The North Yorkshire Moors offers riders of all abilities a stunning backdrop of rolling hills, valleys and woodlands as they cycle across heathland and through historic towns. Hannah Farran recommends one of her favourite routes in the National Park.
“The route starts in the picturesque village of Great Ayton (the birthplace of Captain Cook!) and is just a 1 mile ride from Great Ayton train station if you’re travelling by train. I would definitely suggest getting to the route early, around 7:30 – 08:00 to avoid the traffic as you head into the National Park. I normally do this loop in one go, but you can definitely take a more leisurely approach to it and stop off at some great views and cafes at least 4-5 times if you wanted.
“This particular route is for intermediate to experienced riders, it’s quite challenging and the inclines in the moors can be savage – but worth it for the views. It’s a ride of two halves – the first, takes you along undulating main roads, so watch out for traffic. There’s also some pinch points here down some narrow country lanes – so this is where the more experienced rider would do well. This section lasts for around 1 – 1.5 hours, until you take a sharp right on to Rievaulx Bank away from the traffic.
“Here you’ll pass Rievaulx Abbey - a monastery built by monks in 1132 and a Scheduled Ancient Monument site, which is well worth a stop for pictures. The route then follows some narrow country lanes which feature a couple of challenging steep ascents around mile 33 onwards. Here, it’s really steep and as I mentioned, the inclines are savage, but it’s the nature of the area and it’s a great challenge for an experience cyclist. Although this section will definitely get your blood pumping, I promise the views are worth it as you climb up to the top of the moors and across, and then start to head down into Osmotherley. If it’s wet, watch out for the cattle grids here. This is also a great spot to refill your water bottle or grab a bite to eat if you need it. From this point, the ride is all downhill as you make your way back into Great Ayton.”