This accessible cross-country mountain bike loop combines quiet country lanes with bridleways and tracks for a rolling ten mile circuit around lower Nidderdale.
The route starts from Stif Cycles in Summerbridge and can be completed in 60 to 90 minutes depending on rider speed and ability.
Start: Stif Cycles, Summerbridge. Length: 10 miles (15.5km). Difficulty: moderate.
A few laps of the car park to loosen the legs, is not the worst idea here as the ride kicks off with a significant track climb up the north side of Nidderdale. Once up it will begin to level as you leave the woods and continue alongside fields passing a farmstead and emerging onto one of the quiet back lanes.
A sweeping road descent drops you down, hopefully now warmed up for the big technical challenge on this ride*. In Smelthouses you turn right onto a private road, and right again on to a rough loose and stony bridleway.
For those with stamina in their legs and good balance, the goal of cleaning this climb may still take a few attempts while you learn the lines and work out how you’ll tackle the various challenges of this 1km section.
*If you prefer a gentler ride without technical challenge you can turn right as you join the lane after the first track, and take in a road climb instead.
Whether victorious on the technical section or not, you will almost certainly be feeling it in your legs by the time you emerge onto road. From here there are a few miles of undulating lane around the natural wonder that is Brimham Rocks before turning east along quiet roads that have a pleasing swoop about them.
While riding is not permitted across the Brimham Rocks site, cyclists are welcomed at the visitor centre which can be access by a track from the car park, and offers ice cream and other refreshments.
The next part of the route returns to the country tracks as you begin your way back to Summerbridge, dropping down from High Gill Moor, and passing remote and idyllic cottages.
A short gentle road climb is followed by the last descent, a short sharp grassy affair that will put a smile on your face before you emerge onto road just above the pub in Summerbridge.
At the crossroads go straight on dropping down to the river and turning right just before the bridge and making your way back to Stif along a low track that follows the river.
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