Ride report for 20th April 2019

Geoff Wilkinson writes:

Journey to the Centre of….. where exactly?

Preamble: when I recce’d this ride to Dunsop Bridge on 4th April I established three things: 1) The Puddleducks Tearoom (our destination) proclaimed itself to be located at the precise centre of the United Kingdom (more of which later); 2) the journey there and back from Skipton was a bit further than the “normal” 50ish miles for an SCC Saturday ride and 3) the proprietors were very relaxed about their ability to accommodate a sizeable cycling group.  Nevertheless, I promised to call them on the morning of our ride to advise on our numbers and ETA.  They agreed this was a good idea so, to be on the safe side, I called on the Friday before the ride and again on the morning of the ride.  On both occasions I was diverted to voice mail where I left my messages.  No responses to two calls generated the germ of a very small doubt which lodged itself in my mind.  Still, it’s just a café – yeah – and it’s Easter Saturday – yeah – so they’re bound to be open.  What could possibly go wrong?

So, what could possibly go wrong?  The morning of the ride (Easter Saturday) dawned bright and clear with just the slightest of early morning chills to enliven the senses.  Everything pointed to it being one of the warmest Easter weekends on record.

26 eager cyclists turned out for this, my first, SCC ride as leader.  The six members of the “fast squad” departed with gusto leaving the remaining 20 to brave the A59 in two smaller teams so as to lessen the annoyance to the Easter traffic.  The “usual” route to Bolton-by-Bowland was pleasant and incident free – save for one heart-warming moment when the gentleman passenger of a boy-racer’s car enlightened us by opining that, in his (no doubt humble) opinion we were all, in fact “a bunch of wankers”.  Well, who would have thought it?

Relief presented itself in the form of the public conveniences at Bolton-by-Bowland, and during the relieving process 5 members of the group resolved to follow a shorter route by heading up to the “Delicious Deli” at Gisburn and thence back to Skipton.

The remaining 15 girded their (now relieved) loins, gritted their teeth and pressed on. The climb out of Bolton heads up Holden Lane which, evidence suggests, was last resurfaced in the summer of 1749, and follows Holden Clough which is long and relentlessly steep and leaves little breath available for small talk.  Eventually someone summoned enough wind to shout “stop” and we regrouped at Lane Ends before pushing on via Easington and Newton (and four fabulous and well-earned descents) towards Dunsop Bridge – with the scent of coffee and burnt sausages (more of which later) now in our nostrils.

Arriving at The Puddleducks Tearoom we were greeted by a small scene of calm indulgence surrounded by a larger scene of chaos and carnage.  The calm indulgence was being experienced by the six members of the “fast squad” who had settled themselves down “al fresco” and were tucking into their pies, beans, toast, teas and cakes.  As ride leader it befell me to admonish them severely for failing to cool the Sauvignon Blanc in anticipation of our arrival.  Personally, I blame Rick S – a man of wide experience who should know better.

Then things went downhill… the place was busy (it was Easter Saturday after all), but they did remember my visit and their agreement to accommodate us, didn’t they?  Err… no.  In fact they were the NEW proprietors, having just taken over the business TODAY!  Ahh… but the old proprietors surely passed on my request didn’t they?  Err… no.  Ahh… but you did receive the two voice-messages I left for you didn’t you?  Err… no we haven’t listened to the voicemails yet.  Ahh… but you can serve us can’t you? Err… no, well not for at least half an hour as we’ve got 30 outstanding orders to fulfil.  


In an effort to negotiate a route through this trauma-inducing impasse we were offered the option of a “bulk deal” on sausage butties which, it appeared, could be whistled up by magic as long as we all agreed to the same choice.  So we did.  We awaited the impending feast with a mixture of starvation and trepidation, during which time an erudite debate ensued concerning the claim that we were now sitting in “the centre of the United Kingdom”.  Doubters asserted it must mean Great Britain rather than the UK.  Others disagreed.  Edward intervened “you’re both wrong” he asserted “the centre of the UK is over there” (he pointed).  “I could even give you the coordinates – assuming you know what a coordinate is” – he mansplained to Caran.  And, you know what, he’s right.  It’s at Whitendale Hanging Stones near Brennan’s Farm (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brennand_Farm).  

