For those who were able to stay over we had planned a shorter ride for the Sunday. The start point was at Ribblehead. Nobody fancied riding to the start and as we drove upwards from Hawes it was probably a wise decision.
The day started cloudy and rather cooler than we’ve been used to but the forecast was for increasing temperature. Setting off from our parking spot we cruised downhill then up a short ramp passing the Ribblehead Station. On reaching the top, Neil pulled over. “What’s up? You OK?” we asked thinking perhaps he’d suffered an early mechanical as it was too soon for a rest. Turns out he wanted a photo of the viaduct and regale us with the magnificence of Victorian engineering.
Back in the saddle we followed Low Sleights road to Chapel-le-Dale where we left the main road to pick up a tarmac’d farm track. It was like having our very own cycle path undulating along the valley of the river Doe. Well it was until we came face to face with a massive camper van sprawled across the width of the road. While the van stopped, we gingerly picked our way around it on the grass verge. We soon realised why he was on “our” road when we passed the entrance to a campsite.
As we rolled into Ingleton the Garmin indicated a left turn after crossing the bridge. Looking up at the houses to the left, they looked much higher up than our current position. Better get in the small ring methinks. A wise decision as we faced a really steep ramp hitting 20% at one point. Not everyone had the forethought with gear selection as Colin found himself still in the big ring straining every sinew just to keep the pedals turning. Fortunately his “pain” did not last too long.
The climbing continued for a mile or so after leaving Ingleton as we took the Old Road towards Clapham however that was followed by a superb winding undulating downhill run into Clapham. “That was fun” was the general consensus as we regrouped at the corner of Eggshell Lane. Heather then went off in search of her paramour (Alan Bennett) or at least that’s what everyone said, before rejoining us at the Old Sawmill Cafe.
Following a lovely lunch we saddled up again to continue south east along the Old Road. As we reached the A65 we took to the Strade Bianchi (gravel track cycle path) leading us onto the road to Austwick. This was the nadir of our route, so the only way from here was up. The next climb came soon enough as we headed towards Wharfe. The terrain continued undulating upwards towards Helwith Bridge as the group began spread out. After crossing the Ribble we turned northwards following the route of the river towards Horton-in-Ribblesdale before returning to the car park near Ribblehead.
While some of us began to load the bikes onto our cars, four of our group Mark, Matty, Brian and Colin decided to extend their ride by cycling back to Hilltop Farm. After another initial climb from Ribblehead the “four horsemen” then enjoyed a superb downhill for around 10km into Hawes.