Day 26 – Whitby to Full Sutton – 70 kms
A lot of hills on the ride today, especially when riding across the North Yorkshire Moors. But what terrible weather too – it was positively cold this morning with a very strong blustery wind to add to the wind chill. It felt more like November than August and the rain clouds were a continuous threat to making the ride even cooler. The scenery was great though, but I didn’t stop for too many photos as it was very chilling to do so. Especially after climbing a long hill with some sweat for the wind to freeze on my body.
The worst hill was not too far into the ride at the village of Sleights – it was posted at 20% and I think that is my limit on a loaded bike – I just made it and Basil didn’t even have to push! Another killer hill was at Saltergate – I think that one was a bit less than 20%, but the sharp bend halfway up was steeper for a short distance. The road started to flatten out as I neared the busy town of Pickering where I stopped at a tea room for a snack and a rest.
Some rain was beginning to fall, but seemed to have stopped by the time that I was ready to ride again. Traffic volume greatly increased on the road to Malton, but fortunately that wasn’t too far away. But by the time I reached there the rain started in earnest. I hid in a cafe and had a bowl of soup to warm me up. I made the soup last as long as I could hoping for the rain to subside – no joy! So I put on my raingear and off I went.
The rain did stop eventually, in fact by the time I reached my friend’s house in Full Sutton, the roads were dry. I wish that the weather had been better for crossing the moors, but regardless it was a great experience to see the wild landscapes of the moors on a cold windy day from the seat of my bicycle.
I’m visiting some old friends here and it’s nice to see some familiar faces after almost four weeks on the road. Tomorrow’s a day off and then I’m on my way for short distances to visit family and other friends who live in this part of Yorkshire.
So no reports until I head out over the Pennines next Sunday for the last two days of riding before my return flight home.
Adam K. & (I had to wear my seatbelt today with all that wind) Basil.
A few days off at this point with Family & Friends in Boston Spa, Selby & Leeds
Sunday, August 20th – Leeds to Glossop – 65 kms
I had to give up on the day numbers – I can’t remember which one this is supposed to be!
With a bit of forethought, I was able able to leave Leeds by riding straight through the city centre and finding the old main road to Huddersfield – the A62 – which was replaced by the M62 motorway many years ago for busy/heavy traffic. As it was early Sunday, Leeds was almost deserted and the A62 had very light traffic – good for me, as I was a bit apprehensive about this route. Probably on a weekday it would have been quite busier. My next apprehension was riding through Huddersfield – not as big a city as Leeds, but nevertheless a busy place usually. No need to worry, I had no problems there at all due to the well marked bike lanes guiding me through the city.
There were lots of long slow hills between Leeds and Huddersfield and scores of traffic lights that all seemed to turn red as I approached! I guess that’s why the faster traffic likes the motorway. From Huddersfield I elected to take the highest route over the Pennines – Haydon Moor – not for sheer madness, but it was signed unsuitable for heavy vehicles, which means no trucks or RV’s to deal with. From Huddersfield to Holmfirth was OK, then I had five miles (8 kms) of serious climbing on grades of 11% to 15 % on an extremely winding road with multiple hairpin bends to reach the summit of the road at 526 metres.
It was quite a grind, but to be honest, it wasn’t that bad except for very strong head and crosswinds. I had to be very careful when a car went by and disturbed the wind pattern. Even the downhill after was at limited speed due to the winds. Also the rain squalls that have been plaguing northern England for the last few days, started up just as I started the downhill.
From there to the town of Glossop, it was rain squalls all the way. I did see a few other cyclists braving the weather and testing their mettle on the hills of the Pennines, most were out for day rides it seemed as very few had any luggage whatsoever – I wish I hadn’t either when I first saw the road winding up the hills!
Fortunately I pre-booked a B&B (this is not camping weather!), so me and Basil were quickly cleaned and warmed up with a hot shower. Then a wander around found the small village of Old Glossop next to the larger Glossop. The smaller village is much more attractive than the town with some older buildings and churches that have been around for quite a few centuries. Couple of nice pubs in the village – one does East Indian food – curry, Basil?
Adam K. & (Oh look – it’s raining – again!) Basil.
July 21 – Glossop to Altrincham – 40 kms
Well, full circle – the loop is finished! The ride back to my hotel was a mix of trail and road riding. Whenever I was on road, it was quite busy as the suburbs of Manchester reach far and wide. Traffic and impatient drivers made for a tense ride through unfamiliar territory. I will say though that in many of the areas there were bike lanes – albeit narrow ones, but that is the norm over here in the UK.
Back at the hotel of origin, my case and packing materials were waiting – so I got to work outside and packed up the bike quite quickly accompanied by nuisance light rain showers. The forecast keeps saying drier weather is coming – I think that they mean next year! It was positively cold this morning and the persistent cool winds make it difficult to walk around without a jacket and long pants in the afternoons.
Tomorrow’s a day off before my flight home, so I plan to take the local commuter train for a day trip to the big City of Manchester for some serious sightseeing – and the usual food and drink indulgence of course!
Anyway, basically another tour over – riding-wise – and I’m looking forward to returning to Canada. All in all, it was a good tour with no bike problems and no personal injuries or maladies. It was great to see some old familiar sights and visit with friends and family in Yorkshire and in particular the City of Leeds, where I was born. The better weather for the first few weeks helped to make the tour very enjoyable. If the weather was like it has been for the last ten days, I think that I would have pulled the plug! – Well, maybe not! Short riding distances some days, but as I mentioned, it’s enough here on many of the routes and there is an awful lot to digest some days. Regardless, I covered almost 2000 kms all the same.
Thanks for listening!
Adam K. & (Canada, eh!) Basil.