Who said troubles come in threes?  After topping off our sausage butties with a round of cakes we, somewhat reluctantly, mounted our trusty steeds and plodded off into the east.  Luckily, there was little headwind and we made rapid progress until my enduring bad luck intervened once again and I punctured in the run up to Wigglesworth.  Still, with help and encouragement from Matt and Neil, I was soon back in the saddle.

I feel this ride report is now in danger of outlasting the ride itself, so I’ll draw rapidly to a close with the following summary: Dunsop Bridge is 30 miles away – back in Skipton we all had over 60 on the clock but everyone survived both the ride and the sausages, and we now know where the centre of the UK is but don’t trust the proprietors of The Puddleducks to listen to their voice-mails and Karen is right… a G&T does go down well after a long ride.


PS: please don’t ask me to lead another ride until I’ve fully recovered.



Ride Report 6th April 2019

Richard Emptage writes:

A recce of the route was undertaken on the preceding Wednesday. Snow was evident on the surrounding hill tops, and snow and hail were encountered on the climb up to Tosside. With driving rain being the norm for the day.

What a pleasant surprise to awake to a sunny, albeit cool, Saturday morning. Donning plenty of layers of cycling apparel to keep warm; the sun stayed out for the entire ride, the temperature rising to 14°C; with everyone discarding layers as the ride progressed.

26 cyclists set out from Skipton, with an additional 2 joining in Gargrave. Riders were split into 3 groups. A ‘faster’ group of 8, followed by 2 groups of 9. Everyone had elected to cycle the 50-mile route! With the bikes almost in ‘auto-pilot’ mode, we navigated the ever-popular route out of Skipton via; Carleton, Gargrave, Bank Newton, Nappa, Halton West, and Bolton by Bowland.

For me, the Holden Lane section was ‘unexplored territory’. A 20-min (Cat-3) climb from Holden to our Café stop at The Old Vicarage Tea Room in Tosside. It was challenging, but doable! When we arrived at the Tea Room, the first group were sat outside in the glorious sunshine, and already tucking in their well-earned refreshments.

Now suitably refreshed, it was all ‘down-hill’ back home to Skipton … well apart from one or two ‘undulations’ to negotiate. Certainly, it was down hill to Wigglesworth. Flat Lane is definitely NOT flat! Arriving in Helifield, it was back into ‘auto-pilot’ mode as we basked in the sun and plotted our course back to Skipton via; Otterburn, Bell Busk, Eshton, Gargrave, Broughton, Carleton … and for some, a coffee and cake in the Club House Café.

No crashes / injuries

No mechanicals

No punctures


Ride report 2nd March 2019

Gary Crompton writes:

A drizzly start to today’s ride didn’t put many off the border crossing to the Red Side: no passports required. A small advanced party of 5 set off into the distance, followed by 3 groups totalling another 18 riders. Not content with that, we collected another 2 on route to Gargrave. A usual out-route took us through West Marton towards Baa’lick. The 30 milers left us as we headed for Blacko. I’m hoping they found the route from Foulridge, although they’d already rebelled and decided they weren’t going to do the little climb out of Earby I’d set on the route . The rest of us descended into Witch Country. Passing my old primary school in Roughlee, I recalled tales of years gone by and the massive injustice of being told off by my old headteacher. The climb now ramped up to Newchurch with more than one of our group hufflepuffing and cursing the short but steep climb. At the top, Andy began reflecting on the Strava title for his ride whilst looking over to Pendle Hill. Onward and down to lunch at ‘The Cabin’ in Barley.

Cabin “fever”

Thanks to Paula at the Cabin for sorting lunch, the usual beans on toast for most of us, although, Jayne’s beef stew and dumplings was being enviously looked upon by more than one of the group. It was pointed out to me that Edward might have got a bit grumpy as the tea didn’t come in a pot! I’ll let them know the next time we call in. I did have to put ‘our Paula’s’ mind at ease on more than one occasion that we didn’t have to go up the hill we’d come down after we’d finished lunch; we just had another one instead. Climbing post lunch out of Barley to the foot of Pendle, we had a short photo stop before descending to Downham and a downpour, no doubt bestowed upon us for heading back to White Rose Country – hopefully not cursed by the witches. The long steady climb back towards Hellifield left one member of the group feeling deflated, well, his back tyre in any case. Matt even blew a valve trying to pump it up. Limping on to Otterburn, where Tara jumped to the rescue with a track pump having already been home for some time. Steady away …. we all returned to Skipton, where a small group had a coffee before returning home. Big thanks to everyone for an enjoyable – if a bit of a hilly – ride today. Gary

