Way Of The Roses
- 14th September 2011
remnants of Hurricane Katia were reaching the West coast.
2nd stage of the Tour of Britain Cycle Race was due
to leave Kendal for Blackpool at 10:30 that morning.
Met Office said: Very
strong winds are expected across today’s race route
with gusts of up to 75mph along exposed areas on higher
ground and along the coast.
stage was cancelled.
of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said: "In
my thirty years of organising cycling events I have
never once had to cancel a stage before it even started,
so this is not a decision that has been taken lightly.
of the route, including the start at Kendal were more
sheltered but still experienced extremely blustery conditions.
In the main though there were large sections of the
stage where conditions were deemed unsafe by ourselves
as organisers, hence the regrettable decision to cancel
Cavendish and his mates may have bottled out that day
but Yorkshire folk are made of sterner stuff. At 9 a.m.
the same morning Steve Vickers and I left Kendal and
headed for Morecambe where we would start our ride across
the country to Bridlington.
this time last year we had an "interesting"
ride around the Lakes (see BB1035)
and had talked about doing another one. A ride across
the country seemed a good idea so when we heard of the
new route called The
Way of The Roses
it seemed the obvious choice. It starts reasonably
locally, passes through the town where I grew up (York),
and finishes on the Yorkshire Coast.
at least on my part, was virtually non-existent, consisting
of putting a date in the diary and forgetting about
it! More importantly training had also been non-existent
- a couple of 20 mile rides in the 3 months prior to
setting off! But once dates are in diaries things have
to be done.
got together a couple of weeks before to sort things
out. First priority – how to get back? We could, with
2 changes, use the train. The drawback however was that
Northern Rail does not allow pre-booking of bikes. You
turn up and hope that 2 of the 4 potential spaces are
available and not taken by other bikes or disabled passengers!
My experience in 2005 trying to get back from John O’
Groats convinced me this was not a good choice!
on the Roses website we came across a Bridlington based
coach company who would drive us back. A bit more expensive
but at least we’d get on. Problem solved.
2nd job was how to get to Morecambe? Decision – ride
we decided on how far we thought we could do each day
and booked the accommodation. Job done.
so we left Kendal with the wind beginning to strengthen
as we headed south through Natland and Holme towards
Carnforth. On exposed sections the wind tried its best
to knock us sideways but we battled on, taking the Lancaster
canal for a stretch before eventually reaching the sea
at Morecambe. The wind was really blowing in along this
stretch and it was sometimes impossible to look forwards
as the sand was picked up and blasted into our faces.
managed a team photo with Eric Morecambe before battling
further along the front to the start of the route –
23 miles already done.
Eric and Bryan
next 4 miles were much more pleasant as we turned
away from the sea and had the wind behind us along the
cycle track to Lancaster.
Bridge in Lancaster
Caton we saw signs warning of road closures due to the
Tour, but no sign of any people. We stopped at a roadside
café for a bacon butty and cup of tea and were
told of the cancellation. As we came out into more open
moorland around the Bowland fells we began to understand
why. Whilst it was possible to make good time with the
following wind the road sometimes turns and the big
gusts catch you sideways and push you across the road.
Ok for us with time to take it steady but a different
game entirely if you’re in a group of 100 or more riders.
we had other things to think about. We were having to
go up quite few hills as we headed to our day’s finish
at Settle. About 7 miles away I realised I had a slow
puncture. Rather than fix it I pumped it up and carried
on. I did it again twice more before Settle where, whilst
having a cup of tea, I noticed a bike shop across the
road. After 56 hard miles with 1,350 metres of uphill
it was an easy decision to pay £10 for them to
sort it out!
pleasant night was had at the Harts Head. Excellent
food and several pints of Copper Dragon Golden Pippin.
Steve had organised our accommodation based largely
on the CAMRA pub guide, so the beers were local and
good in fact. Next morning I felt a bit rough. A Full
English would soon sort it out I reasoned. It didn’t
and I was to struggle all day.
Not good really because
today was the hills!
leaves our overnight accommodation
bulk of the climbing on this ride is concentrated into
the first 60 miles. We were at mile 34 so you can see
from the profile below what was to come.
started within the first mile. Half a mile later I was
pushing, thankfully for the first and last time, as
we climbed 600 feet over Crake Moor.
Looking back to Settle on climb
up Crake Moor
Steve disappears over the top
wind continued to blow us on our way as we descended,
very carefully because of the sideways gusts, into Airton.
Near there we came across 3 other people doing the route,
although in more luxury. They had no bags as someone
was taking them to each overnight stop. Cheating in
climbing followed to Cracoe where we stopped for a cuppa,
before another climb which took us out of Airedale steeply
down to Burnsall in Wharfedale.
