Why Yorkshire is the cycling capital for the UK

20th December 2017

two men cycling country road

 

Yorkshire is renowned for a multitude of reasons, a stunning landscape, hearty food and a confusing dialect, however, now it has joined the sporting world as the perfect platform for cycling in the UK. The challenging terrain, lush dales and incredible views coupled with the famous hospitality of the North have made Yorkshire a destination for every person on two wheels.

With competitive events gaining traction and the paths maintained to perfection along with a host of specialist shops popping up in picturesque towns, it is time to start your cycling adventure in Yorkshire. Whether you are looking for a scenic coastal route or dramatic moors inland, Raven Hall provides beautiful accommodation in Robin Hood’s Bay which is the perfect spot to start in the mornings and for some well-earned rest after a day of cycling the county.

rolling Yorkshire Dales

 

Though long associated with Wuthering Heights, you are more likely to find a line of lycra-clad cycling enthusiasts than Heathcliff wandering in desolation around the moors. This stunning scenery makes every trail a fresh revelation, especially on long cycles that can quickly feel monotonous in other parts of the country.

Debs from Yorkshire True Grit tells us the scenery is a massive draw while the topography has benefits for cyclists:

“The Yorkshire Landscape is diverse - the moors roll for miles before reaching the sea, they ebb and flow like waves as they rise to peaks and fall into the ‘dales’ such as Farndale and Rosedale.

“The land is used for multiple different types of agriculture and forestry so the scenery changes from the moorland where birds are bred for shooting (and conservation) through to forests such as Boltby, Broxa and Langdale. There's also arable land, and land farmed with stock – e.g. dairy cattle, sheep and pigs which gives a changing terrain and scenery.”

James from Swaledale Outdoor Club is quick to agree that for those who don’t compete, the countryside is reward enough:

“Of course the area is suitable for cycle races which it is with its beautiful countryside, varied scenery, and challenging hill climbs. It’s also an excellent area for cycle touring and mountain biking with two national parks – the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors. My Club – the Swaledale Outdoor Club – does not race but regularly tours in the Dales and Moors. We have 400 members in our multi-activity club of whom 90 cycle.”

Lynnette from Cycling UK feels the terrain is vast enough to suit all ranges of experience:

“As a region, Yorkshire and Humber provides a diverse range of landscapes due to its varying geology. It boasts two National Parks – North Yorkshire Moors and Yorkshire Dales, and the South Pennines – a Special Area of Conservation.”

“There is challenging terrain for the sports cyclist and a wealth of routes along river valleys, canals and former railway lines for families and those seeking a gentler cycling experience.”

Cycling event through Yorkshire town

 

In 2014, the 101st edition of the Tour de France made its way North to Yorkshire and did so much to showcase the natural beauty of the area that the Tour de Yorkshire was created in its wake.

James places the success of the event firmly in the hands of Sir Gary Verity and his tireless efforts:

“Yorkshire has become the UK’s capital for cycling because of the work undertaken by Sir Gary Verity of Welcome to Yorkshire in first of all attracting the Tour de France to start in Yorkshire and then subsequently attracting the annual Tour de Yorkshire to the region.”

Lynnette Evans is quick to confirm that the Le Grand Depart helped the county’s cycling fame:

“Yorkshire has always offered great places for cycling for road cyclists and off-road enthusiasts. The hosting of Le Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2014 was instrumental in bringing Yorkshire to the world stage.  In subsequent years we have ‘Tour de Yorkshire’ events with road races for elite and amateur cyclists.”

Since the infamous beginnings of Tour de Yorkshire, there have been other events springing into action. The Tour de Yorkshire kicks off the events just before the May bank holiday each year, followed by Yorkshire True Grit in June, which is described as the ultimate off road cycling adventure challenge.

The Yorkshire True Grit is over a choice of distances each with stirring names like The Stampede (c20 miles), The Drive (c40 miles) and The Outlaw (c60 miles).

The Wiggle Yorkshire Tour Sportive takes place in August and takes the participants on a tour of some of Yorkshire’s most scenic cycling routes. From rolling roads to exposed moors, The Epic route is 102 miles and ensures you see the best the county has to offer.

Pint in a beer garden

 

The hospitality and friendliness of Northern folk is well-known, especially within Yorkshire, and at no point is it more welcome than at the end of an exhausting cycle. Whether you spend the last five miles day dreaming of a hearty dinner, a sizeable cake or a beautifully cold pint of something local, Yorkshire is certain to deliver.

With pub gardens a plenty, spend summer evenings with your tired legs stretched out before you and enjoying the views. Debs from Yorkshire True Grit believes the high quality local fare is what helps to draw people to the county:

“Every good ride features a cafe and we're blessed with many fine cafes in North Yorkshire - lots of which are cyclist friendly such as the Yorkshire Cycle Hub in Fryup Dale and High Paradise Farm tea room at Boltby.

“All good rides finish with a beer and there's plenty of micro-breweries crafting some fine ales - such as Helmsley Brewery and Cropton Brewery.”

So whether you are an amateur looking to test your tyres on a more challenging terrain, or a professional looking to get off the roads and on to the stunning moors, Yorkshire has a lot to offer every cyclist. Even if you do not cycle yourself, visiting the county while a cycling event is taking place is enough to inspire those with the strongest aversion to lycra.

Image Credit: david paceyTim Fields , Humphrey BoltonPixabay