Hitting Britain’s hills and lanes can be poetry in motion for cyclists seeking the best autumn has to offer.
For, like wordsmith John Keats, it is not hard to find the majesty of the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ while on two wheels.
Along the way riders can experience welcoming country pubs and glimpse monuments to England’s militarised past – or even stumble upon a ghost or two.
Experts at 50cycles, the UK’s longest-running e-bike retailer, have compiled their six most inspiring rides to carry cyclists into winter.
Scott Snaith, founder and director of 50cycles, said: “Britain is jam-packed with exceptional, and beautiful, places to ride and never is it more stunning to be out on a bike that at this time of year.
“We have enjoyed a wonderfully warm summer and the change of the seasons is something to behold.
“Every rider has their favourite route or location, but with so many to choose from there is always somewhere new to explore.
“Autumn can throw up exhilarating weather and when that is matched by a fantastic cycling route, it can be really special.”
Autumn here we come – The Lake District
Few places capture the countryside’s seasonal change better than the postcard-perfect Lakes.
The area’s abundance of natural treasures casts a unique spell over visitors.
It’s easily arrived at by road and rail, and cyclists can choose an array of well-ridden routes.
A lush triangle of fells awaits those who set out on the back roads from the town of Kendal, which sits close to the M6 motorway.
From there they can venture 16 miles west, intent on finding the famed Lake Windermere.
The ride, which takes around two-and-a-half hours, passes by the villages of Brigsteer, Winster and Crosthwaite before the water’s edge is reached.
For rugged good looks – Northumberland
The windswept but vibrant Northumberland coast perfectly sums up the sense of impending darker evenings and shorter days.
It’s a strange but beautiful land of castles, sea and sand – and the county also boasts an abundance of terrific cycle routes.
Sticking to the coastline, the quaint village of Alnmouth – at the mouth of the river Aln – to Warkworth is a short burst of just over 10 miles.
Warkworth is dominated by the stunning sight of one of Britain’s best preserved castles, now in the hands of English Heritage.
The route is a mix of quiet lanes and off-road cycle paths and is especially good for novices intent on exploring.
For those seeking greater adventures, the same section can be incorporated into the mighty ‘coast and castle cycleway’ which stretches around 190 miles between Newcastle and Edinburgh.
Refreshment is key – Lincolnshire
At just 15 miles long the ride from Lincoln to Kirkstead Bridge may not work up a sweat for everyone, but any thirst that is summoned can easily be quenched.
It follows the River Witham from Lincoln, passing close to the village of Woodhall Spa where The Mall pub – a purveyor of fine cask ales and craft beers – awaits.
At journey’s end, a bridge that crosses the River Witham, there is the welcoming sight of the 19th century Railway Inn.
It boasts foaming pints from the Ferry Ales Brewery in nearby Fiskerton, helping the pub achieve a CAMRA LocALE certificate.
Lincoln itself is awash with hostelries to match all tastes, and there is also the highly recommended Carpenter’s Arms pub, just off route, at Fiskerton.
Don’t wake the ghosts – Kent
Some cyclists may wish to avoid Pluckley, whose name can be found in the Domesday Book, as quickly as their pedalling legs will carry them.
But the village, reputedly part of Britain’s most haunted landscape, forms part of a stunning route around a small part of the ‘Garden of England’.
Pluckley and its surrounding fields and lanes are rumoured to have as many as 16 spectres and in the 1980s it was named England’s leading ghost haunt by Guinness World Records.
For those more grounded in the real world, Pluckley – via a section of the Pilgrims Way Cycle Route – makes up part of a 19-mile roughly circular trip.
The route boasts some off-road riding, with cross country aspects and limited hill climbing.
A capital ride – London to Cambridge
For many two-wheel enthusiasts just getting out of London would be enough for this 60-mile trek to be worth its weight in gold.
But when the destination is Cambridge, one the England’s most scenic cities, the journey seems even more worthwhile.
The five-a-half-hour ride can start at London Bridge and head north through Shoreditch, snaking towards the suburb of Ilford and out past the edge of the city.
The mainly flat terrain may take some by surprise as, with the end in sight, the last section becomes hilly.
For those who don’t fancy the reverse ride home, a frequent train service departs for Kings Cross.
Wales – From coast to border
The beautiful Welsh countryside is breathtaking all year round, but few journeys on two wheels show off its autumnal splendour quite like the 113 miles from Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury.
The journey between the two well-known market towns is challenging and hard work, crossing valleys and tackling mountainous terrain, but also richly rewarding in the views it reveals.
Lon Cambria, the route across the centre of Wales to Shrewsbury, boasts quiet lanes between locations that include the towns of Llanidloes and Rhayader, both in Powys.
Points to note during a ride best sampled over three days are lanes past the Elan Reservoirs in mid Wales, and around the Wye Valley that straddles the border of England and Wales.