TOURING OVERVIEW - NORTH YORKSHIRE
Emphatically claimed to be England's largest county, this popular area must have the most diverse topography of them all, with hills, moors, dales, coast and broad vales that embrace the many other built features of interest.
In more detail the county can be split into two National Parks (North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales), two AONBs, (Howardian Hills and Nidderdale) added to the broad Vales of Mowbray, Pickering and York, the rolling Yorkshire Wolds, Heritage Coast, and the South Pennines. It includes spa towns, Harrogate, Ripon and Scarborough, the latter being also the county's main coast resort. A wealth of market towns are attractive in themselves but also function well as "touring bases", notably Skipton (Gateway to the Dales) Richmond with its impressive castle, and Malton close to both moors and wolds. Everything is there for the intrepid cyclist.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The county is overflowing with abbeys, castles, stately homes, museums or galleries, battlefields, industrial and railway heritage, waterfalls, rivers, caves, idyllic villages and picturesque harbours. Central in the county is the ancient City of York with its Roman, Viking and medieval artefacts, that might best be visited at quieter times, but is a reasonable base town. There is also one of Britain's smallest cities, Ripon with its majestic cathedral, Georgian houses, market square and nearby Newby Hall. Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal deer park. The western dales includes the Three Peaks and limestone areas with caves, potholes, cliffs and waterfalls.
Pastoral Wensleydale is arguably the prettiest and broadest dale with its Bolton and Middleham castles. The lower dales might be easier cycling country taking in Northallerton, Bedale, Masham and Knaresborough. Railway enthusiasts can enjoy Haworth & Bronte country using the Worth Valley Railway, while North Yorkshire Moors Railway is another heritage line that winds its way for 18 miles through a glacial valley to Goathland, known best for TV filming. The more recently opened Wensleydale line takes you to Redmire from A1at Leeming Bar, thus avoiding the A684.
WHERE TO CYCLE
As noted above, the area is diverse and parts of it can be formidable at times, even to the seasoned rider, especially when winds blow hard and rain drives from many directions. Both National Parks have deep dales with fairly high passes, up to 2000 ft., between them, but can all be tackled by confident cyclists who are happy to allow sufficient time and know their limitations. Most of the major western dales have a choice of roads or lanes up either side with a number of crossing points along the route.
The North York Moors rise to 1400 ft., with three or four roads that cross north-south, Rudland Rigg being a popular rough-stuff route that links with the contour-hugging Rosedale Railway path. Eskdale runs east-west from the coast at Whitby and accommodates the rural branch line as well as devious lanes linking the many hamlets. On the coast, cyclists can share with horses and walkers, the coastal railway path (NCN route 1) with its easy gradients and fine views of the North Sea south of Whitby. The Sustrans White Rose Route (NCN 65) is also worth following between Selby/Stamford Bridge and Osmotherly with its youth hostel and lively pubs.
Some of the class A roads are not too busy apart from commuter times, but trunk roads are best avoided apart from short stretches where cycle facility might be provided, eg A64. There are a number of other "ready-made" routes, including both Pennine Bridleway and Pennine Cycle Route, a Coast To Coast route using youth hostels, and the National Byway. Parts of the Cleveland Way (a national trail) have bridleway designation and are suitable for ATB use. Above all, the message is - come well-equipped, but not over-burdened. A number of Leisure Cycling Routes have been published by local CTC, some of them accessible on the Club website.