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8 Yorkshire Road Rides to Try (Including Lizzie Deignan’s Favourite)

Yorkshire is the new black in cycling. Here are some rides to try out...

The route of the ASDA Tour de Yorkshire was recently unveiled in Bradford, and will be a 122.5-km elite women’s cycle race from Tadcaster to Harrogate, taking in Knaresborough and a climb at Lofthouses. Due to host the UCI World Championships in 2019, Yorkshire is becoming mega popular, and not just with elite racers. There’s a little something for everybody, especially if stunning views and the odd leg testing climb are on your wish list… 

Words: Maria David

Yorkshire is the new black. Ever since the successful staging of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2014, and the subsequent Tour de Yorkshire races more and more cyclists are frequenting the vales and hills of the White Rose County, and they love it. Britain’s top road racer Lizzie Deignan hails from Otley and still holds the routes of the Yorkshire Dales close to her heart. Even Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France loves Yorkshire and is sometimes hosted by Mr Yorkshire himself, Gary Verity, the man behind the staging of these famous international events.

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With that in mind, we asked people from Yorkshire to tell us their favourite routes in ‘God’s Country.’

Lizzie Deignan (Otley, West Yorkshire. Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team)

Kettlewell. Image: Mandy Simmons
Kettlewell. Image: Mandy Simmons

“I don’t get to go home as often as I would like so when I am home it’s generally during down time, that means I tend to stay in the Wharfe Valley alongside the river and ride up to Kettlewell to a cafe and home. My very easy ride is to Almscliff Crag and back home to Otley which takes around an hour and it’s the route I used to squeeze in after school.

Lizzie Armitstead (now Deignan) on Confidence, (Self) Coaching and Climbing

“I would love to see Bradford included in the World Road Cycling Championships. My sister lives in nearby Idle and has joined a new cycling club, the Queensbury Queens of the Mountain. I went for a bike ride with them a few weeks ago, and was surprised by the terrain. The climbs are incredibly steep and there are so many of them, it would be an ideal area for a tough circuit and would bring visitors to town!  Of course I would love my home town Otley to be included as well, but the main thing I would like to see is a challenging circuit, showing the best of what Yorkshire has to offer. It’s beautiful and it’s brutal!”

Distance: 21 km

Total climbing: 240m

Climbs: none

Sir Gary Verity (CEO, Welcome to Yorkshire)

Grinton Moor. Copyright Gordon Hatton
Grinton Moor. Copyright Gordon Hatton

“Living in the Yorkshire Dales wherever I go there is a hill. I go out riding with a mate of mine and we do a 40-mile route that starts in Kettlewell and goes up and down, then we stop off in Masham for a coffee and a slice of toast before we crack on again. Sometimes we go the other way and take in Buttertubs Pass or sometimes into Swaledale where we stop at the bike centre in Reeth. There’s a great café with great cakes and a great cycling scene. Then we come back over Grinton Moor which is really steep, and sometimes take in Gale Bank which is a sneaky little climb I would like to include in the Tour de Yorkshire. Another road I would like to include in the Tour de Yorkshire is Park Rash, which is not far from my farm. From Kettlewell it’s a long climb of about 8 or 9km, very steep in places and there are other bits where you can survive. It is brutal but the views are lovely. Christian (Prudhomme) has ridden up Park Rash and loved it!”

Distance: 65km

Total climbing: 810m

Climbs: Buttertubs pass – 4.4km, average gradient 6.5%; Grinton Moor – 3.2km, average gradient 7%

Amira Mellor, Holmfirth (West Yorkshire. Next Wyman/Matrix Fitness) 

Penistone Windmills, A Mellor
Penistone Windmills, Amira Mellor

“My favourite route in Yorkshire has to be around my local windmill above Penistone. It’s between Ingbirchworth and Crow Edge, and around a 25-minute ride out of Holmfirth, on the West Yorkshire/South Yorkshire border. To get to the Windmills from my house it is a 20-minute ride with 15 minutes going up a climb known locally as Victoria Hill (Cinder Hills Road).

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“Once at the top, the circuit is around seven miles with some small drags mixed with steep climbs. The circuit doesn’t have the best road surface and pot-holes are also frequent on many of the roads but it’s still my favourite place to ride! On the way up, you can get a beautiful view of Holme Moss and the Holme Valley, and the area is very peaceful. The circuit also has a small café, the Windmill Coffee shop, en route which many cyclists stop at before heading down the hill to go home. Since the circuit is up high, it is exposed to strong winds which make the circuit much harder, but this is perfect for hard efforts. You can easily make the route longer by adding a few laps or other roads leading in different directions along the circuit. It is simply my favourite place to ride and has been since I was little.”

Route length: 35km (including riding from Holmfirth)

Total Climbing: 350m

Climb: Victoria Hill – maximum gradient 10%

Andrea Rodgers, Sheffield (South Yorkshire. Norton Wheelers/Sheffield Triathlon Club)

 

Jaw Bone Hill. Copyright Terry Robinson
Jaw Bone Hill. Copyright Terry Robinson

“One of my favourite rides is my extended ride home from work.  As a project engineer for BOC Gases in Sheffield, I work long hours and the best way to de-stress at the end of a day is a good bike ride.

“What I love about this route is it takes me from Sheffield’s industrial heartland to the edges of the Peak district and it’s enjoyable at all times of the year as the climbs look out across the plains of South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Humberside.  On a clear day I can see five power stations, six wind farms and the Humber Bridge!

