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This site is about cycling in Lincolnshire, in particular cycling in the district of West Lindsey. Below you will find out a little about the me, the author, and about the area. Click on the links to see the rides and click on the pictures to see them enlarged.

About the author

I started riding in 2012 after putting on loads of weight while studying at University. Dieting was called for, but when the weight did not come off I decided that exercise was required. I could not run to save my life and swimming or any other activity requiring a gym meant a 12 miles round journey. In the end I turned to the bike I had bought to cycle to Uni on, but never did. I started with a 6 miles circuit near the village I lived and this just got longer and longer. Within three months I was cycling 25 miles every other day and the weight flew off. As anyone who cycles knows, once you start you are hooked.

Beginning cycling northward of 50 years of age I was never ever going to be a racer, but like many people I signed up to Strava. I tried to get faster and fitter and it worked. I’m not the fastest, but I’m not the slowest and I’ll never hold a KoM.

Me, sporting the British Cycling Guided Ride Leader jersey

My rides and most of the rides on this site have been found just by pointing my bike in a direction and seeing where it goes. With the aid of a map neatly folded in my pocket I never failed to get back to where I started; it might have been a longer ride than I intended, but I have seen some lovely places. While I was exploring I started to discover that dashing around as fast as I could meant I was missing out on some fantastic views and places to visit, so I let myself slow down and take things in; stopping at the many churches West Lindsey has in its district, admiring views and taking photographs.  I still take part in local sportives and have various training routes where I try to improve my Strava segments, but what I most enjoy is getting out on my bike and sharing routes with friends and fellow cyclists.

A lot of this is done through a local cycling club, who mainly do just steady social rides to cafés in the area and chat along the way. I also lead social rides and am a Guided Ride leader with British Cycling putting rides on their Let’s Ride website, www.letsride.co.uk.

The aim of the website

The aim of this website is to guide you around some of the lovely areas West Lindsey has to offer. If all the rides are completed you would have visited all the towns and around 75% of the villages in the district. Most of the rides are between 21 – 30 miles long and for most people are easily achievable.

The information table for each ride gives an indication of length, ascent, grade, time the ride should take to complete, the start point and parking and any cafés or refreshment stops. The length of each ride is only as accurate as a GPS will let it be, although it is checked on a route plotting site. It is the same for the ascents, different bike computers will give a variety of metres ascended. I have never been on a ride yet where anyone has got the same amount of climbing, even though we have all done the same ride. The ascent in the table is taken from the route planning site as this will probably be the most accurate.

The grading is based on my experience as a ride leader and how I think someone will cope with the terrain. The ride times have been based on an average travelling speed of 12mph, so adjustments may be needed depending on your own pace. It does not take into account any stops for refreshments, visiting places or taking the opportunity to take a photograph. Although I have not visited all the places mentioned for refreshments, or I would have put on all that weight I have lost, I have been in many of them either on rides or socially.

Geography

Lincolnshire is flat and boring … not. It may not have as many hills as say Yorkshire or Shropshire, but we do have a few. Starting from the west, West Lindsey’s border follows the line of the River Trent. Following the river, the terrain is flat but to go eastwards there is a ridge to climb that runs the entire length of the district in this area. After this the land flattens out and gently undulates until you reach The Lincoln Edge, a limestone escarpment that runs from north to south through the county of Lincolnshire.

The view of the Ancholme Valley from the top of The Lincoln Edge

After this there is another fairly level area until you reach the Lincolnshire Wolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Lincolnshire Wolds dominates the north western area of West Lindsey.

West Lindsey has recently been declared as the 17th most sparsely populated area in England. This makes it ideal for cycling as there is less traffic around. Once off the major roads traffic is light and it is often easy to cycle for miles along the quiet lanes without encountering motorised vehicles. West Lindsey only has three towns, Gainsborough, Market Rasen and Caistor; all other settlements are classified as villages, although Welton and Saxilby both have populations greater than Market Rasen and Caistor. Enter the argument about what constitutes a town or village.

The Hills

The hills in Lincolnshire tend to be short and punchy, most don’t enter double figures in percentage of steepness. Most of the climbs coming up The Lincoln Edge max out between 12 -15% depending where you decide to go up. Getting into the Lincolnshire Wolds means a climb. Nettleton Hill is reputed to be the most challenging, with a large section above 10% and a kick at the end rising to 15%. This makes it the number one challenge for most local cycle clubs.

The climb from Stainton-le-Vale

Also, in Nettleton is Mansgate Hill which has an average ascent of 7% and is close to a mile long. Other hills that allow access to the  Wolds include Caistor Hill, just over a mile from bottom to top averaging 5% and Walesby Hill 0.75 miles long averaging 7%. Its nearby neighbour, Claxby Hill peaks at 15% or 16% if you take the turning to Normanby-le-Wold. There are a number of climbs coming out of Stainton-le-Vale, the steepest being the lower road leading to the Caistor High Street, that peaks at 15%.

Enjoy cycling in West Lindsey.

Martin Keen

Disclaimer: All the routes have been cycled by myself, but roads conditions can change over time I cannot therefore be held responsible for any damage done to yourself or equipment while you are riding the routes. If maintenance is needed on any the roads then alternatives need to be found. Access along the routes are correct at the time of the website being launched.  If you find any problems with any of the descriptions please contact me through the Contact page.