Didn’t we do well!
Down to Downham


Ride Report 23rd Feb 2019

Mark Wilkins writes:

Another Beautiful spring weather day – perhaps half-term kept the numbers down to 10 – where were the rest of you? It was a beautiful day to get up to Greenhow Hill and get long distant views!
10 riders set off from Chevin – nice to see Will back after a long lay-off with a rugby injury!
Up to Embsay past the bad tempered motorist and up Black Park. The views were getting better as the sun burned off the mist.
A fast descent to Barden Bridge and then on to the T-junction at Skyreholme where the lone 30 miler carried on to Grassington. The 9 carried on up the New Road climb to the Grassington – Pateley Bridge road. It’s a spectacular climb as you try to escape the steep sides of Wharfedale!
Up past Stump Cross Caverns to Greenhow Hill at a good pace and then suddenly into the wind as we turned south along Redlish Road to Fewston. The wind was surprisingly cold but few noticed as the tight group zipped along seeing the golf balls of Menwith Hill emerge and grow in definition, as the early morning mist cleared.
Good service and low prices at Fewston Farm shop and then down to cross the dam wall of Fewston Reservoir on the Washburn.
A scenic detour was taken via Timble village – Mark wanted to know if the pub was worth visiting!

Jackie putting in an effort!
Phil giving it some!

Phil enjoyed the short sharp climb to the top of Askwith Moor and then a fast decent to Ilkley via Askwith, where we gathered at the stone footbridge over the Wharfe. The group decided that they’d had enough climbing and that the roadworks to the Cringles were best avoided. This meant a steady ride back to Bolton Bridge via Nesfield and then the Gated Road to Embsay. Back to the Clubhouse café at a very respectable 3pm.
Very few traffic incidents “luckily”, apart from the near miss at Bolton Abbey. One of our number was cut-up by a 4×4 driver with poor distance judgement. No harm done or nerves shredded.


Edward and the Balls behind him!

Ride Report Feb 16th 2019

Spring was in the air today and the mild forecast attracted a big turnout of over 20 for the club rides. The choice of kit being worn reflected the level of confidence that individuals had in the Met Office! Most had opted for the safe choice of bib longs, gilets and winter weight tops on the basis of “never cast a clout until May’s out!’ However one brave soul, with an optimistic view of life, was in full summer apparel of short-sleeved club top and bib shorts! Brrr.

The route was an old favourite best done in good weather: over High Side from Airton, through Settle and down to Austwick, then past Wharfe and onto Elaine’s Tearoom at Feizor. Return route was through Hellifield and Bell Busk to Gargrave.

8 set off in the faster group led by Jonathan with 13 in the main group to start with. Mercifully, I suppose, the “optimist” opted for the shorter 30 miler as the milder temps  predicted didn’t really materialise. We were joined by a guest couple, Karen and Graham, for their first club ride. Perhaps the first of many! 

The familiar herd of Highland cattle were waiting at the road junction on the way up over the high moorland road but sensibly steered clear of us as we stormed through at high speed! A “catch up” at the  Ebor Gate cattle grid before the descent into Settle down High Hill Lane was a good photo opportunity and a chance for Kevan to join us. He had missed us at Airton.

Catch up at Ebor Gate above High Side after the climb up from Airton

After a comfort stop at 3 Peaks Cycles in Settle, we pushed on up the road past Knights Stainforth to Helwith Bridge. The next few miles provide a delightful stretch of road that twists and turns on the way down to Austwick. Unfortunately along here Geoff suffered a mechanical being unable to change gear along here necessitating calling at 3 Peaks Cycles and missing out on the lunch stop at Elaine’s.

As usual we all enjoyed welcoming and speedy service and platefuls of “healthy” eating! We caught up with faster riders here who were into a second course of cake when we arrived.

