Yorkshire offers cyclists a wide range of options, from a relaxing jaunt to an adrenalin-filled adventure. Get muddy and breathless on an exhilarating mountain bike track, potter along a city centre route or dawdle down a quiet country lane.
The county’s varied landscape adds to the interest. With miles of charming countryside, three National Parks and two Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the Howardian Hills between Pickering and York, and Nidderdale on the eastern flanks of the Yorkshire Pennines – riders can find themselves on seaside promenades, canal towpaths, disused railways or moorland trails.
The Yorkshire Dales cycleway takes riders through six of the finest valleys. It starts and finishes in Skipton and can be divided into six day-long stages of between 20 and 25 miles each. Longer still is the Trans Pennine trail, a 350-mile coast-to-coast route from Liverpool to Hull for cyclists, walkers and horse riders.
Follow The Ouse
Follow the River Ouse and the Vale of York’s country roads to the foothills of the North York Moors on the White Rose route, or tackle the 80 miles of lanes, former coastal railway and forest tracks that link Scarborough, Pickering and Whitby to make up the Moor-to-Sea route.
Another option is the West Yorkshire cycleway, a 150-mile circular that roughly tracks the West Yorkshire county boundary.
The Walney to Wear & Whitby route runs between Walney Island, outside Barrow-in-Furness on Cumbria’s Irish Sea coast, and both the historic North Yorkshire port of Whitby (a 172-mile journey) and Wearmouth in Sunderland (a trip of 153 miles).
Another 20 miles can be added to the Yorkshire branch of the route by cycling a former coastal railway track to Scarborough. Bigland Hill, just 20 miles from Walney Island, and the climb up Tan Hill, the route’s highest point at 1,732 feet above sea level, are two particularly testing sections, although much of the coast-to-coast journey is hilly.
Like other National Cycle Network routes, the Walney to Wear & Whitby route is easy to follow because it is well signed in both directions,
Thrills In The Dales
There are over 500 miles of green lanes, bridleways and byways in the Yorkshire Dales and these can be linked in countless ways to provide thrilling mountain bike rides.
Breathtaking scenery and quaint villages provide the perfect backdrop and the challenge can vary from a gentle roll along the valleys to a challenging climb over the moorland that separates them.
The area is acknowledged as one of the best in the country for mountain biking and the journey is always memorable, whether through the remote northern dales or the rolling farmland in the east.
The Forestry Commission offers a range of routes – graded easy, moderate, difficult or severe – in Dalby, Boltby and Guisborough forests, and the Pennine Bridleway National trail is a mix of newly-created tracks and packhorse routes between the Peak District and South Pennines.
It includes the Mary Towneley Loop, which is 47 miles, and the 10-mile Settle Loop. The Trans Pennine trail is mostly off-road and can be an ideal way to explore both the countryside and urban areas.