Skipton’s club for all road cyclists, whether just getting into cycling as a sport, experienced racer or anything in between! Here you will find news updates on club events and activities as well as an introduction to riding with the club.
A large group assembled on Saturday morning behind Chevin Cycles for a wander up Wharfedale, my favourite ride. I could happily ride up there everyday. The weather forecast was favourable. Unusually there was no fast group and no takers for the 30 miler, so 19 of us set off towards Embsay and Bolton Abbey. I made a quick call to Zarina’s to update her with an accurate number for our lunch stop. We then headed to Barden, Appletreewick and Burnsall . Onwards to Kilnsey where we turned off up Littondale to Arncliffe. We doubled back down the dale and then onto Kettlewell. We arrived at Zarina’s in Kettlewell a little early and she was already quite full. Im glad that I’d booked us in advance as she quickly had us all seated and taking our orders.
After lunch we swiftly spun down the back road through Conistone and past Grass Woods to Grassington where we were taken back in time by people dressed in full 1940s costumes and paraphernalia: it was the annual 40’s weekend.
Onwards to Linton, Cracoe, Flasby, Gargrave and then finally over the hill to Broughton, Carleton and home. 14 of us then descended on the Clubhouse Cafe for coffee and brownies.
A great ride out, with weather and cafe to order.
Well, the weather proved to be much better than forecast and this, as well as the route, proved to be a big draw for those out today. 20 odd members were joined by 2 newby guests Delia and Steve. Both were experienced cyclists but new to us! It was nice to see Simon out again on a club ride after a long absence.
We managed to get nearly every one assembled for 9.30 so that we could make a prompt getaway but there are always one or two who have issues with time keeping! They know who they are.
Only 3 opted for the 30 miler. 10 set off at a faster pace and the rest followed. All were following the same route up to the turn off for Halton West. Kevan and Martyn joined the ride at Gargrave. Then between Bank Newton and Swinden the first mechanical of the day occured when Will suffered a rear wheel puncture.
The sun shone all the way to Tosside via Grunsagill and those that had chosen warmer gear were beginning to feel the heat.
A cafe stop had been booked at the Vicarage tearoom at Tosside and the faster group sped their way to arrive a full 30 minutes earlier than planned. They were just finishing when the rest arrived but by then the warmth of the sun enabled these later arrivals to sit outside and admire the extensive views to the south and west.
The route took us across the expanse of Rathmell and Giggleswick Commons to the wonderfully named Wham. Apart from the unlikely connections with the 80s rock group a little research informs disappointingly, that it’s “old English” for “the marshy valley or hollow’’.
This stretch of the route gives views great across to Penyghent , Ingelborough and all the lesser hills around Settle and Clapham.
It’s a real pleasure to travel these 4 or 5 miles to Giggelswick station on quiet lanes with little or no traffic to worry about before it dishes us up on the A65 for a short distance.
From here we followed the wide road to Rathmell and onto Wiggelsworth in good order with Caran and John setting the pace. Up Flat Lane (that isn’t), and onto Hellifield next. At Otterburn an excited discussion began amongst some of the women in the group focusing on the question of the Strava QOM for the stretch to Bell Busk. Without much delay off they went at pace leaving others trailing behind. Di and Caran respectively achieved 3rd and 6th fastest women times. So as a result so they will probably be trying their hand in next week’s faster paced group (or maybe not!)
After that the rest of the ride back to Skipton was done at a more normal speed. We finished off the afternoon’s activity in the Clubhouse with the excellent brownies that Kane imports from Leeds.
Only 4 of us did the shorter club ride today which was described as a 30 miler as opposed to the other ride today to Wetherby which was nearly 70 and on which the majority set off in 2 groups led by Caran.
We followed the same route through Embsay and Bolton Abbey and along the back road as far as Cockpit Farm near Otley. This back road is a veritable highway of cyclists heading up the dale: riders in club groups, in 2 or 3s or on their own. It was good to see so many youngsters out with these groups too.
