West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
moonsafari
Posts: 47
Joined: 17 Mar 2012, 12:46pm

West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby moonsafari » 3 Apr 2012, 10:15pm

i did part of this ride on Sunday from Ilkley to Hebden Bridge and found it to be a super day out if a little hilly :shock:

planning to do the south section next and then the north and westen section in one go but must say that against the maps direction (anti-clockwise) we did miss some signs and others were simply not there. but again, a really nice route. :D

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Apr 2012, 9:34am

It is an excellent route, IMO.

It was originally signed by the old West Yorkshire County Council in the mid 1980's , using suggestions from local CTC members, but it was never publicised: it seems from the archived files that there was a feeling that it was wrong to encourage inexperienced riders to use it. The old signs , which are tiny, with just a logo of a cycle wheel with a rose in the middle, go only clockwise, and may have disappeared as lamp posts etc with them on have been removed. There was an information leaflet, but without a map, so the directions were a bit hit and miss.

I found out about the route when I was RtoR rep in Leeds and with the help of others I persuaded the five current highway authorities to re-sign the route. They also published an excellent map, based on the OS Landranger series.

I know there have been some problems with the current signs. Some of those on Cocking Lane Trhe long drag you will have climbed out of Ilkley) were repeatedly removed by somebody who disapproved of the route and one at least was set in a massive concrete base to try to protect it. Afaik, any problems reported to the relevant cycling officer will be sorted out.

The new route didn't follow the old one in its entirety. There are a couple of places eg Kippax and Hemsworth, where the highway authorities decided their own off-road routes were better. I think that there are a couple of places where the original attempts to keep within West Yorkshire didn't come up with the best route. eg on your "next bit" from Sowerby Bridge to Ripponden, Cragg Vale (sp?) is a much better route than all the twists and turns the signed route takes to stay in WY. (Cragg Vale only goes outside for a a couple of hundred yards.) From Ilkley going the other way to Wetherby, there's a lot to be said for using the north side of the R Wharfe, again outside the WY boundary.

Purely by coincidence, this route also passes near many of the few remaining railway stations in the area.

If you (or anybody else) need any info about individual bits of the route, I'll be really pleased to try to help.

Finally - and this is pure bragging, it's around 160 miles around and with the riding support of others, I've ridden it in one rather long day. :D

===============================================================================
PS Forgot to say that one reason for me to follow the original CTC route through Ledston, is that's where I learned to ride a bike in 1958 :D at the ripe old age of 13 :oops:

daveg
Posts: 388
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 10:46pm
Location: Chapel Allerton. Leeds

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby daveg » 4 Apr 2012, 10:29am

thirdcrank wrote:Finally - and this is pure bragging, it's around 160 miles around and with the riding support of others, I've ridden it in one rather long day. :D

:


You have every right to brag. It's nice and flat (ish) on my side of Leeds but a bit up and down to the west.

A few years ago the cycling officer for Bradford was a neighbour of mine and I seem to think that doing the entire route was an annual event. I never volunteered to go with him! It was always July when the days were longest - susoect he needed it too :)
If it wasn't for cars, there wouldn't be the amount of tarmac that there is.

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Apr 2012, 12:02pm

daveg wrote: ... A few years ago the cycling officer for Bradford was a neighbour of mine and I seem to think that doing the entire route was an annual event. I never volunteered to go with him! It was always July when the days were longest - susoect he needed it too :)


Just to do a bit of name dropping, if you are talking about Duncan, he was one of the people who kindly rode with me to give me the psychological support to complete the ride. (I had got the ambition to do it when I had been repeatedly riding it in chunks - often getting lost, in the sense of not knowing where the route went - to "survey" it.)

Duncan met us after he finished work and he took the train to Mytholmroyd (or wherever the station is.) He had to wait a while till we negotiated all the twists and turns coming down that side of the valley. (One of the reasons why I recommend Cragg Vale as an alternative.) To his immense credit - and my continued shame - he rode with me at the point where I was getting even more grumpy than usual and for trivial reasons. Also, at my request, be brought a supply of bananas but by that point I had already eaten so many I could not have faced another. It was on that ride that he showed me the route signs he had had embedded in a concrete block of tank trap dimensions.

"The big one" as the ride was called in the Leeds National Bike Week leaflet, was run for a number of years and may still be. To anybody intending doing something similar, the distance is obviously quite challenging and much of the western part is correctly described on the official map as "strenuous." Familarity with the route is also a help, because it would be easy to lose a lot of time without it.

daveg
Posts: 388
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 10:46pm
Location: Chapel Allerton. Leeds

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby daveg » 4 Apr 2012, 1:33pm

It could have been Duncan - sadly loss of grey cells makes names difficult to remember. I can take you to his house, though!

