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Best Cycling Routes UK – Harrogate, North Yorkshire


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The Area

In the first part of our Best Cycling Routes UK guides, we look towards Yorkshire and the cycling hub that is North Yorkshire.

Harrogate has drawn multiple major cycling events from the all around the UK and abroad and the major reason is the quality of cycling routes in the surrounding area. Since some of the All Things Ride team are based in the area, we thought it would worthwhile posting up some of the best routes in and around this cycling mad county.

Yorkshire is well known for its rolling terrain and leg sapping climbs so the riding tends to be quite challenging. On the flip side, its nowhere near as busy as some other areas of the UK and (exceptions aside) the local drivers tend to have more experience and patience with cyclists.

Road surfaces can vary quite a bit. Some would say the Yorkshire tarmac is ‘grippy’ and you need to be aware of the local farmers trundling around the country lanes. The countryside and views are stunning throughout this area and you are never too far away from a top quality cafe & cake stop.

With large cycling clubs like Cappuccino, Nova, Ilkley, Otley and Skipton doing regular rides during the week and over the weekend, you tend to see quite a few riders out on the roads and in the cafe stops. Even during the winter months, these clubs work together and organise group Reliability Rides through January, February & March.

There are a couple of options to start & finish in Harrogate. Prologue is the best bike shop option to start and/or finish your ride and it also has handy secure bike storage facilities. If the weather is good enough to sit outside for a post ride beer then Cold Bath Brewing Co has ample space for bikes, bums & beers outside.

Ride 1 – https://www.strava.com/routes/21792140

Quite a lumpy 55 miles run out from Harrogate with around 4400 feet. You head south to begin with and down to Otley before swinging along to Ilkley and then along the Bolton Abbey valley before climbing up to Greenhow. From there its, fast and rolling back to Harrogate. Cafe stops are available all along the route although we recommend Bolton Abbey as a good option. Just dont go mad on Cake before the main climb of the day.

Ride 2 – https://www.strava.com/routes/21770811

This one is a nice & flat 42 miles loop to the East of Harrogate with around 1400 feet of elevation. Grab a pit stop in Easingwold before the spin back towards Harrogate. There are no major climbs so this is great for groups of varying ability.

Rides 3 & 4 https://www.strava.com/routes/21355667 / https://www.strava.com/routes/21764962

We used these rides as routes for our Johan Museeuw groups rides during the UCI World Road Race Championships in September 2019 and they are both fantastic. Each is 36-39 miles with around 3500 feet of climbing so keep it steady because you are either going up or down throughout. The best (or worst?) climbs are Greenhow Hill and Two Stoops which take up out of the famous Patley Bridge so save your energy for these two !

Keep an eye out on our social media channels for updates on this area and more guides to more of the best cycling routes in the UK