Waiting for bacon sarnies to arrive at Cranswick Garden Centre, discussions turned to what would be the invincible Beverley Knights’ next big challenge? The Fred Whitton Challenge in the Lake District was mooted and quickly dimissed. But what will it be? The answer was there on the wall of the cafe, right in front of our eyes…The mighty Way of The Roses’ cycle route from Morecambe to Bridlington. We all agreed, our next challenge was set:
Seventeen Knights, loaded bikes and bags full of resplendent shining lycra into the minibuses in Beverley and set off on the journey west. Did Mick, Polly and Kev, our fantastic drivers for the weekend, really know what they were letting themselves in for?. We left exactly on time, and this was an indication of things to come. Our first stop was the Armstrongs Fish and Chips in Prestwich, near Manchester about half way to Morecambe. This proved to be a wise move as they provided some of the best fish and chips tasted and huge portions for those much-needed carbs. It was a good job the order for the 15 lots of fish and chips (one with curry sauce) and the other portions of fish and peas (why no chips?) were telephoned through beforehand as the queue was out the door. We munched the fodder in the vans and set off back en route, feeling like happy bloaters. We finally arrived at our B&B in Morecambe by about 9pm. We offloaded our bags into the rooms and went in hunt of a beer. Beer was found underneath a hotel about half a mile up the road. I say underneath as the hotel wouldn’t let us in their bar. Instead, we were led to the cellar where a waiter with an eastern European accent suggested this bar had a good atmosphere. It turned out it was Karaoke night and the poor bar maid took about half an hour to serve the 20 or so pints of hand pumped beer. Thankfully the beer was better than the singing and after a few pints we headed off back to the B&B, wondering what lay ahead of us the next day. It turned out the answer was simple… hills!
We were all down for breakfast nice and early and tucked into our full English breakfast to help prepare us for the day. Ray and Matthew had other ideas and headed along the beach for a walk to take in the last of the sea breeze. We all unpacked our bikes, pumped up the tyres, and headed off down the coast only to discover there was a bike left there without a rider – it was Jim’s. Once he was rounded up, we headed off again to the start about 2 miles along the front. The weather was ideal, a bright sky, not too hot or cold and with a strong westerly wind. We stopped for the usual team photo and were off down the back streets of Morecambe, through a supermarket car park and onto a track towards Lancaster. At this point we encountered the only puncture of the weekend with Linda being the unfortunate recipient. It was soon repaired and we were back on the road.
After about 15 miles we were out in the countryside enjoying the tail wind and clocking up the miles. We learnt early on that the route was well marked out with clear signage. It was then that we started the relentless climbs and descents (these were the easy ones) that were all taken in good spirit. We stopped to meet the van for a snack in Clapham and Heather managed to meet and get a photo of Alan Bennett. Clapham is a bustling little town with a waterfall, as a few of us discovered when we set off in the wrong direction up a track that got worse and worse with bigger and bigger boulders, oh and a dark tunnel. After asking some fell runners the way they advised this was not the route for road bikes and we concluded it was the mountain bike route so headed back. By this time we were about 15 minutes behind the main group but the hills were rolling and still with a tail wind we plodded on to our first big climb just outside Settle which was relentless but do-able. We finally made it to our rendez-vous with the van again for dinner. Kev, the van driver for the day did us proud and put a spread on that was devoured in seconds, well done that man. From this point the group split up again and people were left to tackle the rest of the days’ climbs at their own pace, safe in the knowledge that the nights hotel was en-route. The route took in Fountains Abbey and some other amazing places.The views experienced today were memorable and more than made up for the tough hilly route.
Day 1 Pictures
The hotel was the Best Western at Boroughbridge and it was the ideal stop. The pool, Jacuzzi and sauna were amazing after the 8000 ft of climbing and 90 miles in the saddle. Our deal included dinner which was a dignified affair with good food and a more than adequate wine menu (sadly not included in the price). After dinner, we relaxed in the bar and relived the day’s events with a few Black Sheeps, safe in the knowledge that the next day was flat in comparison to today’s climbs.
Day 2 started with another hearty English breakfast and away we went again with a tail wind to drive us along and some ugly-looking clouds that meant no-one knew what to wear. The going was flat and we soon found ourselves in familiar territory around York and a coffee stop in the shadow of York Minster. The flat, familiar route soon rose as we headed out of Millington and up to Huggate. Again Kev did us proud with the lunch he provided and we ate up the dinner as quick as our miles. We were soon passing Hutton Cranswick which was the location where we first discussed the trip, only to head North towards Driffield and our final destination of Bridlington 170 miles later. The view of the sea as we rounded the corner was a wonderful site . Photos and champagne followed at the end point. The Beverley Knights’ awards ceremony followed: Sharrin was awarded the prize for happiest cyclist and Jim got the Mr Grumpy cup solely for the fact that he did the last 10 miles on his own. The polka dot climber’s trophy had to be postponed until the times for the climb out of Settle could be checked on Strava. James was the ultimate winner, of this coveted trophy.
All in all, the route is amazing, well signposted and tough. The trip couldn’t have gone better, this is partly down to the weather and the tail wind throughout, but mainly down to the team who organised the trip. Well done Neil! Huge, grateful thanks also go to those who supported us along the way – thanks to our minibus drivers Mick, Polly and Kev. We are particularly grateful to Kev for being our luncheon chef extraordinaire! One question remains, what is the next Knights’ challenge?
Day 2 Pictures