Torridon view at the back feature

Do you know you want to achieve something epic on your bike this year – but don’t know what exactly?

Want to ride a route you'll remember forever, but not sure where to find it?

We've rounded up some of the most stunning routes in the UK - from the technically demanding, to the mountainous, to the just-downright-long - all of these will present unique challenges well worth adding to your to-ride list...

view marin trail

One of the good old original MTB trails, this 16 mile route was slaying riders before the dragons even knew they existed (or something like that - we got excited...).

Big climbs, big descents, and brilliant singletrack - you can expect it all, interwoven with stunning scenery, including views of Snowdonia.

Technical challenges are aplenty - with lots of tight and rocky sections, but there are some fast and flowing portions to give your brain a break amongst the forests.

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the gap brecon beacons

This 23.6 mile red route trail in Wales takes in the Brecon Canal, the Taff Trail, the Brinore Tramway and the Gap Road.

This is a classic, tough ride, but does take you 600m above sea level to open and windswept terrain, so be wary in bad weather and make sure you take provisions for a long day in the saddle.

The terrain includes some less technical grassy sections, to give you a breather, but there are plenty of rocky portions, with a ravine crossing half way up the Gap road and some rock steps once you reach it.

The descent from the top of the Brinmore Tramway to the bottom of the valley is a tricky one, and there is a river at the bottom that will make for a fun crossing - though in high waters you are advised to opt for a short cut along the Taff Trail.

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This natural circuit is a proper epic of a wilderness adventure that spans just under 30 miles passing through forests and rocky trails.

There are some steady climbs, and some less so steady - where you'll expect to walk up vertical sections, but the descents should make the slog more than worthwhile.

Towards the end you'll enjoy some refreshing natural singletrack, and there's a pub at the bottom for an even more refreshing beverage.

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isle of man

This 46 mile trail begins at the very Northern top of the Isle of Man, and finishes at the most Southern point.

The terrain varies from fast fire roads to moorland paths, forest single track and the off country lane, accumulating an more than respectable 4,921 feet of climbing, which will certainly test you and your legs.

The best of the best finish this trail in around three hours - but most take between four and six thanks to the challenging terrain.

If you fancy a real challenge, there is an End 2 End race over the route in September...

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Cleavland Way Yorkshire

A natural 110 mile trail along the North Yorkshire Coast, over the Cleveland hills, this is a ride that promises beauty.

There are some footpath sections where you cannot ride, but plenty of stretches are open for cyclists and you can plan a route here or follow a route such as this 35 mile long loop.

The loop covers 4,100 feet of climbing and promises to be a challenging day out, covering mainly gravel tracks, with some more technical sections and singeltrack.

Drumnadrochit to Tyndrum

This is a 99 mile route, covering just over 7,500 feet of climbing - it's often ridden as a two day trip and will probably be more enjoyable that way!

The first half is mainly based along the Great Glen Way. There are plenty of climbs to start you off, before some flatter rolling along the Lochs into Fort William - the riding isn't overly technical, but distance and climbing should make for plenty of challenge.

The second half moves onto the West Highland Way, where the route becomes more demanding as well made paths become natural trails - and you'll even take on an ascent of the Devil's Staircase!

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There are many ways you can ride from coast to coast in the UK, but this 138 mile route between the Irish & North Sea is one of the most popular.

The ride covers off-road tracks, minor roads and cycle paths, following the National Cycle Network routes 7, 14 and 71, from Whitehaven or Workingham, to Newcastle or Sunderland.

Much of the route - 78 miles, in fact - is traffic free, and you'll pass through the northern Lake District, climb the Pennines, and descend to the paths of County Durham.

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transcambrianway2

The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Trans Cambrian Way covers 100 miles from the English border to the Irish Sea, covering the remote hills and moorlands of central Wales.

The route uses moorland tracks and trails, and encompasses challenging climbs, accumulating 12,000 ft, tricky descents, and a few ford crossings. This journey is remote and exposed - making for beautiful but challenging riding.

It is recommended that you complete the route over two or three days, and full GPX files can be downloaded to help you navigate your way, along with a guide that provides info on where to stay and eat.

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sdw

Stretching from Winchester in the West, to Eastbourne, the South Downs Way is a 100 mile route - and it's the only bridleway to lie entirely in a National Park.

Passing over chalky cliffs in Sussex and exploring some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK, the ride also accumulates just under 12,000 ft of climbing - so it's no easy venture, either.

The trails are shared with walkers, horse riders, sheep and cows - so you'll need to take it steady as you pass others enjoying the landscape.

You can find out more and plan your route with help from the National Trail website.

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If the last few pages haven't inspired you enough - then you must be looking for a serious epic - and we know just the thing...

Riding the length of the country has long been an inspiring challenge, and every year riders pose by the signs either end having covered the hundreds of miles between the two.

The traditional road route from Cornwall to the very tip of Scotland is 874 miles long, but those who like to explore the rough terrain off-road are treated to extra distance, totalling 1,200 miles (which you can, of course, add to if you wish).

The route can take as long as you want it too – or, rather, as long as you can afford to take off work in one go – but it’s a beautiful adventure that could well change your life. At the very least, it will certainly provide you with the confidence to inspire further challenges.

There are many resources to help you plan your route - this pack from the CTC is a good place to start.

We wrote about Julia Hobson, who rode an off-road LEGOJ to kick off her year of adventure following the sudden death of her husband - read more here.

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