Yorkshire. Home of the Yorkshire Pudding, the Brontës, proper brews and the UCI World Championships 2019. The riding is hard but rewarding and bleak but spectacular. If you're heading to Harrogate and willing to brave the weather, check out these epic routes that exhibit the best of Yorkshire!
1) Otley - Ilkley - Bolton Abbey
This 88-kilometre route takes in a host of Yorkshire Dales hotspots. The smaller towns and villages are the essence of Yorkshire, with distinct stone cottages and buzzing local markets. Take the undulating lanes south of Harrogate to Otley, home of the Otley GP and local road & cyclocross smasher Tom Pidcock. If you're unfortunate enough to need some mechanical assistance this early - unlucky! But Chevin Cycles in Otley will be happy to help you!
If you have a tailwind, the ride from Otley to Ilkley will be no problem. This Spa town is vibrant with cycling culture, with plenty of Cafes, bike shops and also the largest cycling club in the UK - Ilkley CC!
The back roads then take you north to Bolton Abbey, a 12th-century Augustinian monastery with a popular cafe, along with many other pubs and shops. After a quick stop, the roads get grippier and even more beautiful as you ride into the heart of the Dales.
A steep, gruelling climb out of Appletreewick will burn the legs, whilst also opening up vistas of the moors around you. After the climb, the 25 kilometres back to Harrogate are mainly downhill - however there is a couple of steep climbs along the way.
As mentioned, you won't struggle to find a place to stop for coffee on this ride. However a good recommendation would be The Commute Cycle Cafe in Ilkley, which serves good coffee in a cycling specific cafe. A popular cafe with the locals and frequented by many local pros!
Ideal for a short ride when you only have 2 hours to kill. This route is a flatter option, however the lanes will still undulate the whole way! These roads are mainly smaller lanes, so great for a steadier explore of the area.
In Wetherby there is plenty of pubs and cafes, as well as being the start town for the para-cycling time trials. Riding to Wetherby is also a great option if you want to watch the junior road races!
3) Otley - Norwood Edge
An iconic taste of the women's elite road-race. Take in the savage roads around Otley before dropping into the town for a quick coffee!
Then tackle Norwood Edge, an amazingly horrible climb that is 1.8ks in length at 9%. A British muur, to ride this wall you have to descend past the beautiful Lindley Wood Reservoir, however put it in your little ring as the first part of the climb is the steepest. After inevitably going into the red, you will be suffering the whole way to the summit.
Brodie Mai Chapman recently took the QOM on the Strava segment, clearly in preparation for the Worlds this weekend. Norwood Edge will undoubtedly see fireworks on Saturday and will be an early opportunity for a long attack. You will also be able to ride to Norwood and then to Harrogate in time to see the finish!
Drop into Otley and check out Bloomfield Square! This cosy cafe has a selection of delicious cakes and sandwiches along with superb coffee.
4) Knaresborough - Ripley
Taking in the roads around Killinghall, this route takes in many of the roads that will be used during the week as riders approach Harrogate. At just 32-kilometres, you can squeeze this ride in before a day of watching the events.
The route is also fairly flat, with only a few minor ramps, giving a good taste of what the Yorkshire roads are like!
If you want a quick cafe stop you may find somewhere on the route but you'll have more choice if you stop at the end of your ride in Harrogate!
Prologue Cycling Cafe would be the top choice. The cafe is spot on - and you'll have plenty to look at with a selection of Colnago, Cervelo and Pinarello bikes on show.