Happily despite the notices about road dressing we didn’t have to contend with those evil grey chippings on still wet tar. That will be something to tackle in the near future no doubt. It seems recently that most of the roads and back lanes favoured by local cyclists have been “dressed”: what an inappropriate word that is to describe the ugliness that it is.
We said adieu to the 50 /70 milers and visited Cockpit Farm café for coffee and cake al fresco (too early for lunch). We decided to abandon the planned return route as we had arrived comparatively early and all had time to consider extending the way back. Kevan had to make his way back home up the dale whereas Andy, Jayne and me worked out a hillier option returning via West Chevin, Ilkley Moor and down Cow and Calf, through Addingham and over Cringles to Draughton and home to Skipton down Otley Road.
It was a ride of 2 halves with the rolling valley bottom to start with and then climbing up the other side. So we all felt that we had done a good ride and had extended the distance to nearly 40 which all goes to show that you can get in a decent ride locally without spending a lot of time doing it.
We were blessed today with some of the best weather so far this year and it was reflected in the turnout of members at Chevin, all fit and raring to go! The featured ride was another extended distance with a route of 70 miles over the Cross of Greet from Slaidburn. It needs to be attempted on a decent day and today it was.
18 opted for this route and a further half dozen did the shorter one as far as Halton West. This group, led by Di, was joined by guest riders, Fiona and Paul. So keen was John, that he flew back from India just to get out on his bike in the sunshine and enjoy some good, fresh, northern air!
The faster group, numbering 10, set off ahead picking up Kevan waiting at Gargrave. Making their way to the Riverbank Tearooms at Slaidburn, they arrived about 1130. Advance booking proved to be a wise call as the place was vey busy. The women in this group had apparently set a lively pace to this point!
The other group of 8 riders arrived about 30 mins later and had to join a queue out of the door to order their food. Strangely, just has Steve parked up his bike, the front wheel punctured with a loud hiss. With Rick’s help this was speedily repaired in time his consume eggs on toast! Service at the tearooms was good today despite the large numbers arriving for lunch.
The climb of Cross of Greet is in “100 Greatest Climbs” page 79,
So it has a bit of a reputation that means it must be tackled at some point in a cyclist’s life or there has to be a good reason why it hasn’t!
It”s like the climb over Buttertubs from the Hawes side with some sharp bits but generally not too demanding. [See this link for more info about the climb and some background : Cycling uphill
Edward was “Cross” when he reached the top!
Although the view of the 3 Peaks and the Lakeland hills from the summit was obscured by haziness, there was a real sense of altitude gained and wide open space. After a catch up and a photo call we descended to Mewith Lane and the way back to Giggleswick Station and the A65. The descent from the top is fast and thankfully the tarmac isn’t too bad, adding to the fun!
With the temptation of a second cafe stop at Hazy Days in mind, we pressed onto Hellifield via Rathmell and Wigglesworth in good order. Water bottles and energy needed topping up, so we were more than a little disappointed to find that the cafe had shut at 3! However Karl came to the rescue with an invite to his place on the route back.
Coffee, tea and Haribos were on the menu and were gratefully consumed fuelling the last few miles back home.
So a memorable day out with a sense of achievement and more than a few very happy cyclists.
The 50 miler this week was a 70 miler! Taking advantage of the longer days and the spring weather (we thought!). Today’s was a “special” to Wetherby. This route has the bonus of the extra distance without too much more effort than our usual 50 would involve. The numbers who turned up this morning were surprisingly low and only 7 set off on the longer route with a similar number undertaking the shorter distance route to Weston.
One of the challenges of a club ride to Wetherby is to find a cafe that will accommodate us all. However Caran, who was leading the ride, persisted and just when it looked as though we were going to have sit outside, she swooped on 3 newly vacated tables inside. I think the sight of us lycra clad and mud spattered individuals may have distracted the “ladies lunching” there.
A recurring feature of recent club rides has been mechanical breakdowns and today was no exception with Simon suffering a rear tyre puncture at Farnley and Mike, for the second week in succession, limping back to Skipton with only one gear working after a cable snapped. The toll that winter takes out on our bikes!
