The 135 mile Three Rivers routes generally follows railway paths, minor roads with a few short sections oN busy roads.
Planning - Maps and guides
There are many useful maps and guides available covering the Three Rivers.
Sustrans map - The Three Rivers - (Code NN14).
OS Landranger 1:50000 maps,
nos. 88 and 93
series of 3 maps produced by Durham County Council:-
North "Skirting the Cities - Routes to Roam"
West "Hills and Hollows - Trees and Trails"
South "City and Towns - Tracks without Trains"
CycleCity Sunderland / Durham
Plus a selection of local town cycling guides available from Tourist Information Centres.
Read these guide notes and plan your daily journey.
Read the advice page before setting of to check for any problems, detours,
advice from other riders etc.
For the majority of this route you are not far from towns.
Check the weather forecast, take adequate foul weather clothing
(i.e. waterproof NOT showerproof and preferably breathable) and emergency
You will need to carry all your personal belongings, clothing, tools etc.
either in some panniers or in a rucksack.
Make sure that you are physically prepared by doing some training
rides prior to attempting the route. You don't have to be Superman to
complete it, but, you do need to know that you can manage more than 10
miles on a bike before collapsing in a heap! Include some hill climbing
- although this route does not have the steep, long hills of the C2C -
there are still some climbs over the Pennine watershed and along the Tyne
As most of this route is either on minor roads or surfaced off-road
tracks most bikes will be suitable but I would not recommend a full racing
Tandems, Recumbent, Tricycles may find some sections awkward but not impossible
due to control barriers.
Anything apart from full slick or narrow racing bike tires - I use Specialized
Nimbus Armadilio 26" x 1.5" tires which
have low rolling resistance and have the added benefit of full Kevlar
jacket protection - well worth it if you cycle a lot in urban areas with
attendant broken glass problems.
tools and spares to carry - see side panel
At least one spare inner tube - preferably two - the urban areas of
cycleways can be plagued with broken glass.
Know how to repair a puncture and replace a broken chain link.
over your bike
Give your bike a service and try it out before the ride.
Below is a basic (very basic) list of checks you should carry out on your
bike before you start and don't do them the night before you set off!
If you are in any doubt as to your competence regarding cycle maintenance
then take your bike into the local bike shop to get it serviced.
Make sure that the blocks are not rubbing on the tyre when you apply your
brakes, also check that the blocks hit the rim squarely and do not slide
under the rim. Check that the blocks are not overly worn and that they
connect with the rim cleanly.
Check that neither the gear or brake cables are frayed. If they are replace
The tires should be inflated correctly to manufacturers recommendations
and check the amount of tread left, if in doubt replace them.
Apply lubrication to front and rear mechs, brake holder pivots, all entry
and exit points on cable outers, chain, brake lever pivot points and reapply
lubrication at the end of each days riding.
Clean and lubricate your chain before the ride - you will be amazed at
the difference in pedalling efficiency this makes.
Check out the spares list on the right hand side of this page for a basic
list of kit to take with you.
Book your accommodation in advance and advise your lodgings if you
are going to arrive late - to avoid having your room being given to someone
comfortable clothing- padded shorts are a must - get used to wearing them
before the ride and above all wear them next to the skin - NEVER wear
underwear beneath them.
Wear layers of light breathable clothing - that way you can remove a layer
as you warm up and replace it when you cool down.
enough fluids / drinks especially if it is a hot day.
Do not underestimate
the amount of liquid you will need to carry, the norm should be two bottles
in the morning and two in the afternoon but a lot more if it's hot.
I prefer High Energy Isotonic drinks backed up by energy bars during the
actual ride and leave the main meal until completion of the days cycling.
By all means
take a mobile phone with you but for some of the route the reception
will be non-existent or poor at best especially in the hilly central areas.
If you plan
to ride road sections late in the day then take some lights with you because
even in summer the mist can come down very quickly in the hills or unforeseen
punctures etc. can slow you down - it is still a good idea to carry lights
with you regardless.
A rear flashing light is excellent for letting cars know you are ahead
even in daylight.
It is a good
idea to take a bike lock with you, whether going into shops etc. for food/drink
or just visiting somewhere en-route as it makes it a lot less daunting
for you leaving your pride and joy knowing your bike is safely locked
and will be there on your return.
find that your bike handling skills quickly improve during the ride, hills
that were near impossible at the start of the ride will seem a lot easier
at the end and you will very quickly learn how to pick the best line between
the doggy deposits!
some identity with you including an emergency contact phone number.
all enjoy the ride.
Doug-on-the-Tyne - 2004