Stats: 31 miles and 1300 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.
This is another TdF related route, taking in some of the great lanes that surround this Cathedral City and the route of the Grand Depart. It rolls along with some great little climbs that then open into fast stretches to test your speed. Excellent views abound all along this route.
1. From the Market Square keep the town hall to your left and cycle along Westgate, turning right at the end onto Blossomgate, passing Moonglu Cycles.
2. At the mini roundabout go straight on and follow Kirkby Road out of town, passing the Army Camp which is fenced off to the left. This road winds its way along hedgerows and farmland towards Grewelthorpe where the first sight of moorland can be seen in the distance.
3. Approximately 4 miles along this road, a white washed gate lodge and entrance to a large estate house is seen to the left at Azerley, with a small red post box on a post at the side of the road. Twisting right, a barn conversion can be seen before a junction on the right is signed towards Mickley among other places. Take this turning onto the narrow lane which initially climbs before easing off.
4. Stay on this lane as it twists and turns towards North Stainley and West Tanfield, eventually reaching a T junction just after picturesque low farm buildings on the right (Friar’s Hurst on OS maps). Turn right signed West Tanfield and cycle downhill to the A6108 TdF road. Turn left and head towards West Tanfield.
5. At West Tanfield go straight ahead at the roundabout signposted towards Well. Climb the steep lane that eventually eases and rolls along, leading to a great descent of Well Bank into Well village around sharp bends both right and left – take care on these bends.
6. Junction right is signed ‘Carthorpe 4 miles’ by the Millbank Arms. This is Church lane and leads into Long Lane, a narrow flat country lane that passes farms and meadows on its way to better and wider roads. These are reached at a T junction with Moor Lane, and a left turn onto this exceptional cycling road – see image.
7. At the next junction turn right and head into the village of Carthorpe. At the staggered X roads turn right, signed towards Kirklington. This excellent lane is shaded by trees and hedgerows that frame a beautiful landscape made for cycling on these fast lanes.
8. At Kirklington a staggered junction is seen ahead. Take the right hand forked junction, turning towards Masham. However, at the time of writing the road signs had been turned around by local fools, so stick to these instructions regarding ‘right hand fork’. On reaching the B6267 follow signs to Masham and enjoy a wider road which rises and falls with subtle turns that allow for great cycling. The road passes by the X roads and road to Well which was earlier visited, continuing on towards Masham via Nosterfield.
9. This road eventually descends to a junction with the B6108 Tour de France route just before Masham. Turn left and follow the route of the Grand Depart via West Tanfield on into Ripon, living the dream of riding with the peloton.
Once you’re back in Ripon enjoy a brew and pop into Moonglu Cycles to share the experience with Neil and Mark, who showed me around these roads on Thursday evening rides and deserve the praise for a great route.