Yorkshire, there’s no place quite like it. From the coast to the inland hills, the flood-prone flat plains to Tour de France-tested climbs on the moors and the Dales, Yorkshire has something to satisfy every sort of rider. Whether you’re into rapid straight lanes in noble Roman style to scythe along at a blistering pace, or more into steep tarmac that whisks you up above the treeline onto the exposed, dramatic landscapes that inspired the Bronte sisters, here’s where you’ll find it. (And we won’t be the only ones to tell you this).
The first rule of Yorkshire is to talk about it. Talk about how great it is. That’s the thing, you see, Yorkshire thrives on the exuberance of its locals and its visitors.
Out of the UK’s regions, Yorkshire has by far some of the easiest access to the hills, seeing them run amok all over the county, in all shapes and sizes. The biggest are found in the Dales, stretching all the way down past Sheffield as part of the Pennine Chain. To the east, there’s the rolling Yorkshire Wolds stretching to the coast, where you’ll find all the quietest backroads. Just above the Wolds, you can pedal across the bleak high moorland of the North Yorkshire Moors, punctuated by deep valleys and equally as quiet roads. At the end of all these lumps and bumps, you’re rewarded with a string of quaint coastal towns and sandy beaches.
On any given day in Yorkshire you will see a cyclist. At least one, but probably many. They’ll offer you a jam sandwich, or a slab of Wensleydale cheese. They’re kind like that – but then they’ll probably sit in your slipstream for a while, because even on a calm day in Yorkshire, there’s always a headwind.
Harrogate is probably the best place for deep-diving into Yorkshire’s biking scene. Come September 2019, this historic town with all its charming old stone buildings will step up to the world stage as the host town of the UCI 2019 Road World Championships, truly putting the region’s credentials as the cycling capital of the UK to test.
But they’ve never really been in doubt, have they? Back in 2014 it hosted the Grand Depart of the Tour de France, a glorious celebration of cycling in a region that has long boasted above-average participation. If you go into York, you’ll see more bikes than in any other British town–with cargo bikes, tandems, chariots, and all manner of two-wheeled machines. A thriving piece of the Lowlands here in the UK.
For geography and history aficionados, Yorkshire could present the country’s finest case studies – look at flood defences, Roman roads, medieval abbeys, Georgian estates, the influence of the Vikings (evidenced by the place names), and coastal erosion. The list goes on. This collection encompasses it all, much like the most well-rounded academic, these routes are the ones to learn by rote.
You’ll see, there’s nowhere quite like Yorkshire - a place known by many as ‘God’s own country.’
Tracing a circular route along backroads in the bottom corner of the Yorkshire Dales, this ride is a demonstration of the finest Yorkshire roads – especially in the eyes of …
The most family-friendly route of the collection, this is an A–to–B route from Selby train station up to York station along traffic-free bike paths and little-used back roads.
There's barely …
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From Leeds to Harrogate along 99% of the 2019 UCI Road World Championship elite men's route, this is no walk in the park. However, let's get it out there right …
Throwing in a little gravel for the mix, this is a superb, largely traffic-free route that does a sweet half-inland, half-coastal oval between Whitby and Scarborough.
The way out from …
One of the most easy-going of the Yorkshire routes, this is a beautiful century-distance ride that ends right on the coast. Ice cream obligatory.
Heading out of York from its …
This predominately flat route is all about shifting down a gear and enjoying the cruise. A fine demonstration of 'taking the scenic route', this one has grandeur aplenty.
Starting from …
The finest limestone landscape unfolds on this circular route from Settle to Hawes over Yorkshire's highest road (that's an achievement), followed by the cobbled streets of Dent and what could …
So many reasons to love this route, not least because of the start and finish location in Great Fryup Dale – a sunny part of the Yorkshire Moors that you …
A ride of contrasts, of valleys and high moorland, rolling lanes and eye-poppingly, leg-burningly steep 33% gradients, of the bustle of Malton and Pickering and the solitude of Rosedale. It's …
Here's a real geography in action with a beautiful spin along a rapidly eroding coastline (don't worry, your road is safe for now). From the busy seaside village of Hornsea, head southwards on a quiet road and visit Mappleton, which is the typical A-level case study. You might see some students with clipboards.
From there, pedal inland and go through a string of quiet villages, before looping back towards Hornsea passing Wassand Hall and the Mere.
It's a really great ride for those with young kids in tow. Naturally, as you're on the North Sea coast it could be blustery so best save this for a day when the winds are fairly calm.
End the family-friendly ride with a jaunt out onto Yorkshire's largest freshwater lake with a rowing boat, or just an ice cream and a quick bird watching session.