbar, West Yorkshire

This is what I deem as a classic Yorkshire ride, a steady undulating route with quiet beautiful country lanes as well as a couple of hills thrown in for good measure. This is one of my main training/weekend routes from the centre of Leeds towards the Abbey but it never ever grows old.

Heading 5 miles out from the city centre, you’re immediately struck with the beautiful countryside Yorkshire has to offer. Out through the backroads of Otley things start undulating with a few small climbs towards Ilkley.

After Ilkley, you’re on the back roads towards Bolton Abbey, my favourite bit. Quiet lanes with limited cars, you’re guided through the valley towards the Cavendish Pavillion Cafe for a well-deserved piece of cake and coffee.

It would be a shame to miss out on one of the UK’s top climbs given the route goes straight passed it. Langbar, 20% at points, it’s not for the faint hearted but the views at the top make it well worthwhile!

Butter Tubs Pass, Yorkshire Dales

In the heart of the Yorkshire Dales lies one of the most difficult and challenging climbs Yorkshire has to offer. Buttertubs Pass is a 675m 5.5-mile pass with many of the sections verging between 20% & 25%. The pass is a mini version of Bealach Na Ba with less length but a bigger gradient.

Certainly one of the toughest climbs I’ve ever battled with, but again, you’re rewarded at the top with some of the most stunning views!

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Included in the Etape Du Dales Sportive – Strava GPS.

West Highland Way, Scotland

The wild card option ­ if you’re looking for something a little different, this is the adventure for you. Not your usual on road route, this exploration takes you along the West Highland Way, popular mainly with walkers, but also cyclists. This route is a small part of the West Highland way.

Starting in Tyndrum with a mix or Gravel, rocky terrain and road, this route offers aspects of all styles of riding and is easily manageable on either a Cyclo Cross bike or mountain bike with the addition of bike packing bags to help carry overnight kit. 45km towards Glen Coe, the gravel track takes you besides some of the most stunning munro’s and mountains sides.

This route is best planned over the course of two days staying in Glen Coe overnight before returning the next day.

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North Coast 500, Scotland

By now you’ll probably realise I’m a big fan of Scotland although given how much it has to offer it should be of no surprise! The North Coast 500 is a route I’m yet to explore myself but is on the cards for either 2016 or 2017.

Starting in Inverness the route is lead around the coastline of the north of Scotland taking in some of the most breathtaking scenery Scotland has to offer.

Ultra Endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont managed to complete the route within just under 38 hours but I think I’d prefer the more relaxed approach, making the most of the roads, climbs and views surrounding this beautiful part of the UK.

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