Bike Rides and Tours

The Yorkshire Dales Cycle Way

A superb but challenging 210km (130 mile) circular route visiting most of the major dales in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It can be started at any point, or divided into sections to suit your fitness.

I planned my excursion, to ride the YDCW in three days, my overnight stays in YHA hostels at Malham, Hawes and Kettlewell. I have to say this worked very well for me.

The landscape is fantastic, even idyllic as the route wends its way through dales, many steeper sections over the high points saw me pushing my bike but it didn't detract from the experience. After all, the Yorkshire Dales is a wonderful place to be and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

It was also nice to ride sections in Swaledale along the Tour de France route, be it at a much slower pace!

I found the route well signed. Of course there are a number of maps available, a good on-line resource is the website cyclethedales.ork.uk, click the link here

The Irish Sea Cycle Route

If you are up for a big cycle tour, The Irish Sea Cycle Route might be for you. It's 1075 miles long cycle route through Wales, England and Scotland before crossing the Irish Sea for the leg through Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The Irish Sea is defined by four points on land. My research started at The International Hydrographic Organization which defines the limits of the Irish Sea as follows:

To the North ... 'a line joining the South extreme of the Mull of Galloway (54°38'N) in Scotland and Ballyquintin Point (54°20'N) in Ireland'.

and to the South ... 'a line joining St. David's Head (51°54′N 5°19′W) to Carnsore Point (52°10′N 6°22′W).

There are convenient ferry ports close by to the limits of the route, a regular service runs from Cairnryan to Belfast or Larne. There's a ferry service from Fishguard to Rosslare making a full tour logistically possible as well as ambitious.

It must be regarded as a formidable challenge. However, it doesn't have to be tackled as an expedition, the Irish Sea Cycle Route can be ridden in shorter tours such as each country or part of a country, or even shorter sections as day rides. It is and will be whatever you make it

I started this project in 2015, mapping the route and riding the sections close to home. In 2016, I rode the route through Wales, England and Scotland, so the route on the eastern shore of the Irish Sea is now fixed, it's all mapped and available on the website www.irishseacycleroute.com, click the link here

It was my intention to ride and ratify the route through Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in 2017 but funds are proving a little difficuly, so I will have to postpone this section for maybe next year.

I hope this inspires you to ride it!

Lakes Loops

The Lake District is a superb place for cycling, in 2015, I rode to Grasmere (staying at the YHA Hostel). I picked out a couple of appealing routes that gave me two completely different experiences.

My first route virtually circumnavigated Wainwrights Eastern Fells (Book One), well apart from the Mell Fells, keeping the Helvellyn Range on the same shoulder all day.

It rolled alongside six lakes and over four passes including Kirkstone Pass and Dunmail Raise. Most of the route is on quiet roads, it happens to include some sections of the 2016 Tour of Britain route.

My second route was on back lanes most of the way and proved delightful. From Grasmere, I went along familiar roads through Clappersgate to Skelwith Fold, then Wray bypassing Hawkshead before an excursion down the western shore of Windermere to Newby Bridge. A jiggle westward to pick up the road on the east side of Coniston Water brought me back to Skelwith Bridge before a steep descent of Red Bank into Grasmere.

The videos will give you a taste, I hope they inspire you.

Historical Loops from Lancashire Daily Post, 1943

I've had this tin with these newspaper cuttings since I was ten years old, that's over fifty years! I suppose even then I was reluctant to throw anything away, it's funny how such notions define us.

In the tin are several newspaper cuttings from The Lancashire Daily Post in 1943, at the height of the 2nd World War. Each bike ride was penned by 'Rudge' and provided a healthy diversion for some exercise with a sense that normal life carries on despite the war.

I decided to ride a couple of routes, the roads are probably wider now and with a different surface, however, I found it interesting to imagine how much or indeed how little, things have changed.

I hope you find the videos of interest and the old newspaper cuttings are a good excuse to 'get out on the bike'!