The Rides

Picking up an additional 2 climbs in the North York Moors

I’m a bit of a fan of the North York Moors for cycling. Plenty of good hills, not too far away from Peterborough (under 3 hours), quieter than many of the other National Parks and stunning scenery. So I put together a ‘big day out’ route, gathered a couple of mates and off we headed.

To be honest, I’d hoped to drum up a bit more interest and head out with a group of around 6 riders but due to other commitments and a lot of wimping out several people couldn’t make it on this occasion. So there we were, the remaining  3 eager riders, in the village hall car park of Coxwold prepping our bikes for the off.

Joe and Colin heading off towards the first hill
Joe and Colin heading off towards the first hill

My personal aims for this ride were two fold. I wanted to show off the NYM and provide an enjoyable but tough ride for my friends. I also wanted to bag the 2 additional NYM climbs from the 100 UK climbs book that were still outstanding. I had ridden up Rosedale Chimney and Carlton Bank already but I hadn’t had the pleasure of  White Horse Bank and Boltby Bank yet.

It’s a great route if you fancy a tough hilly day out. For anyone heading from the south like me, Coxwold provides a good starting point just outside the National Park and not too far from the A1. It doesn’t provide a great deal of time to warm up though, quickly presenting you with a view of the first climb and the white horse on the hillside from which this first climb gets its name.

White Horse Bank
White Horse Bank

I had planned a KOM style contest for this event but with only three of us and half of the first climb under our rubber it became quite apparent the order in which we’d finish. Colin admitted he was not as strong as Joe and me and Joe didn’t have the legs to challenge me on this occasion and that became the order over the top on this and also the subsequent climbs.  Leaving me with three 1sts, Joe with three 2nds and Colin with three 3rds; needless to say, I didn’t bother totting up the points!

Having set off from Coxwold at 10 am, lunch came at about 1 in the afternoon courtesy of the café at Lord Stones County Park. An ideal place to stop if you’re ever up that way, lots of outdoor seating and a good selection of food. You can also stock up on energy supplies to take with you by means of the attached shop. I wouldn’t recommend their pork pies for ‘on the bike’ snacking though, as good as I’m sure they are.

The entrance to lunch
The entrance to lunch

In between White Horse Bank and lunch though were two other obstacles. These go by the name of Boltby Bank and Carlton Bank. The latter you can afford to take at full effort because lunch is literally at the summit. That’s not to say that it’s an easy climb though. It’s an elevation gain of 199 m over 2 km; after all you don’t get into a ‘100 UK climbs’ book by being a short gentle rise.  What it is, however, is one of my favourite UK climbs with some fantastic scenery especially looking to your left out from the moors to the low lands below.  It’s also currently a fantastic surface to ride on having been re-laid with the smooth black stuff, none of those nasty rough chippings here.

Carlton Bank
Carlton Bank

Carlton Bank is slightly less fierce than Boltby though. Hitting 25% and not providing any true respite anywhere up its 161 metres, Boltby Bank is a proper British climb. You won’t find much in the way of switchbacks or bends of any kind as the sadistic road builders chose the most direct route up, irrespective of the gradient.  But fight our way up we did and my 8 mins 10 secs was quite a reasonable time leaving me 502nd out of 1686 on Strava.  You just need to take a look at that gradient profile to get an idea of the relentless punishment in store for those that are brave or foolish enough to take it on.

Boltby Bank
Boltby Bank

Following lunch we took an impromptu meeting to discuss ‘freshness of leg’ and whether to continue on the full route or whether to cut it short by taking the B1257 back to Helmsley and avoiding the ultra punishing Rosedale Chimney. I didn’t mind too much either way as I’d already ticked Rosedale off my list and the decision was made to cut the ride short. If you are planning on riding my route,  this is the time to make such a decision as once you’ve cleared Chop Gate there are no further options for shortening the ride.

I had never ridden down the B1257 previously so I didn’t know what to expect. Let’s just say if you can manage the full route, then I recommend you do. It’s not a bad road or anything but it is a bit busier and the scenery isn’t a patch on the other option. Also you miss the excellent long descent down into Hutton Le Hole and of course the mental climb of Rosedale Chimney. Although decending off the moors into Helmsley did give us the chance to pass 45 mph which is something you don’t often get the opportunity to do when you live around Peterborough. And so after a few more miles and a short detour to keep away from the main roads we ended up back at the car. Not without first passing Ampleforth College and Byland Abbey, both good photo opportunities should the mood take you.