River Wharfe near Burnsall
Bryan presses on
hard miles done and in front of us the 10 mile stretch
with 700 feet of climb over exposed moorland to Pateley
Bridge. This was a hard stretch – straight roads with
vicious crosswinds and a bit more traffic than I would
have liked in those conditions.
On the climb from Burnsall
final climb of the day followed as we headed up towards
Brimham Rocks. It’s an interesting place of strange
weathered rocks that draws flocks of tourists and climbers.
The really interesting areas can only be seen by walking
to them, but we didn’t have time as the rain clouds
were beginning to gather so the photo below is the best
I could get.
traffic was heading for Stump Cross Caverns, a local
We stopped there to shelter behind
a wall for a break before we were able to stop pedalling
for a few miles and use the brakes instead as we dropped
very steeply into Pateley Bridge where we sought out
a café for lunch.
A roadside Brimham Rock!
minutes later and it was bucketing down. We sheltered
under some trees and waited for the worst to pass before
leaving the hills and heading down into Nidderdale and
the Vale of York.
The weather closes in
View across the Vale of York
final 18 miles or so of the day were, thankfully, on
the flat. We dropped off the moor and the route took
us through the delightful grounds of Studley Park, with
stunning views to Ripon Cathedral, which we passed a
few minutes later before reaching, after a 53 mile day
(1,802 metres uphill), our overnight accommodation at
the 13th century Black Bull Inn in Boroughbridge.
Ripon Cathedral from Studley
End of Day 2
my stomach had not recovered from the previous night
so, whilst Steve enjoyed a few pints of the local brew,
I made do with a coke! The food was excellent though
and I managed to force down a very large portion of
haddock and chips.
3 dawned sunny and bright and only light winds. We left
Boroughbridge and headed for York through quite little
villages that I cycled to when I was a young lad to
go fishing, or rather in my case to sit by the river
hours and 20 miles of steady riding brought us to the
centre of York where we stopped for a cup of tea with
old friends of mine, Steve and Linda Whitehead. Their
house faces on to the River Ouse and in the flood of
1982 they, and many hundred other people, were flooded
out. The river had peaked at 16ft 9ins above normal.
Millions were spent in enhancing the flood defences.
The work involved building a containing wall in their
front garden. When a flood alert occurs the Council
come along and bolt the gate to make the barrier complete
(see photo below). The wall allowed for a flood level
of 18ft, a level not reached since 1625. In 2000 it
got very close – 17ft 9ins - and water was lapping the
coping stones on top of the wall.
the Whitehead’s we passed York Minister and headed out
towards Stamford Bridge along quiet roads and even on
bridleways through fields.
Tea on the veranda in York
Interesting section of the
Bridge is famous for the battle between King Harold
of England and Harold Hardrada of Norway in 1066. It
is said that winning this battle left him weakened militarily
and lead to his defeat later that year at Hastings.
us it was the place for a cheese and tomato sandwich
before pressing on to Pocklington and the start of the
Wolds. The next 10 miles or so were a delight. Although
we were climbing it was much easier than in the Dales
and the views were so different with big skies and rolling
Tour de France?
too soon it was over and we finished the final few miles
(66 miles / 1054 metres today) to Driffield for our
overnight stay, and to begin our search for Wold Top.
Steve’s Camra guide had assured him this was the local
beer to drink. Unfortunately the pub we were staying
in only served Greene King IPA. We had a pint of this
but he deemed it unsatisfactory and the search commenced.
After some wandering we came across a hotel bar that
served the said beverage and there we stayed. Personally
I thought the IPA was better, but who am I to argue
with an aficionado! The food was good though!
breakfast the next day we were away for the last few
miles to Bridlington. Steve rang our transport man to
see if there was any chance of an early pickup? He said
he could do 2pm, an offer we accepted gratefully.
decided to extend our last day by leaving the route
and heading North to take in some more of the Wolds
In the Wolds near Burton Fleming
we turned South East and rolled into Bridlington under
lovely blue skies and headed along the front to the
finish after a 29 mile (430 metres uphill) day.
Bridlington comes into sight
cycle speedo tells me we had done 212.89 miles at an
average speed of 11.1 mph and a maximum speed of 34.6mph.
However these miles are now known as ‘Hardaker miles’
because Steve’s GPS tells a slightly different story.
According to this we did 203.4 miles with 4,636 metres
of uphill, at an average of 11.3 miles and 258 metres
transport turned up on time and less than 4 hours later
we were back in Kendal. Despite my *gypy stomach* day
I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. It takes in such varied
country and when the weather is good (which it was generally
for us despite the hurricane!) there is no grander place
than Yorkshire! Shame the Tour lads missed it!
15th September 2011
Route: Click on picture for an enlargement
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Way Of The Roses
- 14th September
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