Jo struggling to get her cake down!
All smiles at Elaines Tearoom, Feizor. Is it all down hill from here?

We set off back to Skipton with the fast descent of Buckhaw Brow, through Giggleswick and then along the Ribble valley to Rathmell and Wigglesworth before ascending Flat Lane (really?) to Hellifield. At this point Geoff joined up with us having had a temporary fix on his mechanical which gave him a single mid range gear to get him home. The usual thrash along to Bell Busk followed for those having their Strava PBs in mind.

A post ride coffee and cake at the Clubhouse ended a good day out.

Steve Wilkinson


Ride Report 9/2/19

Rick Small writes

Where were you all missing the fine cycling weather (not really)?. With the ride start put back to 11.30am, 5 of us set off on the pre-planned 30ml route picking up Gary on the way through Embsay. Black Park climb never gets any easier even with a forceful tail wind. Blustery conditions to Appletreewick and Grassington where sausage sarnies were the most popular choice at the Eco Cafe. As the taxi home didn’t arrive (joke), we had to continue cycling to Conistone, Threshfield, Hetton, Gargrave, Broughton and back. Avoiding inches of surface water and staying upright during the sudden gusts of wind were the main points of interest. BUT, at least we got out and enjoyed coffee and cake at the clubhouse.

Ride Report 29th Dec 2018: a game of two halves!

This was the last Saturday ride of 2018 and despite forecast of strong and even gale force winds 12 turned up prepared to face whatever the weather could throw at them. And it did! We were joined by Geoff as a guest rider who will probably be joining the club.

If ever there was a compelling case to be made for riding in a compact group this was it. Whatever shelter could be found from the winds was worth seeking out. The first few miles out to Nappa were hard work with our North Westerly route in direct line with where the weather was coming from! You become very aware of the hedgerows and walls and the sudden sideways swipes when passing gates and other gaps.

Occasional bursts of rain were quickly swept away though and from Hellifield onwards we made better progress and arrived at Elaines T room at precisely 1200 as planned. What a great cafe stop this is with plenty of room, speedy service and the ever popular cheesy-chips (to Edwards delight!). Nick succumbed to a huge slice of coffee cake and regretted it all the way back!

Elaines t room 2

The sun shone on us and we set off with the prospect of a tailwind all the way back to Skipton! If the way out was hard work the return trip was more pleasurable as we rolled along at speed to Wigglesworth and down to the river and “up” Flat Lane before crossing the A65 to Otterburn and onto Bell Busk. Christine was determined to bag herself a PB on the segment and even rode back a few hundred yards to start it accurately. Phil had joined us for the last leg on this stretch of the route as he had been unable to set off earlier.

And so we finished off with a Clubhouse coffee and congratulated ourselves on sticking to the plan and enjoying yet another memorable Saturday club ride, the last one of the year!


Ride Report 1/12/19

Phil P writes:

The weather forecast for our first December ride was not looking promising so wasn’t sure how many would turn up to brave the elements, so I was surprised to see 12 people.
I made an executive decision to alter the planned route and go via the gated road to Bolton Abbey then onto Addingham instead of going over Bradley moor and Cringles, the faster group opted to stick with the original route. In Bolton Abbey we had to carry out major emergency repairs to Mark’s mudguards!
The rain varied throughout the first part of the ride with some heavy showers and plenty of that fine stuff that wets you through – as Peter Kay would say.
After Addingham we went to Ilkley, crossed the river and along the back road to Bolton Bridge and back up into Bolton Abbey. At Barden the faster group caught us up as we had got ahead of them due to a puncture early in the ride at Bradley.

Stunning view up the Wharfe valley.

From Barden to Appletreewick and Burnsall into the Wharfeside Café, a café that we rarely use on club rides. It’s under new ownership and has been refurbished and we received a very warm welcome, a god menu with good prices, with free Flapjacks. We will have to go back.
At Burnsall, Mark and Dave headed for home.

Beautiful Burnsall

It’s never easy getting back on the bike in the rain after a good café stop, but we headed back over the river and up to to Hebden and into Grassington, rammed with tourists for the slightly damp Dickensian Christmas festival.