It’s not a route for the faint hearted but the North York Moors delivers scenic hills, or maybe that should be ‘banks’, in bucket loads. We took around 4 hours 30 to ride the shortened route not including the several stops to regroup and the hour for lunch. I think 6 hours of moving time is reasonable for a small group of relatively fit club cyclists to complete the full loop.

The thretening sky never broke
The threatening sky never broke

If you want to give it a go, here’s a link to the route on Strava. If you do, please let me know how it went in the comments below.

Endura Mullet Sunglasses

Late September, what better time to feature a review of a pair of sunglasses? No? Well maybe I should justify it then; just because it’s not summer doesn’t mean there won’t be sunny days, the sun is lower in the sky so sunglasses are more important, these have light reactive lens so can be worn on dull days too? Still not convinced? Well I’m writing the review anyway so tough!

Continue reading “Endura Mullet Sunglasses”

Dartmoor Epic 2016, Day 2

With Day 1 complete and some 60 km ridden with around 1500m of climbing under our belts it was onto Day 2.  There were plenty of new trails to be ridden on this 2nd day along a new route that would take us to a tried and tested camping ground just north of Ivybridge. Continue reading “Dartmoor Epic 2016, Day 2”

Dartmoor Epic 2016, Day 3

The final day, Day 3. This is the day when the more tired want a direct route back, or maybe even one that skirts around the edges of the hills. They don’t so much care whether it’s still off-road or not as long as the climbs aren’t too technical. On the other hand, those with energy to spare and miles remaining in the legs quite fancy finishing off in style and not allowing the trek to fizzle out at the end. I won’t say who was in which category, you can make your own guesses!

Continue reading “Dartmoor Epic 2016, Day 3”

Dartmoor Epic 2016, Day 1

But we’ve done Dartmoor already! In fact it was only last year too! However, in several ways, I didn’t feel like I had truly “done” Dartmoor, not fully, not done it justice and so I was eager to return. Add to that the fact that I was eager to bring more people along for the ride this time and going back to somewhere that I knew had perfect camping locations just made sense. Continue reading “Dartmoor Epic 2016, Day 1”

Norfolk 250 – The big one is in the bag!

With 160 miles as my previous biggest ride, 250 was quite a significant jump up.  But I was confident that I could do it, even if it meant waking at 2:05 in the morning!  So off went the alarm and up I jumped surprisingly awake and definitely ready for the day ahead.  I don’t know quite how I managed to be so sprightly at that time in the morning but it was a really good start.

Continue reading “Norfolk 250 – The big one is in the bag!”

Taking on my biggest ride yet

“One day, 250 miles” it said; the Facebook post that is. Nope, that’s a step too far for me, I thought. However the more I considered the possibility the more I came to the conclusion that ‘It might just work’! So here I am, committed to completing a 250 mile ride within the confines of a single day.  The date; Friday 8th July in just under two weeks time. Continue reading “Taking on my biggest ride yet”

Hutchinson Fusion 5 All Season Tubeless Tyres 700x25c

I have a long ride coming up, 250 miles, in a single day.  I’ll post more about that in another dedicated post but for now I wanted to justify the purchasing of new tyres.  My current tyres are starting to get towards the end of their life, I will aim to eek out some extra miles from them later in the year but for the big ride I wanted some that were wider and newer.  So after much studying of the options I’ve decided to go for the Hutchinson Fusion 5 in the ‘All Season’ guise and in the 700x25c size. Continue reading “Hutchinson Fusion 5 All Season Tubeless Tyres 700x25c”

Exmouth and the Devon coastal hills – Salcombe Hill #12

I knew it was going to be a tough hill climb when I started feeling a little queasy, in fact I had to come to a complete stop and even had to take a moment to compose myself. And I hadn’t even arrived at the hill yet!
Continue reading “Exmouth and the Devon coastal hills – Salcombe Hill #12”