“From work I use bike lanes to cross the river Don and the Sheffield-Rotherham canal. Then I ride along a disused railway line alongside the M1 motorway to reach Wortley Hall, and it’s a beautiful climb up to High Green. Afterwards I go through flat countryside to recover before the next climb on the old Woodhead Road. The climb over Woodhead Road gives great views of the bright lights of Sheffield, and looks great on bonfire night when you can watch hundreds of firework displays across the city.

“Woodhead Road takes me over the hill to Grenoside alongside Greno Woods. Since the roads were resurfaced for the Tour de France, it’s a nice fast descent, though I have to remember to brake hard for the right-hand turn in Grenoside village. After another climb over Jawbone Hill to Oughtibridge, I arrive home in North-East Sheffield feeling spent but happy I to have done a nice evening ride.”

Route length: 45km

Total climbing: 685m

Climb: Jawbone hill – 1.7 km, average gradient 8%; Little Woodhead Road – average gradient 8%; Oughtibridge/Haggstones Road climb – average gradient 7%

Kate Horsfall, Wetherby and Jude Worrall, Thirsk (North Yorkshire. Founders of Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club)

The YLCC riding the Yorkshire Moors
The YLCC riding the Yorkshire Moors

“This is a route we really like and is part of our charity bike ride, “A Reet Gud Ride” cyclosportive taking place on 20th August 2017. The ‘Reet gud ride’ (60 mile) takes in the same roads as the 30-mile and 100-mile routes
up to the split at Knayton. There, it starts to climb up towards Felixkirk on beautiful twisting lanes giving spectacular views across the Vale of York and Kilburn. As we approach Kilburn there is a fantastic view of the white horse up to the left on the hillside known as White Horse Bank. The route also passes through Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe, which you may recognise from the Tour de Yorkshire, as it is at the foot of Sutton Bank. (Don’t panic the route doesn’t go up there!) Both routes swing round under White Horse Bank through Olstead and onto the stunning Byland Abbey (selfies a must). At this point the routes split, with the 60-mile route turning right towards Coxwold. After Coxwold is the picturesque Newburgh Priory, which continues towards Husthwaite and through country lanes to Sessay and Dalton, then back into Thirsk via the tree lined avenue in Sowerby. This is definitely a right good ride!”

Route length: 98km

Total climbing: 753m

Climbs: Knayton-Whinmoor Hill – 10km, Average gradient 1.2%

Mandy Simmons, Knaresborough (North Yorkshire. Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club)

Kettlewell. Image: Mandy Simmonds
Kettlewell. Image: Mandy Simmonds

“This is a ride I’ve done a couple of times since it was part of Le Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014. It’s a 100-km loop from Kettlewell (although there’s a longer loop from Grassington too). It takes in Buttertubs Pass which was a Category 3 climb. The average gradient is about 9-10%, with it being 20% at its steepest. There’s another tough hill called Grinton Moor towards the end of the ride, near Leyburn. I’ve not yet managed to get up without walking a bit of it yet but it just makes me more determined to try again. For me, this route is a real challenge but I love it because the countryside in this part of Yorkshire is just beautiful.”

Distance: 105km

Total climbing: 1674m

Climbs: Buttertubs – 4.4km, average gradient 6.5%; Grinton Moor – 3.2km, average gradient 7%

Charlotte Dalton (Hessle, near Hull, East Yorkshire. Team Jadan Weldtite)

Kilnwick Percy. Coptright Gordon Hatton
Kilnwick Percy. Coptright Gordon Hatton

“I am sixteen years old and have been racing for Team Jadan Weldtite for a year, and look forward to junior racing next year with the rest of the team. I live near Hull in East Yorkshire and do my training rides in the East Yorkshire area. My favourite ride is a 55-mile loop into the Yorkshire Wolds encompassing Nunburnholme Hill, and going through many scenic villages such as Market Weighton and Kilnwick Percy. I live right near the Humber Bridge so anyone wanting to try the ride could park in the Humber bridge car park.”

Distance: 90km

Total climbing: 690

Climbs: Nunburnholme Hill – 1.4km, 8%

Maria David, (London. Total Women’s Cycling)

Millington Dale, Image Patty McAlpin
Millington Dale, Image Patty McAlpin

Well – I had to include my own ride! I grew up in South Yorkshire, but ironically it was only as an adult and when I was living in London that I started going up there to cycle. I really enjoy the varied terrain that you see in the Yorkshire Dales, the Wolds, and the North York Moors so I like to return there regularly and go for a spin in different parts of the county. One place I really enjoy is a route that goes through the Yorkshire Wolds. The route starts from Pocklington near York and goes into East Yorkshire to the village of Millington then up to Huggate via a beautiful valley known as Millington Dale. The valley includes a lovely lane that switches back on itself like in the Pyrenees and on a sunny day you can almost imagine yourself being there! From Huggate you climb back up to Warter and return to Pocklington. This is a peaceful, hidden corner of Yorkshire and if you have time you can stop and enjoy the views of the Vale of York and East Yorkshire from the summit of Millington Dale.”

Distance: 30km

Total climb: 245m

Climb: Millington Dale – 2.6km, 3%.

We hope you do take a trip to the green, green lands of Yorkshire to test out some of these rides! Looking for more road riding adventures? Check out our ‘where to ride’ section for inspiration. 

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