Grassington Christmas festival

We plodded on through to Grasswoods and Conistone, crossed the river, and back down to Threshfield, Linton and Cracoe. At Cracoe we were all getting a bit cold and wet and it didn’t take much of a discussion to go straight back down Grassington Road to town rather than the planned route back via Hetton, Gargrave etc.

Back in Town we descended into the Clubhouse Café for post-ride coffees. Sorry about the wet floor and soggy furniture Kane.

43 wet miles ridden, well done all.
Strava link

Ride Report 26th Nov 2018

Caran S writes

19 riders assembled behind Chevin Cycles this week, maybe some had been put off by the 1433m of climbing over the 50 mile ride, although it could have been the grey, murky morning too! However, the murkiness didn’t last long and it ‘turned out nice again’ once we were up and over Sidegate Lane in Lothersdale. ‘Where?’ I hear you cry, well I’d never heard of it either and I planned the route! It wasn’t the hill I’d intended but a pleasant error, of sorts!
A watery blue sky could be seen and everyone was feeling much warmer by the time we got to a heavenly stretch of new black stuff on the tops at Black Lane Ends. A smooth and sleek descent towards Colne, where we said Bon Voyage to Mark and new rider Matthew – who were off to Café Cargo in Foulridge for a brew. Alas, they failed to find it so goodness knows where they stopped or if they did, they did get home though and Matthew said he may even join us on the 50 miler next time.
The remaining 8 riders continued along Red Lane, a lovely country road that is great to ride on but often plagued by the ‘rat-run’ drivers. On this occasion though it was pretty empty and all was well.
Riding down into Barrowford, we were all trying to remember which right turn to take, luckily we took the right one and another climb (then descent) into Roughlee. Then onwards to Barley, climbing the fabulous road alongside Pendle Hill (famous for being on Doctor Who), which looked splendid in the sunshine. We stopped at the crossroads for a photo and chatted to a few chaps that had climbed up the road that we were (rather sensibly) riding down.

There’s always a bonus or two to climbing a hill, the view from the top and the joy of the descent, we are so lucky to have such varied terrain on our doorstep.
Off we went, following the twists and turns to Downham village – apparently the toilets there are something to behold, next time you’re there pop in! We arrived at Greendale View Café earlier than expected, the faster group had arrived and had the comfort of their own dining room! I apologised to them for the ‘mistake’ hill but they’d enjoyed it anyway and can’t wait to do it again!
After a lovely brunch with lashings of tea, we left the comfort of the log-burner and ventured outside again, brr! It was still sunny outside but you could feel a slight chill in the air so we headed quickly off through Chatburn, Grindleton and Sawley to keep warm. We needn’t have worried though, as there was another climb out of Bolton-by-Bowland towards Wigglesworth, we do like a hill or three! With a right turn towards Settle Lane and Halton West, with no traffic for a change, we joined the main road to Hellifield.
Along familiar, well ridden roads we headed to Airton and the lovely ‘kick’ to Calton, Phil’s fave! Shortly afterwards, Cath got a puncture and several riders wrestled with her tyre to free the busted tube, they managed eventually. Christine headed off alone as the dogs would be cross-legged!
Meanwhile, just down the road, a few of us watched in surprise as a herd of hairy cattle walked up the road towards us! Nobody was leading them, they just appeared but they were scared of us and started running down the hill – towards our puncture people! Cows were going rump over udder all over the place on the slippery road surface, then the farmer arrived on his quad bike but he didn’t seem that bothered when we told him. Apparently he was walking them to Malham!
We reassembled at the wonky Winterburn Bridge, all safe, fully inflated and cow injury free for the home run. We formed a tight group on Grassington Road and stuck together rather impressively, avoiding all those bath tub sized holes and arriving back in town with smiles on our faces. ‘That was such good fun!’ was the first comment and I think it just about summed up the whole ride! Perfect!
Strava link

Ride Report for Wednesday Club Training.21st Nov


Chris G writes:
Moonlight and gritters this week!
Superb night to be out, 28 miler down to Ilkley then Cringles and Steeton.
Worked well as a group tonight, shared effort on front, a few attacks, no mechanicals.
Moderate pace of 17.5 average with no stopping.
Winter….bring it on!
Thanks to all 5 for turning out, great riding.
See you next week.

Strava Link