A ride across Cheshire and along the North Wales coast to Holyhead and back. This has to be the easiest 400 on the Calendar although the optional minor climbs of Halkyn Mountain and Sychnant Pass are well worth the effort.
We use some high quality cyclepaths. The Chester Greenway is traffic-free all the way from Mickle Trafford to Connah's Quay with a good quality surface. Then we use the coastal path from Llandulas to Rhos-on-sea instead of riding through Colwyn Bay with again a surface suitable for making Audax progress, but you will need to watch out for sand and gravel. Unbelievably the steepest climbs of the whole ride are brought to you by Sustrans!
Need somewhere to stay before or after the ride? Try the Travelodge at Adlington, or perhaps a budget hotel at nearby Manchester Airport. There is a Camping/caravan site in Higher Poynton. You will find a Youth Hostel in Central Manchester.
Some serious flirting with the A55 takes place but it's now possible to get all the way to Bangor without using the high speed dual carriageway, thanks to the 21st century cyclists bridges and Telford's 19th century road at Pen-y-ClipClip.
Bridges are a particular theme of this ride. You will encounter the Hartford Blue Bridge over the Weaver Navigation, while the Chester Greenway uses a fantastic new cyclists' bridge at Queensferry, as well as the shared railway bridge over the Dee at Hawarden. Special cyclists' facilities are in place near Saint Asaph and either side of the Pen-y-clip tunnels. And of course, you get to cycle over the historical important bridges to Anglesey, first Stevenson's Britannia Bridge then Telford's Menai Bridge. Bringing you right up to date, you will encounter the modern Dee cable-stayed bridge on the way back.
There are 24 hour eating establishments at Abergele, Chester services (M56) and Lymm services (M6) with very easy navigation for night riding.
The Church Hall will be open from midnight until 9am at the finish, so you'll have a chance for a rest before heading back home after your ride.
A chance for a nap at Chester M56 Services
An excellent traffic-free through Chester City
Centre on the Greenway