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Saddle up to see unspoilt scenery

By Isle of Thanet Gazette  |  Posted: January 20, 2012

  • VIKING COASTAL TRAIL: Get on your bike and see some of the best views that Thanet has to offer

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WHETHER it's a new year resolution, breaking in new wheels, or just a lack of cash, there are many reasons to take up cycling – and Thanet is a perfect place to get pedalling.

The Viking Coast Trail provides 27 miles of mostly flat coast from Reculver to Ramsgate, which includes much shorter country routes as well as seaside trails.

Two thirds is off road, suitable for both novices and experts. Those interested in history, wildlife and geography will enjoy the six mini-routes that have special themes, including: The Six Churches (9.5 miles), The Path of St Augustine (4.5 miles) and Smugglers' Haunts (3.5 miles).

Douglas Bush is the Thanet representative for cycling tour club Right To Cycle, the local secretary of the Thanet Cycle Forum and a member of the East Kent cycle campaign Spokes. He helped to devise the Viking Coast Trail.

He said: "It is one of the best off-road cycle routes there is and is particularly suited to families or those less confident about cycling on roads. My favourite stretch is from Viking Bay to Margate harbour. There's sea views from the clifftops and countryside by the Captain Digby. It provides the best of Thanet views."

The Viking Coast Trail forms the venue for many charity cycle rides, such as Sunday's Thanet Road Runner mountain bike duathlon, which begins as a 2.4-mile road run from Minnis Bay and continues with nine miles of cycling before another run of 4.5 miles. For more information, call 01843 862554 or 07534 195518.

On October 7 the British Heart Foundation organises its annual Viking Bike Ride. Roy Bashford, from Broadstairs, who cycles about 200 miles a month, is one of the organisers. He rides all the routes as a safety test and cycles in most weathers.

He said: "Thanet is a very good area to ride in because you can cycle the coast with the sea at your side.

"My favourite stretch is from Westgate to Reculver. There is so much wildlife to see. I've cycled from Westgate to Reculver and had a swan flying alongside me for half a mile.

"You do have to get the tides right or you could end up getting wet on the promenade behind the Winter Garden though.

"People often forget that most cycle routes are well signposted. You only have to follow the blue signs."

See www.kent.gov.uk for full details and maps.

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