We never went out together but we did have some long conversations about various rides. He had a very impressive double garage that had no room for a car.
If it wasn't for cars, there wouldn't be the amount of tarmac that there is.

cycloret
Posts: 426
Joined: 17 Jun 2010, 9:48pm

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby cycloret » 4 Apr 2012, 5:28pm

In section 2 Bramhope to Collingham, I stopped going via East Keswick for Linton some time ago. You end up at a narrow section of the busy A659 Collingham to Harewood road, it's 50mph with double white lines. There's not enough room for cars and the many lorries to overtake a cyclist safely when there's oncoming traffic.

Instead after Shadwell I turn off right to eventually pass Scarcroft golf course. Over the A58, up the hill to left onto Milner Ln. After a right and left, it's down into Collingham, left just before the A58 which I cross by the Old Star Inn (now closed). Over the small bridge and turn right on Station Rd for Linton. It's longer way but more relaxing. I found this alternative in route 2 of Dorian Speakman's Great Cycle Routes Yorkshire.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-Cycle-Rou ... 749&sr=8-2

+1 for using the north side of the River Wharfe to Wetherby though at Otley I'd prefer to take the A659 to Pool (busy but safe). At Shell station turning fork left to cross the Wharfe then next right to Castley then Weeton and Sicklinghall to Wetherby.
Last edited by cycloret on 4 Apr 2012, 11:37pm, edited 1 time in total.

thirdcrank
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Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Apr 2012, 8:13pm

Unless somebody wanted to follow the route to be able to say they had followed it, I'd say go all the way from Ilkley to Wetherby on the North side of the R Wharfe. The signed route goes up Cowpasture Road past the Cow and Calf Rocks and onto the Chevin, which is nice but hilly. (Bradford Council has put in some pretty ham-fisted traffic calming.) Beyond that, There's not much to enjoy IMO. The main point here is that the suburbs on the NE side of Leeds (including golf courses) are just reaching out to meet the expansion of Wetherby towards Leeds. Following the north side of the R Wharfe as far as Wetherby (or going the opposite way) means a short but unleasant stretch of the A 61 near Dunkeswick, but I'd still recommend it as being much better than anything within the Leeds boundary.

One point about following this circular route is that it inevitably crosses many main roads radiating from the various cities and big towns in the county. Some of those crossings are not at crossroads, but are staggered with a length on the main road. Not ideal but on the other hand, I'd assume anybody who can tackle the typical hills on this route can cope with some main road traffic, even if it's not their ideal conditions. The point is that the great majority of the route is on some of the quietest roads in West Yorkshire, even if today's quiet is yesterday's pretty busy.

It's by no means a Sustrans route. :D

Richard Fairhurst
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Location: Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 4 Apr 2012, 10:20pm

thirdcrank wrote:It's by no means a Sustrans route. :D

Apart from the bits that are shared with NCN 68. ;)
cycle.travel - maps, journey-planner, route guides and city guides

moonsafari
Posts: 47
Joined: 17 Mar 2012, 12:46pm

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby moonsafari » 4 Apr 2012, 11:31pm

cheers for all that guys. tbh, i'm easy on main roads as i am on country lanes so busy sections don't faze me at all plus i kinda do want to follow the route as exact as i can you know.

i see a few replys are form folk in the Leeds area and was wondering who you go out cycling with or are you just solo? reason for asking is i'm struggling to find a club or group to ride with who like rides and bikes like i do. i've only just joined the forum and CTC. :D

kind regards

daveg
Posts: 388
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 10:46pm
Location: Chapel Allerton. Leeds

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby daveg » 5 Apr 2012, 10:10am

daveg wrote:It could have been Duncan - sadly loss of grey cells makes names difficult to remember. I can take you to his house, though!

We never went out together but we did have some long conversations about various rides. He had a very impressive double garage that had no room for a car.


MrsDaveg says it was Duncan. Not only can she remember that but names and ages of children too!

Smashing bloke. He used to cycle to Bradford just about every day. I was always nost impressed as it was a hilly route no matter what from where we lived. He also managed to own a vast array of bikes too. Back than I only had the one but I've done a bit of catching up since.

If I rember rightly Duncan had been a major contributor in developing the route. I recall that he gave me a map of the entire loop but I've never had a go at it. I've cycled odd bits around the north east of Leeds but more because that was an easy way to go where ever I was going rather than to cycle the route for it's own sake.
If it wasn't for cars, there wouldn't be the amount of tarmac that there is.

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby thirdcrank » 5 Apr 2012, 3:03pm

daveg wrote: ... If I rember rightly Duncan had been a major contributor in developing the route. ...


