I was always planning to cycle to Skipton this weekend – I have lined up an exclusive* interview for The Cycling Europe Podcast with one of the unsung heroes of cycling touring and we are meeting at the local Morrison’s at 10am tomorrow (apparently it’s half price for Cycling UK members…) – but it was only a passing thought a few weeks ago when I arranged the chat that I might cycle up to Skipton from my home near Halifax and camp overnight. At the gym this morning I thought about it again. When I got home in the early afternoon I thought about it yet again. At 1:15pm I made the decision to do it, by 2pm I had packed the bike and left the house and just after 2:30pm I was on the train from Halifax to Bradford.
Phew! What a scorcher! It was predictable that, with horizon-to-horizon sun forecast for the first time in weeks, the cyclists would be out in force. And they were, especially in the few kilometres north of Skipton. As were, alas, hoards of drivers so, when the opportunity arose, escaping the main road from Skipton to Grassington came as welcome relief.
If you live in the north of England, you don’t have to travel far to get to Route 66. The other Route 66 that is; the cycling one. In my part of the north – West Yorkshire – it’s the Calder Valley Cycleway and follows the Rochdale Canal. With friend Craig, I spent much of today cycling in a loop from home to Ripponden, up the hill to Batings Reservoir and then down the other side of the Pennines to Littleborough where we hooked up with the Rochdale Canal.
The Cycling Europe Podcast: Episode 034 – Steve Silk – The Great North Road / Laurence Warren – Austria
One hundred years ago, the Great North Road closed and the A1 opened, heralding a century of domination by the motor car. The Cycling Europe Podcast meets BBC journalist (and one-time San Franciscan cycle courier) Steve Silk who set off on his bicycle to cycle from London to Edinburgh to rediscover what remains of the old road, its stories, milestones and coaching inns. Steve’s book – The Great North Road – is published by Summersdale on July 8th. Plus: cycling in Austria with local resident Laurence Warren. Is there more to this Alpine country than just big hills?
The Humber Bridge is the longest bridge in the world that you can cross on a bicycle… or it was until recently when the authorities. for ‘security reasons’, decided to prevent access to the bridge by cyclists and pedestrians. A (very!) long detour was suddenly required to cross the Humber Estuary. Not great.
…And on the subject of maps. I’ve just stumbled upon something that’s not only rather good but, dare I say, useful! (It’s not the list mentioned in a few moments although that is of interest too – keep reading). I received an email this week about a list (there you go…) of the UK’s ‘best cycling staycations’. It’s sponsored by Raleigh and is worthy of visual meander. Their list includes some familiar and not-so-familiar locations.