Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 43 total)
  • Suffolk – is it really that flat?
  • mjsmke
    Full Member

    Planning on moving in the next year or two and looking at Suffolk as one option. Originally looking at Sussex which I know reasonable well.

    Is Suffolk all flat and boring for cycling or is it OK? I’ve read Thetford forrest is good for short rides.

    Klunk
    Free Member

    yes but not as flat as Norfolk 😉

    though there’s some lovely coastal gravel riding to be found and one or two forest trails, i usually go for the beer 🙂

    ready
    Full Member

    Yes.

    There are a few spots that are fun to ride (Twisted Oaks, Phoenix, Tunstall) but for any proper riding you’re looking at least a 2hour drive.
    eg:
    Peaslake = 2.5hrs
    Castleton = 4hrs
    Forest of Dean = 4hrs

    If I could move I would!

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Well, put it this way, the highest point in Suffolk is 128m above sea level.

    Great Wood Hill
    https://maps.app.goo.gl/kRgKFohE7BaTPR7B6

    Never been to Thetford but it has a nosebleed inducing 50m highest elevation.

    bigginge
    Full Member

    As above. It’s a lot better than the fens but will likely disappoint if you currently live/ride anywhere with hills/mountains.

    Thetford is a decent enough family ride out, or a XC style blast, but if you want to enjoy any sort of gravity assisted riding that lasts for more than a minute at a time you’ll likely need to get in the car and travel for a few hours. This is the place I end up riding the most and it has just enough to keep me going back but if there were anything else in reasonable driving range I’d happily drop it and move on. You also have the viking trail and hadleigh park which offer different but similar riding experiences on a smaller scale to Thetford.

    As a counterpoint to the XC focused trails at Thetford there are a few bike parks open now to cater for the more jumpy of us (Phoenix and Twisted Oaks being the two main ones).

    If gravel is your thing you might find a decent enough supply of country lanes to explore but that isn’t something I’ve ever relay taken a look at myself.

    dissonance
    Full Member

    Depends on whereabouts in Suffolk. The Essex/Suffolk border round Constable country for example whilst it isnt high does have some decent lanes winding up and down the valley side.

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    I live in Kent which isn’t particularly hilly but at least I have a 200m hill a few minutes cycle away, and decent trails within a 45 minute drive – if I had to live in Suffolk I don’t think I’d bother owning a mountain bike…

    In fact I can’t think of many worse places to live in the UK if you like mountain biking, except Norfolk or Central London…

    jekkyl
    Full Member

    Yes it is. I have a mate who lives near Clare and I occasionally visit him with a bike. Tons of field edge bridleways and Footpaths but zero elevation. Would be perfect gravel terrority. The countryside is pretty enough though. When he visits me and we go to the Peak District it nearly kills him. 😂

    JonEdwards
    Free Member

    Yes it is.

    The other half’s parents live there. Her dad talks about going up the hill to the village shop. You can see the shop *over* the crest of the hill…

    Very pleasant road riding, and there’s plenty of (sandy) byways and field edge bridleways if that’s your cup of tea. Gravel bike with big tyres (for grip on the sand) is the most you need though.

    letmetalktomark
    Full Member

    In a word, yes.

    I’m a Suffolk resident having moved here from the south west.

    I’ve enjoyed the riding here over the last decade.

    There are quite a few off road riding spots but they don’t have the variety of other parts of the country.

    I’ve definitely become a better peddler as a result of the flat and false flats as if you lift off (both road and off road) you very quickly stop!

    As above road riding is very good.

    Gravel or micro gravel (sand) is where its at though.

    verses
    Full Member

    I think the word is “rolling”, you won’t find long hard climbs, but equally there aren’t long descents to recover on, so there’s a lot of constant pedalling needed.

    As others say, XC or gravel bikes are the best fit around here unless you’re heading to one of the specific bike parks mentioned.

    It’s possible I’m easily pleased, but the bridleways, coastal paths and occasional trips to the forests keep me amused.

    Planning on moving in the next year or two and looking at Suffolk as one option.

    Why would you voluntarily do that to yourself?😉🤣

    willard
    Full Member

    As someone born there, I have to agree with relapsed_mandalorian.

    I mean, it’s not Norfolk, but it is really at the end of a road, so it is probably best avoided.

    tagnut69
    Free Member

    To be fair its not a bad place to live but as has already been said it is flat. I wont say I am lucky but am halfway between the 2 mtb meccas of Suffolk (Thetford and Tunstall) but the road bike gets more use.

    hijodeputa
    Full Member

    Twisted Oaks!

    Has an xc loop and loads of jump lines, dual slalom 4x track etc. Was convinced I’d hate it. Loved it and am a signed up member now.

    I live about an hour away in essex and consider it well worth the trip.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Yep. It is.

    I’ve even found that the gravel/road is OK, buuuuut, really hard to put good loops together that avoid really narrow and busy roads, blocked bridleways or grumpy summer only residents.

    Tunstall is fun, as is Rendlesham on MTB.