Yes. He had two roles and he had to be scrupulously careful about keeping them separate. With one hat on, he was a quite senior member of the highways dept in Bradford and it was in that capacity that he organised the Bradford part of the route and acted as a bit of a cheerleader among his counterparts in the other West Yorkshire councils. He was also involved with the cycling campaign group in Leeds, where his technical knowledge was invaluable. It's to his enormous credit that he never compromised either role.

And you are right, a great guy.

Brian
Posts: 73
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 2:48pm
Location: Garforth, Leeds

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby Brian » 5 Apr 2012, 7:53pm

moonsafari wrote:
i see a few replys are form folk in the Leeds area and was wondering who you go out cycling with or are you just solo? reason for asking is i'm struggling to find a club or group to ride with who like rides and bikes like i do. i've only just joined the forum and CTC. :D

kind regards


If you are in the Leeds area try the Leeds Cycling Action Group.
http://leedscyclists.org.uk/ They have long social rides every alternate Sunday plus an easy riders group every Saturday Morning. The easy riders are 15 miles maximum at the pace of the slowest rider. The longer rides are about 60 miles at a touring pace. Starting this Sunday 8th April there are also some intermediate rides of about 35 miles at the pace of the slowest rider.If you are interested and want any more info let me know.

Malaconotus
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Location: Chapel Allerton, Leeds

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby Malaconotus » 6 Apr 2012, 9:48pm

cycloret wrote:In section 2 Bramhope to Collingham, I stopped going via East Keswick for Linton some time ago. You end up at a narrow section of the busy A659 Collingham to Harewood road, it's 50mph with double white lines. There's not enough room for cars and the many lorries to overtake a cyclist safely when there's oncoming traffic.


Agreed. I was quite frustrated that the recent Evans Sportive routed the last few miles along this road from Collingham to Harewood. It is really quite unpleasant, and a very poor surface to boot.

Another alternative, for those shod with 35mm or more, is to go through East Keswick and straight across the A659, following the bridleway (access here) over the old wooden bridge over the Wharfe, up the hill to the Wood Hall Hotel and then take Trip Lane back down into Linton. It's further, it involves more climbing, but the surface is OK for all but a couple of hundred yards, and it is a very pleasant ride. (it's actually so nice and quiet I hesitate to post about it as I've so often ridden it without seeing a soul)

socco74
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Joined: 18 Jan 2011, 1:52pm

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby socco74 » 13 Aug 2012, 1:07pm

Hi,
I am planning a 2 day/1night attempt at the WYCR in a few weeks. Any advice on start/finish points and which direction is 'easier' would be appreciated.
Cheers.

thirdcrank
Posts: 28684
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: West Yorkshire Cycle Route

Postby thirdcrank » 13 Aug 2012, 2:38pm

If you are doing it in two days, then your overnight stop must have a big influence on where you start and finish. I think convenience of access is also important. There are various convenient railway stations but I'm not too sure about safe parking for anybody arriving by car. I don't think there's much to be achieved by travelling any extra distance to get to a particular starting place. When we did it in the single day, we started from Alwoodley in Leeds because it was convenient to us living in Leeds.

When I first started exploring the route it was only signed clockwise and although I've ridden it all several times both ways in sections, I tend to think of clockwise as being the way to do it, but there cannot really be much in it.

Unless you are set on the idea of doing the route exactly as signed, I'd suggest some variations:

Thre are at least three places where the relevant highway authority has changed the original CTC route to include a bit of their own off-road provision:

Approach to Wetherby from direction of Collingham
Garforth to Kippax
Near Hemsworth

In those places,I'd just stick to the original route as worked out by CTC members; some of that still has the original cryptic signs. This is a road route. Anybody who doesn't like road riding gains little from a few hundred yards of off-road.

Kiddal Lane (the bridle path running down the side of the Bramham Hall estate fom the Bramham to Thorner Road to the A64) could be a problem. It was given a better surface around the Millennium to improve the cycle route. Morew recently, Bramham Park has been used for pop festivals and the like. When that happens, this path is closed by temporary order and used as part of the access arrangements for the event. It's a while since I was out that way but the surface was churned up. I don't know if it is ever reinstated. Although Kiddal Lane saves a bit of distance including a bit of A 64, I've generally ignored it anyway and ridden through Thorner.

I think the CTc members who devised the original route were perhaps a bit too rigid in trying to stay within the county boundary and going outside can be better:-

I'd use Cragg Vale between Ripponden and Mytholmroyd rather than the time-consuming alternative. it does mean an extra few hundred yards on the A 58 but it's not busy there. Cragg Vale is signed as the longest continuous ascent in England (or somewhere) and freewheeling down must be as good a reason as any for going clockwise.

Apart from that, there's a lot to be said for the the roads to the north of the R Wharfe, rather than the official route through North Leeds. Everything between Alwoodley and Wetherby seems to have become one vast golf course, with the roads full of people in big cars racing about.

If you have any more queries please don't hesitate to post.