Around the Lowe Wharfe valley there are frequent sightings of the red kites that live in Harwood estate and today we were treated to several close ups. As they only consume carrion we were safe from these impressive predators as long as we kept moving!
We returned at some pace along the back road with Christine taking the front wheel and giving us a helpful tow into a staff breeze.
Another challenging route for those who like to go up and do it in Lancashire. Actually for once the weather was better there than in Skipton with dry roads and some brightness. The poor weather saw a drop in expected numbers with only 7 undertaking the longer route and about the same on the shorter one. We were joined by a guest rider who was no slouch on her Canyon and who we hope will be applying for membership.
Today’s leader Rick nearly always goes West for the quieter roads and today was no exception. We followed a familiar line up to Hellifield through Eshton and Bell Busk and then from Wigglesworth down to near Bolton by Bowland. From there the roads began to slant up and soon we were ascending Waddington Fell from the north side. Then our mechanical issues started with both Mike and Rick suffering form dysfunctional free hubs within 50 yards of each other. What chance of it happening like that? Thankfully both managed to get to the top of the climb without any further problems but not for long. Our Cafe stop at the Country Kitchen in Waddington was amazingly quick as we were the only customers and so we were served within minutes of our arrival!
Setting off from Waddington and heading for Clitheroe in an increasing headwind was a bit of a surprise because we hadnt noticed it pushing us along on the outward run. Isn’t that always the case though?
Rick and MIke’s problems worsened and on the outskirts of Clitheroe, Mike had to abandon, hoping he could be rescued by his family. (He subsequently reported he was safe and sound at home).
After the ups and downs of Twiston Lane from Downham, we topped out on Brogden Lane with its long distance views to Penyghent and Ingleborough and the welcome descent to Barnoldswick. It was here that Rick’s freehub finally gave in and with some assistance and scooting reached “Barlick” and made a rescue calls home. He too was safely at home within the hour,
So from a start list of 7 only 3 made the return to Skipton ( one turned off home near Broughton). A real Agatha Christie Script?
The promising weather forecast for today tempted out a large number of members for today’s rides which Caran had created to make sure that we made the most of the opportunity! The 30 milers had the climb out of Malham up Goredale Lane to look forward to. The 50 milers had this and then up and over to Halton Gill from Stainforth having descended into Ribblesdale down Langcliffe Brow! There was particular joy for Simon T who claimed the climb out of Malham as his biggest since getting back on his bike! A cafe stop at the Old Barn Cafe was justified reward for our efforts. We then finished off with the rolling route to Winterburn and a tidy return along the Grassington Road.
It makes a change to be able to record a ride that was done in weather that at times was positively spring like. Clearly sufficient club members thought the effort worthwhile as a total of 22 turned up at Chevin for the 2 rides. 8 opted for the 30 miler that was led by Phil and 13 undertook the 50 miler led by Steve. A new rider Rob introduced himself and went on the short route. Caran joined at Elslack riding on her expensively repaired bike and Rick caught up with us at the Swan in Carleton. Both rides were following the same route as far as the Hellifield Road junction above Paythorne. I’m told that the 30 milers had a cafe stop at Hazy Days and again at the end of the ride at Bean Loved!
This junction seemed to be club ride central as the 20 odd of us were joined by a dozen or more cyclists from another club. We parted company with the 30 milers and rode onto Bolton by Bowland for the traditional toilet stop there.
We had already had our fair share of potholed roads up to this point but the climb of Holden Lane to the Slaidburn Road was further evidence of the crumbling infrastructure and dangerous conditions on Lancashire’s roads. Can they be worse that NYCC? Today’s evidence suggests Yes!
This long climb split the group in to two and at the catch up the faster lads and lass set off to get to the cafe stop at Slaidburn. We had booked ahead but this didn’t seem to have much effect on the speed of service which was both slow and confusing. Drinks were served first followed by food, eventually. The sausage sandwiches were the slowest even though ordered first and were not of very good quality. It was a surprise when Mark reported that he could pay with his Apple Pay app!
