Energise E-bikes own Ray Wookey and his wife Jackie took their electric bikes to Norfolk for a few days this summer. Here’s what they recommend. Ray writes:
“First stop was Cromer, famous for its crab, and for having the only working theatre built on the end of a long pier, which has a lifeboat station right next door. We arrived on a Sunday evening at the Knoll Guest House https://knollguesthouse.com/ . The proprietors, Jane and her husband gave us a warm welcome and we were allowed to safely tuck away our e-bikes in a garage at the back.
Lying in a central location, Knoll Guest House is an attractive Victorian terraced B&B in a quiet road just off the seafront. From there, it’s a pleasant stroll into central Cromer, which gives the feeling of stepping back in time to traditional seaside resorts of old with their promenades and big, sandy beaches. The Red Lion is worth a visit as a Victorian style pub with real ale and cosy atmosphere.
After a wonderful breakfast, all freshly prepared, we left the car parked and jumped on our e-bikes to ride a circular route which we had downloaded into both the Nyon unit on the e-bike and into a Garmin Explorer.
The first stop on this route was Felbrigg Hall owned by the National Trust. It has beautiful, bite sized walled gardens and a lovely hall (although we couldn’t fit in a visit to the hall this time around). Allow an hour to take in the gardens and have a coffee in the pleasant courtyard. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/norfolk/felbrigg-hall-gardens-and-estate
Onwards then to Holt which is charming where we visited the Kings Head for door stopper sandwiches (or a salad) https://www.kingsheadholt.org.uk/. Holt is famous for The Gresham public school which is prominent on the main road. Famous alumni include Benjamin Britten, and Olivia Colman.
The Kings Head, Holt
This being Britain, torrential rain fell, so getting to Wells-Next-the-Sea was a dramatic and…wet. Wells is quaint and also quite the throwback in time. There are plenty of amusements, ice cream and ‘bucket and spade’ shops in the windy little traffic-free streets.
We booked into The Globe and were directed a ten minutes’ walk (one minute e-bike ride) to an annexe with rooms. We took a small room which got smaller when we put the e-bikes in for safety and to recharge them. Back to the main pub/hotel to have a good quality evening meal. https://www.theglobeatwells.co.uk/
The Globe, Wells-Next-The-Sea
We were sure to book breakfast the next morning, which was excellent and then we got back on the bikes to cycle through Blakeney then on to Sheringham for lunch at the Lobster Pot pub.
Our quest to find a good crab sandwich failed, so we shared an ordinary sandwich padded out with chips and salad.
Refuelled, we turned back to Cromer. Total round trip about 50 miles with some extra pottering around.
Now for the words of warning!
First of all, like a lot of areas outside of large cities, the GPS signal was flaky. In theory, the pre-loaded route maps (available on the Kommot app) were fairly simple. In practice it seemed confusing. In the first place it seemed more difficult than it should to transfer the GPX navigation files to each device.
These navigation apps, thanks to all their extra features, aren’t as intuitively simple as a paper map. There’s a lot of information that takes a lot of sifting through, and you may want to spend some time on local routes with your app so you are used to it before going on a long journey.
So, the routing was frustrating – especially when we veered off the road at one point to travel through a jungle of a path which was bumpy and horrible for about 2 miles only to pop back on the same road again having done a massive loop!
Secondly although our route looked ideal, tracing the coast on day two, the route takes you on what is, in effect, a busy two-lane main road. This is partly due to the marshes, estuaries, and inlets, some of which can be travelled by foot and are pedestrian walkways but not suitable for bikes.
This means that we didn’t get enough sea views, nor pottering about quiet spaces, discovering things, stopping where the mood takes, which is what we really enjoy on our e-bikes. The route gave the sense of getting from A to B, rather than being exploratory.
Route issues aside, the e-bikes were superb. We both carried two panniers containing enough for an overnight change, battery chargers, emergency equipment and tools if needed. We both had plenty of range despite the roads being quite hilly (don’t believe anybody saying Norfolk is all flat). God bless e-bikes especially with some weight on board. I rode a Scott Strike eRide 920 and Jackie rode a Cube, both full suspension with Bosch CX systems on board.
While the route had highlights, we would recommend searching around for bike routes that avoid main roads and allow for passing through quieter areas. We would also recommend using your navigation app closer to home a few times before using it in potentially confusing areas.”