Rebellion Way 2024

My second tour for 2024 with Andy, Jacob & André was the circular tour of Norfolk called the Rebellion Way. It is a linking together of cycle routes in Norfolk in a circular tour. The route itself can be either followed or adapted – we chose the later to fit into five days of cycling. We enjoyed the variety of the route. The quiet lanes, gently rolling countryside to test the legs & also the challenges (!) of route finding in Thetford Forest where knives on our ‘Bodicea chariot wheels’ would have helped clear the overgrown tracks!

Keeping away from main roads is the key if you adapt the route – often busy traffic routes will have cycle track provision as we found west of Norwich, so can be used. We confirmed this by using Google maps street view. There are a wide variety of accomodation options and we used hotel, mobile home and youth hostel. We travelled to start the route at Thetford and left the car at a JustPark location in a Sainsbury superstore location. Two mechanicals on the last day – puncture for André, and a break in the left support on my saddle. We were blessed with not needing our rain gear at any point.

As on other rides I used Ordnance Survey maps cut up and laminated into route cards on my bike map holder. Andy used Google maps at certain points to double check, and he also used Mapmyride to check mileages. André helped find refreshments on his phone, and also the Dominos local offers on the last night. He also featured as our resident chef on day 2!

Summary of each day ………………….

Day 1 – Car to Thetford then cycle to Swaffham – 25 miles

We left at 10am from Southampton with 4 bikes on the roof rack and after parking at Sainsbury’s Thetford (Justpark booking) we were cycling by 2pm. Warm with a moderate west wind, we used the NCN 13 to travel north out of Thetford. After about 5 miles we made our first excursion into Thetford Forest. A mixture of tracks with surfaces from compacted to loose sand so progress was slow. But we enjoyed the traffic free riding. Most difficulty was experienced by myself on the Dawes galaxy, while Andy, Jacob and André coped well on their mountain bikes. We loved the ‘big skies’…..

We couldn’t locate the right turn after Field Barn and ended up humping the bikes over 2 stiles to get back on course through a farmers field. Also located in Thetford Forest is the Desert Rats memorial complemented here with Hawaii Five O shirts ….

Then quiet country lanes to our overnight stop at The George Hotel with bike storage available in the function room & good twin rooms. 25 miles cycled over 4 hours so slow progress on this section of the route. Limited options for an evening meal so it was a £22 a head Indian meal, followed the next morning by a £9 a head cooked breakfast in the local cafe.

Day 2 – Swaffham to Heacham – 36 miles

Again quiet lanes north with some short sections on tracks of mixed surfaces including some sandy sections. This section east of Kings Lynn

Another lovely cycling day with a moderate south west wind, but with high hedges in places its effect was reduced on the sections riding into it. We chose to leave out Kings Lynn, and after a lunch top at South Wooton we passed through the Sandringham estate.

We then followed NCN1 over ‘bumpy’ terrain to our overnight at Heacham. Lovely views across The Wash as we approached. A mobile home was our overnight stop, and we self catered with resident chef André

followed by a lovely evening walk along the sea front

Day 3 – Heacham to Sherringham – 45 miles

We adapted the route to take in the RSPB site at Titchwell Marsh and leave out the Wells and West Barsham loops making it a manageable 45 miles. Along the seafront to Hunstanton

and then looping back inland via Ringstead and then to an early stop at RSPB Titchwell. We were able to walk our bikes out to the outer hide and had a good question and answer session with a local guide.

To get back on route we used the A149 to Burnham Market as traffic was light then NCNs along the ‘contoured’ north Norfolk coast hinterland. At West Beckham we turned north for a run down to our overnight youth hostel in Sherringham – recommended as a cheap and good overnight location with bike storage. A fish and chip supper it had to be and Dave’s fish and chip bar is recommended. None left for the seagulls…

Also time to relax and catch up on the Euros in the youth hostel games room…

Day 4 – Sherringham to Norwich – 40 miles

After overnight rain which stopped around 9am we left at 10 for an adapted route south. We chose a more direct route to Aylsham missing out the off road looping section south east of Sherringham and the loop to Itteringham. As it was Sunday we had praise and worship music from Andy and André on their phones. Lovely quiet lanes with occasional holdups – steam traction engine (!)…..

From Aylsham to Wroxham the route follows the Bure Valley Railway – a bit narrow and overgrown in places, but a good traffic free section.

A short main road section in Wroxham, which makes you appreciate the quiet country lanes, then onto a loop out to the Broads at Ranworth..

Then quiet country lanes to the outskirts of Norwich followed by cycle routes and back streets to our overnight at Nysdill hotel on the west side of Norwich. Good rooms with kitchenette and fridge and bike storage – recommended. A Dominos pizza was the culinary experience tonight, plus a visit to St. Thomas for their evening worship service. Also included was a listen in to the adjacent big band open air concert in the adjacent Plantation Garden from our bedroom window.

Day 5 – Norwich to Thetford – 35 miles

We omitted the section to Diss and went for a more direct route back to Thetford. Of the Google maps offerings we went for the slightly longer quieter route a bit more to the south. Weather dry, but with a light/moderate west head wind for most of the day.

We left the city on the B1108 with some cycle track provision, then past the university and hospital to a link road to take us to the B1172 with Dutch level of cycle provision – machine laid tarmac/separate from road/vegetation cut/well kept (we met a path/cycle track sweeping machine!) – well done Norwich!

At Wymondham our first mechanical – a puncture for André (note to self – make sure the replacement tube is the right one and the adhesive hasn’t evaporated from the tube!!). Luckily Andy had a good tube of tyre glue!

followed shortly after by a crack noise from Mikes left saddle bar support – I called it the Domino affect (ref last nights culinary choice!). The bike was still rideable for the remaining 20 miles although if involved more out of the seat pedaling to preserve the right hand side saddle bar!

A short lunch break at East Harling then onto Thetford with a short NCN section into the town centre then back to the car. A good car journey back and home by 6:15pm – thanks Andy

July 2024