Those who hadn’t visited Slaidburn before were somewhat fazed that the extra miles to the cafe from the top of the hill had to be ridden back up hill to do the second half of the ride back to Tosside and Wigglesworth, The effort of climbing up the hills all the way back to Tosside took its toll of those who had opted for sausage sandwiches as the group was straddled across about half a mile when we had a catch up. There are obviously some lessons to be learnt from this. Reconsider sausage sandwiches for lunch before riding up a hill or let non-sausage eaters have their head and forget about catch ups!
The exhilarating descent from Tosside down to Wigglesworth and the River Ribble beyond is one of the writers favourite stretches of road as speed is built up and sustained for about 2 or 3 miles.
From Hellifield we cut across to Otterburn, Bell Busk and over to Eshton before the final ever “popular” hill to Broughton and the A59 along to Heslaker and then a coffee in Bean Loved. to finish off.
54 miles and over 4000′ of climbing but a great day out!
About 10 club members met at Chevin this morning: a reflection on the forecasted weather which turned out to be worse as constant rain fell accompanied by an increasingly strong wind! The numbers split fairly evenly into the 50 and 30 miles ride distances. All set off together up the Grassington road and then via Hetton and on to Winterburn and Hellifield via Bell Busk and Otterburn. The roads are in a pretty poor state now requiring constant vigilance and frequent call-outs of ‘Hole or Gravel, or water.” The numerous water filled holes make cycling on the country lanes a bit of a gamble and following a middle of the road line is the smartest move in these conditions. Both groups regrouped at Hazy Days and here the 30 milers took a break to enjoy the low fires warmth and free hot drinks (with food orders) that Hazy Days offers cyclists. The 50 milers took off to make their ways to Tosside to their cafe stop where they had to arrive before 1.00 as a Hen Party was booked in! Hopefully the arrival of men ( and 2 women) in wet lycra didn’t detract from their celebrations! Hopefully we will get a first hand account of the 50-ers experience. ( Thats a hint!). We set off again into the rain and strengthening wind heading for Nappa and that ever “popular” ascent over the railway bridge to Swinden Hall and eventually on to Gargrave. Typically the rain stopped for the last few miles of the day with a strong tailwind propelling us along the A59 and down Heslaker to Carleton. On refection, finishing a ride like this is much more rewarding than setting out. No-one opted for a Bean Love debrief. Roll on the improving weather!
A massive turn out for this year’s festive ride, with about 40 riders arriving at Chevin Cycles. There were Santa hats, Christmas jumpers, a few elves, a fairy and a Christmas pudding too! The ‘Big Elf’ turned up with a few extra supplies for those who thought they’d escape the dressing up!
Everyone was in a great mood and the weather was especially kind, considering the previous week’s weather, so off we went!
Splitting into several smaller groups, we made our way up Grassington Road towards Linton, lots of friendly waves and horn tooting on our way too. From Linton to Grassington and following the Grass Woods Road to Conistone and Kettlewell.
Zarina was well prepared for us, even though the café was overflowing! The ‘emergency chairs’ made an appearance and it was a pretty tight squeeze, some of the early arrivals had to give up their seats after their food so that the later ones could sit down. A couple of late arrivals, Roy and just as we were leaving, Simon T, pushed the numbers up even further. Zarina and her team did a great job feeding us all whilst shimmying between the crowded tables and emergency chairs
After that, we set off along the back road again to Conistone then diverted to the Tennants Arms at Kilnsey for a refreshments and a warm by the log fire, then off we went again.
Our next stop was in Threshfield, the Old Hall, where we practically took over the pub, then we set off again to our final call at the Devonshire Arms at Cracoe, for a nice cup of tea or something.
Throughout the day there was banter and good cheer, for some riders it was their first Christmas ride, I think they really enjoyed it as much as all the regulars!
It’s always good to see members turning out for this ride, not sure we’d find a café for that number each Saturday but you never know!