The rugged, undulating terrain, and rolling moors of Yorkshire lend themselves to both road and mountain biking making cycling undoubtedly Yorkshire’s favourite pastime.
You don’t have to look far to find evidence of this, the sheer number of cycling events which take place throughout the year prove the county’s appetite for the sport. From the internationally renowned, ‘King of the Mountains’ event, to charity bike rides and countless routes from beginner to expert. The natural abundance of cycling friendly landscape has also bred some of Britain’s best cyclists, both Mark Cavendish and Ben Swift originate from Yorkshire.
So if you are thinking about trying to emulate Britain’s cycling superstars, or just want to take in some of ‘Gods own country’ on two wheels, here are some options you might want to consider…..
Test your skills off-road
One of the best competition routes in Yorkshire is in Dalby Forest. It has been used in the past as a UCI Mountain Bike Cross Country World Cup venue, attracting top mountain bikers from across the world. Those wanting to test their skills can do so at the Pace Bike Park at Dixon’s Hollow, an old quarry which has been transformed into a state of the art bike park.
Cycling tours on the Dales
For those cyclists who want to take in the breathtaking sights of the Yorkshire Dales, tours can be arranged for varying lengths of time with cycling tour companies throughout Yorkshire.
A five day bike riding tour takes in a mixed terrain of single track roads, ancient green lanes, moor land tracks and high open fell. This can be booked through a guide company, or done independently if you plan the route and stops before hand. This is best suited to intermediate or experienced riders as the tour averages at around 35km to 40km per day with challenging high climbs. For the non professional this is the closest you will get to Le Tour de France or the Etape du Dales.
Etape du Dales cycle ride- 19th May 2013
Yorkshire’s most famous cycle ride is regularly named as one the top 10 UK rides, taking in 112 miles and 3500 metres of climbs over the stunning Dales landscape. The route takes in much of the same landscape that will feature in the second stage of Le Tour de France, such as Buttertubs Pass and Fleets Moss, alongside passing Tan Hill (the highest pub in England), Mallerstang, the Coal Road, Newby Head and Halton Gill. Every year one of the toughest cycles in the country raises tens of thousands for the Dave Rayner Fund.
Great Yorkshire Bike Ride, Wetherby, 15 June 2013
For experienced cyclists that can’t quite manage the challenge of Etape du Dales, the Great Yorkshire bike ride is a 70 mile long annual sponsored cycling event beginning at Wetherbyand finishing at Filey. It takes in mostly country lanes avoiding the steep climbs of the Etape course
Scarborough Festival of Cycling 30th August- 1st September 2013
One of Yorkshire’s many cycling festivals takes place in Scarborough. This three day festival and community event will return for a third year in 2013, where you’ll be able to pick and choose from different events each day.
Otley Cycle Races 3rd July 2013
Every year the little town of Otley in West Yorkshire hosts one of the most prestigious events in the UK’s cycling calendar. In its 26th year past winners have included Mark Cavendish, Jonny Clay and Jez Hunt. The day culminates in a Grand Prix in the town centre which is closed off to traffic whilst some of Britain’s best cyclists race to the title.
York Cycle Show, York, 22-23 June 2013
With a full weekend of shows, exhibitions and entertainment culminating in a grand parade through the historic town centre, the York cycle show is one of the county’s best- loved events. The festivities take place at York’s famous racing ground.
If you’ve just caught the cycling bug and need to kit yourself out, or if your already a cycling enthusiast and need some new equipment, Cycle Heaven is a two floor, six showroom complex with a huge variety of bikes, from mountain, to road cycles, and rare Gazelle Dutch city bikes. The store has been serving York’s cycling community for 20 years and has a sterling reputation for quality.