Stats: 65 miles and 2225 feet of ascent
Ripon has an excellent selection of cafes and car parks, so it’s good for a start and a finish. The Sun Parlour Cafe in the Spa Gardens is a favourite with cyclists. In terms of bike shops, we choose Moonglu Performance Cycles on Blossomgate; a great shop run by Neil Dunkley, with Mark ‘Bike’ Swindells as chief fettler. On route you can detour into Masham where there’s a great selection of halts and facilities.
An easy ride in to warm up then leads into the short, sharp climbs of the Howardian Hills, with some sweeping descents. Rolling lanes lead you back to Easingwold, before a flat warm down on the ride back to Ripon. A 100 km ride to enjoy on great country roads.
1. Start the route by Moonglu Performance Cycles on Blossomgate, heading onto Park Street for a left hand turn into Firby Lane passing the old hospital. Turn right at the bottom and head through the traffic lights at the next crossroads, in the dircetion of Boroughbridge.
2.Passing the Racecourse, a large bridge crosses the river, where the road then dog-legs and climbs gently. Cross the bridge and then take the turning right 400 yards on, signed towards ‘Newby Hall’. Pass through Skelton on Ure and onto Langthorpe. The lane passes under the A1M motorway, before a T junction at Langthorpe. Turn right at the junction, then take the first exit at Canal Roundabout, heading towards Helperby. Approximately 1/4 mile on a junction is taken to the right. This long and flat road allows for speed as you head into the Vale of York.
3. At Thornston Bridge turn right to Helperby, solling into Helperby where a T junction by a pub is signed left for Easingwold – turn left and cycle flat and fast across the Vale to Easingwold some 8 miles on.
4. At Easingwold (via Raskelf), a mini roundabout is reached. Go straight over the roundabout, taking ‘Mill Lane’ towards the village of Crayke. At Crayke, the medieval church is seen on the hill, and you will need to turn left at the junction, then climbing the hill through Crayke before descending towards Brandsby and the Howardian Hills ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. However, the lanes begin to gently climb now and you reach Brandsby mid-climb at the 25 mile point, leaving the village with a steep and long climb through trees on the B1368 towards Helmsley.
5. However, this is soon scaled and the road rolls down nicely to a sharp bend where a junction almost straight on is signed to ‘Hovingham 4 miles’. This winding tree lined road eventually descends via Coulton to historic Hovingham.
6. The scultured meadows of Hovingham Park and ornate pillars aside the road greet you as you enter the village. Take time for tea if the cafe or pub is open. Then it’s time to cycle onward, taking the B1257 towards Helmsley, as the lane twists and turns and gently climbs away from the village.
7. Two miles after leaving Hovingham, the hamlet of Stonegrave is reached. Turn left in Stonegrave, signed to ‘Cawton’ and ‘Gilling’ along the narrow isolated country lane, enjoying being relatively traffic free. Gilling is soon reached and it’s time for more Howardian Hills climbing.
8. At Gilling a junction and give way line is reached opposite ‘The Fairfax’ Inn. Turn left signed towards ‘York’, leaving the village on the B1363 and getting ready for some climbing. This long climb tops out near Coney Hill Farm, where a junction on the right is signed for the village of ‘Yearsley’. Take this turning to the right, climbing more gently, before turning right at the next junction and into the village of Yearsley.
9. Winding lanes in beautiful countryside now race you back down to Easingwold, where the Georgian Market Place offers a variety of places for a drink or something to eat. Once refreshed, leave Easingwold back to Helperby via Raskelf whare the ‘Purple Patridge Cafe’ is one of our favourite eating haunts.
10. Reverse the route back to Broughbridge, via Thornton Bridge, then taking Roecliffe Lane at Boroughbridge, towards Bishop Monkton. You’re back in the flatlands now and will be able to speed along to Bishop Monkton.
11. At Bishop Monkton turn right towards Ripon. Climb gently out of the village and on for a mile or so, where a junction to the right should be taken to ‘Littlethorpe’. Follow this narrow lane, under the old railway bridge, speeding up along this fast road lined with hedgerows and meadows, all the way back to Ripon. At the small church in Littlethorpe (on your right) turn right. This lane leads past the canal, with views across to the Racecourse, eventually joining a roundbout. Turn right at the first roundabout, then left at the very next, onto Boroughbridge Road, with the canal now to your left.
12. A short ride back into the centre completes your 100km ride into the Howardian Hills. Time then to pop back to Moonglu and look at bike stuff.