Does anyone recommend any particularly good roads to cycle on in the Peak district? Also, I'm interested in what kind of speeds / average speeds / average cadence others get up to...I'm a relatively new biker so I'm open to any tips anyone might have!
The Cat and Fiddle road, especially the descent into Macclesfield
Gun Hill, especially if you go up the side from the Macclesfield-Leek road, and then down into Meerbrook. The road up from the middle of meerbrook to roach end is an amazing climb, which then gives a really cool descent to Gradbach etc, and the potential to link up with Flash.
Anything around Wildboarclough is generally pretty good too, though the road along the bottom of the valley is a bit of a killer false-flat if you get it from the wrong direction.
I have linked up a load of good roads here if it helps give you a few ideas: http://gb.mapometer.com/cycling/route_2880657.html
I know it's all very much on one side of the peak (the side I live on!), and it's obviously not meant as a route, but I would pretty much recommend any part of it as well worth doing.
There's also some good stuff worth doing out towards Longnor.
Hope this helps.
When I first got my bike (its a mountain bike but with slick tyres on it), and started to build up distances I also headed towards the cat and fiddle. Didn't know the area so just followed my nose and found the Goyt Valley which is bloody lovely.
There's a road which runs all from Whaley Bridge to Buxton (I think it's called Long Road / Long Hill but might be shown on maps as Manchester Road or the A5004? Goes through Fernilee and over the hills...
At the the very top point there's a signpost to your right pointing down into the Goyt Valley (very steep decent). At the bottom you cross the reservoir, and bear left. Theres a single track road which will then lead you through the Valley all the way to the cat and fiddle and as a bonus, I think it gets closed off to cars on Sundays so you'll only get walkers and other cyclists.
Love the area. Can't believe I live 20 miles away from it for 10 years and never stumbled across it.
In reply to JTM: the road along the goyt valley up to the cat and fiddle also has the advantage of being one-way almost the whole way along, as far as Derbyshire bridge, so it's narrow and windy but there's no problems with negotiating oncoming vehicles. It is possible to link this up with the roads around windgather area too, which are very nice.
The classic 50-ish mile route from Manchester is Pott Shrigley - Brickworks (Bakestonedale Road) - Kettleshulme - Windgather (Side End Lane) - Goyt Valley - Cat and Fiddle then home via Macc and Alderley Edge, or Rainow and Bollington.
Also, check out the route of the Polka Dot Challenge which takes in a lot of good roads (including the above):
Worked out a nice approx 70 mile circuit last year; starting and finishing at Stoney Middleton via Eyam, Hope, Edale, Peak Forest, Millers Dale, Earl Sterndale, Youlgreave, Stanton in the Peak, Rowsley Bar, Wadshelf then back via Curbar Gap.
Approx 90% of it on quiet side roads and some good climbs; particularly out of Edale via Mam Tor and Rowsley Bar towards the end.
From Hathersage, loop of Edale and the Mam Tor road - Bradwell - out the back of Bradwell uphill to the west - follow small roads south to Miller's Dale - Bakewell for tarts - return via Grindleford and back to Hathersage. Brilliant run, scenic, good cafes and even the drivers seemed a bit more chilled than I'm used to here.
In reply to JTM:
If you live in Stoke, heading in the same direction (but not necessarily actually on) the A34, and then over Mow Cop (up the Killer Mile if you can face it), down into Biddulph, and then up past Biddulph Grange Gardens to Biddulph Park/ Newtown is a good way to get out into the peak