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10 Cycling musts for Harrogate

10 Cycling musts for Harrogate

by John Light, Visit Harrogate Cycling Enthusiast.

This year Harrogate will welcome the world of cycling when the UCI Road World Champions take place in Yorkshire, with every race ending in Harrogate alongside the Stray. 

Since the Tour de France came to visit in 2014 Harrogate and surrounding countryside has been at the heart of the Yorkshire cycling renaissance.   Here are 10 things round Harrogate every cyclist should do when they visit!

1 Cycle between Ripley and Knaresborough – The surfaced cycle routes of the Beryl Burton Cycle Way and Nidderdale Greenway offer relaxing traffic free cycle routes between Harrogate, Knaresborough and the village of Ripley, with a mix of woodland, railway viaducts and riverside riding.

2 Climb the ‘Côte de Lofthouse’ – One of Nidderdale’s ‘Killer Climbs’, this brutal ascent featured on the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire Women’s race and returns in September’s World Championships for the Women Elite Road Race. 

In 2017 local legend Lizzie Deignan made her infamous attack on the steepest ramp of the hill and it will play a key part in September’s race.  The summit offers remarkable views along Nidderdale and the climb can be ridden as part of an enjoyable 30 mile loop  from Pateley through Lofthouse and Masham.

3 Stop and enjoy a delicious coffee at the cycle café and shop – Prologue, with a range of delicious treats, loads of expert advice and a well-stocked shop where you can peruse the latest kit and pick up spares.  Those on knobbly tyres can find a similar welcome at Stif Cycles in Summerbridge where there is always coffee on and a chat just waiting to be had.

4 Ride the Length of Nidderdale.  The Nidderdale valley makes for a beautiful road ride and if you start from Harrogate or Ripley you can ride the length of it and see how the landscape subtly changes the further up the valley you go. 

As you leave Lofthouse turn right and follow the road to Scar House reservoir along the route of the old Nidd Valley Light Railway to the very top of the valley.  For refreshments pop into the How Stean Gorge Café with its glass floors looking down 80ft to the Gorge floor.

5 Tour of Nidderdale Mountain Bike Ride – The off-road alternative of No. 4 there are many versions, but the most popular has you begin in Pateley Bridge and ride up through Bewerley and the lead mines before traversing the fields up to Lofthouse and Middlesmoor before tackling the rugged terrain of the upper valley and moors.  With technical descents and rough climbs, this 30-mile loop is a test of the legs, loved by locals and visitors alike.

6 A long solo ride across the Moors.  Cycling offers a chance for silent reflection and escape.  You will rarely feel this more than when you are riding across the open moors with a long unending road stretching out in front of you.  Just you, the road ahead and the sky above you.  Feel your problems become as distant as the horizon and your heart rate begin to synchronise with your peddling, all to the background noise of curlews and lapwings.  Good examples of this are the roads around Thruscross Reservoir or from Dallowgill to Pateley Bridge.

7 Stainburn Forest.  Widely regarded as one of the most technical mountain bike trails in the UK for challenge per mile Stainburn packs a lot onto a small hill; with different options for each lap this is a trail for numerous laps where riders can choose the challenge and options that suit them.

8 Swintsy Reservoir.  Yorkshire Water have an added a number of permissive bridleways that make for great family cycling through the woods by the Swintsy Reservoir car park.  This traffic free environment is ideal for youngsters and the short section of dedicated mountain bike trail offers experienced riders a woodland playground to challenge their skills.

9 The Devils Toenail, Wetherby.  This newly opened bike park in the centre of Wetherby offers jump lines, rock gardens and a pump track, accessible by the waymarked Red Kite cycle routes this facility offers something for riders of all ages.

10 Watch the World Championships here in Harrogate this September!   Join us to Welcome the world and watch the UCI Road World Championships here in Harrogate this September.  Every race ends in Harrogate and many take in laps of our challenging finishing circuit so there are great places to watch each race every day.  Local businesses are getting involved and hosting special events, big bike brands and live entertainment across Harrogate throughout the championships.  In September you will be able to see what is taking place each day by visiting visitharrogate.co.uk/WorldsEvents

Find more about cycling in the Harrogate area here.

Find out more about the Yorkshire 2019 championships on worlds.yorkshire.com

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