Q Are there any particular routes in the Lake District that lend themselves to bike-packing? Bradley Jones, via email
Jeremy says The Lake District is stuffed to the brim with routes ideal for biking-packing. Most of these have ancient origins and are part of a network that criss-cross the dales, fells and summits. These have been added to in recent times by forestry roads and purpose built cycle-paths. Modern mountain bikes combined with ultra-light back-packing gear make off-road life a lot easier. It offers freedom for walkers as it gets you easily to kick-off points for summit attempts or multiple scrambles. Another plus is the Lake District National Park Authority along with other stakeholders has created a network of ferry and bus services aimed specifically at cyclists, with bike racks attached and extra piers and stops. In terms of which routes are suitable for who, there's a wide range. One fact with the Lakes, or any mountain area is you can't avoid hills and it’s important you break yourself in gently; hills that look easy on a map or in a photo almost certainly aren’t! A good three options to start with would be: 1 Access Ennerdale via the valley track, overnighting at either Black Sail Hut YHA or wildcamp, walking a few summits around the valley head. 2 Next, explore paths linking Ambleside with Langdale, Coniston, Hawkshead, and Windermere by camping, hosteling, or wild camping. 3 Finally once you’ve cut your teeth and got your bike set up, the big off road passes are the place to head. Some like Sty Head are highly technical with others like Boredale House, Gatesgarth, and Garburn Pass are well within the scope of competent mountain bikers. Don't forget you may need to push, or even carry your bike at some points.