    I enjoy visiting my sister in law and family. I wouldn’t however live there.

    zerocool
    Full Member

    Yep. The whole SE is pretty much flat. Doesn’t mean you can’t have fun though.

    chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    “Yep. The whole SE is pretty much flat. Doesn’t mean you can’t have fun though.”

    It’s not though, is it? The SE doesn’t have big big hills but it has enough elevation and enough steepness to make for some good trails. You really can’t lump the gentle undulations of Suffolk in with the Surrey Hills or the South Downs.

    Someone even geekier than me has made a whole website about this stuff:

    http://www.hill-bagging.co.uk/Marilyns.php?ct=SEWM

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Yep. The whole SE is pretty much flat. Doesn’t mean you can’t have fun though.

    The SE isn’t that flat, as above we have the North downs, the South downs, Surrey hills etc.

    Oh and Suffolk isn’t in the SE. It’s East Anglia. Which is flat 😁

    scud
    Free Member

    I live in North Norfolk, and often ride over Suffolk way around Tunstall / SOuthwold area. It isn’t mountain biking territory really, although the Tunstall forest trail is rarely flat, it undulates.

    Doesn’t mean there isn’t some great riding to be had if you are into all sorts of cycling. What you do get is lots of very quiet roads, bridleways and byways, so if you enjoy road or gravel cycling, and quiet scenery then it’s not a bad place to live.

    I tend to ride the two extremes where i am, either singlespeed gravel bike away from coast, or fat bike on the masses of sandy beaches we have.

    Plus whilst you may not become a climbing god, you can get a decent workout as you never really stop pedalling, plus you’ll have the headwinds!

    Sandwich
    Full Member

    Gravel bike with big tyres (for grip on the sand) is the most you need though.

    Ha, ha, ha. Sand is out near the coast, inland there’s mud in winter and clay that can add 3 inches to your height as you walk across it (makes clipping in a bit of a challenge).

    A flexible approach to footpaths and cheeky riding gets some of the best stuff in these parts.

    verses
    Full Member

    Elevation profile of last night’s off-road spin north of Ipswich (Bridleways, heaths and woodland)

    ready
    Full Member

    Elevation profile of last night’s off-road spin north of Ipswich (Bridleways, heaths and woodland)

    How far north of Ipswich was this please? 🙂

    verses
    Full Member

    All within about 5miles, but just realised it was initially North then over to the West.

    verses
    Full Member

    By West, I mean East 😀

    IdleJon
    Full Member

    Elevation profile of last night’s off-road spin north of Ipswich (Bridleways, heaths and woodland)

    All within about 5miles, but just realised it was initially North then over to the West.

    By West, I mean East 😀

    Please tell me that you’re a MTB guide. 😀

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    All looks the same to me! 🤣

    sandboy
    Full Member

    I was a mountain biker before we moved to Norfolk 26 years ago and have to admit that the road/gravel bike gets a lot more use than the MTB. As @scud says, you adapt to your surroundings and I wouldn’t be without my fatty or SS29’er.
    I have a mate in Bury St Eds and really enjoy riding out that way.

    thorpie
    Free Member

    I’m Suffolk born and bred (Stowmarket is my home town), I now live in South Yorkshire. Yes, Suffolk is flat! Big skies though.

    tagnut69
    Free Member

    Christ, that’s at least 2 stowmartians on here

    thorpie
    Free Member

    Stowmartians 😂

    jambourgie
    Free Member

    One thing I like about flat places is the big dramatic skies.

    Sandwich
    Full Member

    Christ, that’s at least 2 stowmartians on here

    Have you both got “the limp”?


    @verses
    that looks like nosebleed territory! 😀

    thorpie
    Free Member

    To be fair, I’ve lived in Yorkshire longer than I lived in Suffolk now.

    verses
    Full Member

    The best part of looking at that elevation map is that I’ve been able to prove to my mate that he’s wrong whenever he says we’re at the highest point in the area. That route took us over his bit, and another which is 30ft higher 😉

    I’m now wondering if I know a few on here through TROG.

    tagnut69
    Free Member

    I am a trog member, have not been out on a group ride with them for a very long time.

    sandboy
    Full Member

    One thing I like about flat places is the big dramatic skies.

    That and the wildlife spectacles that I get to witness almost every ride any season here in Norfolk. You really don’t see things like it sitting at home, probably the biggest motivator for getting me out.

    garage-dweller
    Full Member

    I grew up there, I still think of it as a lovely part of the world and there’s some fabulous sailing and gentle paddling territory.

    If I moved back there I’d probably pack in “serious” mountain biking, buy a really nice audax and/or gravel bike and spend a lot more time sailing. I couldn’t in all conscience spend hours driving for a decent enough weekend ride often enough to keep the limited skills I have up.

    The back road and gravel type riding is lovely though. Much more my thing than gritted teeth roadie stuff on A roads.

    piesoup
    Free Member

    Christ, that’s at least 2 stowmartians on here

    Three then!

    My full suss hardly gets used. Salsa Fargo for Thetford or Tunstall, other than that, it’s the road bike.

    Sandwich
    Full Member

    My full suss hardly gets used

    When the time came to buy a new MTB I bought a hardtail, there’s enough short tech stuff to keep basic skills up but switchback descents are something I’m unable to do.

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