How to patch a road tubeless tyre

I can hear it now – “I thought you didn’t get punctures with tubeless!”. Unfortunately this is not true. You get a whole lot fewer punctures and those that you do get are usually not disabling; so you can often complete your ride. But occasionally you get some bigger gashes, cuts and damage. And of course you can indeed patch them.
Continue reading “How to patch a road tubeless tyre”

Hunstanton Fish & Chip Ride 2016

Back in February I wrote about the Yaxley Riders Reliability Trial,  “One Year On – Reliability Trial 2016“.  It was my first repeat event and I felt rather pleased with my progress.  The Hunstanton Fish & Chip ride was my next ‘one year on’ repeat ride and again, it went well!

Continue reading “Hunstanton Fish & Chip Ride 2016”

Campagnolo Zonda 2-way fit wheelset

I have had this wheelset now for almost a year, so I felt that I ought to give my opinions on it.  Not exactly what you’d call a catchy opening line; but that’s all your getting today! Continue reading “Campagnolo Zonda 2-way fit wheelset”

Road Tubeless – My views (2016)

Tubeless tyre technology has become a huge thing in the mountain biking world. It arrived properly several years ago and has gone from strength to strength with a huge range of tubeless wheel & tyre options available today. I too joined in, as a relatively early adopter, with a self assembled wheelset based around Mavic XM-819 rims and paired them with some UST Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres.  But what about road cycling? Continue reading “Road Tubeless – My views (2016)”

Decathlon Geonaute Scale 300

I’ve been interested in buying a body composition scale for quite a while so when on a recent business trip to Scotland I stumbled across this one in Decathlon I decided to take the plunge. It outputs all the right measurements and at only £15.99 certainly won’t break the bank. Continue reading “Decathlon Geonaute Scale 300”

A big tough Peak District road ride, with hills of course.

It started with a Facebook message. So many rides do these days. This one started “Going to the peaks on Saturday the 19th March….” and concluded with “…thinking 80/100 miles with lots of hills”. How could I resist, I had already planned a suitable route ages ago, I just needed a Saturday to deploy it into! Continue reading “A big tough Peak District road ride, with hills of course.”

Working in Scotland; riding in the North Pennines – Hills #59 & 62

Traveling down from Edinburgh many people would take a well advised break during the trip. It is 6 hours of driving after all, so stopping at Leeming Bar services for a Big Mac and fries is popular. I however, prefer to stop elsewhere and get in a few hills. Numbers 59 and 62 have now been added to my list! Continue reading “Working in Scotland; riding in the North Pennines – Hills #59 & 62”

One Year On – Reliability Trial 2016

Last year was a successful cycling year for me. Probably with my performance pinnacle being the Tour of Cambridgeshire. After the summer I seemed to gradually decline into winter. Is that normal?  Presumably a downturn into winter should be expected, the question is how much? This is a difficult question to answer when you don’t have years of comparative data to look back through. Continue reading “One Year On – Reliability Trial 2016”

The World of Cycling According to G – Book Review

I’m breaking my mold a little with this one; I haven’t done anything close to a book review on here before. But I got this one for Christmas and now in February I’ve long since finished it and decided that it deserved at least a big mention on SpokeRevolutions. Continue reading “The World of Cycling According to G – Book Review”

Tenn Outdoors Crystalline Pro Waterproof Packable Jacket

I’ve always thought it strange that anyone would want to buy a clear jacket. They look a bit odd and why not have something coloured, grey or black? Then I had the pleasure of doing some racing last year including the Amateur Worlds in Denmark and realised that a jacket needed to be transparent so that your jersey colours and your race number would be visible from underneath. Suddenly it all becomes clear! Continue reading “Tenn Outdoors Crystalline Pro Waterproof Packable Jacket”

A snowy conquest of Carlton Bank in the North York Moors

The 100 greatest UK cycling climbs are now dropping thick and fast. After dispensing with climbs #87 & #88 in North Wales two weeks earlier, this week I took on climb #58; Carlton Bank.  It may have been sub-zero with snow and ice on the roads and a wind that almost blew me up and over the wall but at least there was no hail this time. Continue reading “A snowy conquest of Carlton Bank in the North York Moors”

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