A friend said ‘I’m cycling from Morecombe to Bridlington with a guy I’ve just met in Canada, do you fancy coming along too? What could I say! ‘I’m in’ I said.
The Sustrans Morecombe to Bridlington was only created in 2010 so is relatively new and known as the Way of the Roses as it crosses from Lancashire to Yorkshire.
We did as the book suggested and spent the first night in Morecombe and watched the sunset from the Midland Hotel and of course had the obligatory photo with the statue of Eric Morecombe.
Our guest house accommodation wasn’t as luxurious as The Midland but certainly clean, comfortable and very welcoming with secure Bike storage.
The forecast for the next day was good so we were a little surprised to wake to rain but by the time we had had breakfast and sorted ourselves out this had stopped and we set off from the Start Signpost in sunshine. I was riding with Geoff, a friend from Falmouth and Terry from Vancouver Island. Geoff and Terry have a mutual friend in Canada and had only met briefly last year where this ride was mentioned.
Day 1 was to be just over 50 miles with our overnight destination of a little place called Hebden. The start was along the old railway line out of Morecombe but before long we were climbing up to some stunning scenery. I have to say that the scenery for the entire trip was stunning. It really is a beautiful ride.
Our first stop of the day was in the little village of Wray at the Post Office with the Yellow Bike hanging outside.
The cafetiere of coffee and the tea cakes with extra butter and jam were very welcome. The next main stop was Settle. The ride to Settle was hilly and quite tough but again the scenery around the Forest of Bowland was great. The ride stays off all main roads and we were seeing very little traffic. Lunch in Settle just had to be taken in the bike shop/café along with a little retail therapy. We had been warned of, made aware of and read about the hill out of Settle. It starts by going up hill on cobbles and then continues up with a 20% hill marker. I thought our hills were tough but this one was quite incredible. It was very hot which didn’t help but after 2 stops (no walking though) I made it to the top and again was rewarded with spectacular views. We made a detour to go to Malham Cove where our support crew, Clive and Geoff’s wife Jill, were meeting us for a very welcome break. Tea was taken and then it was off to join the route and the last 10 or so miles to the Clarendon Hotel/Pub for the most delicious dinner and gorgeous rooms. Breakfast was pretty good too.
Day 2 started with a spot of rain but it was dry when we set off. Today was going to be the longest but slightly easier day but we had a way to go before this. It was a long steady climb up to Greenhow hill, the highest village in Yorkshire at 1300 feet, and a very cautious ride down the other side with warnings to cyclists to take care and mind the bends. We climbed out of Pateley Bridge and on to the market town of Ripon. Coffee/lunch was taken in a village not far from Boroughbridge where we had the biggest Cheese Scones ever. We pushed on to York and picked up the 4 miles of cycle path along side the River Ouse into the centre of the City. Another tea stop with Clive and Jill and after retrieving our bikes from the local park whose gates had been locked we headed off to the next overnight stop at Poklington. Why is it always so hard to pick your way out of large towns. Rush hour didn’t help but after a bit of map reading we were off. The route markings on the route are fantastic until there is one missing on a vital turning. Finding ourselves on the main road to Bridlington we made a U turn back to Stamford Bridge and picked up the route again. I got over excited as we were so near and missed another turn but with just 5 flat miles to we were soon there though later than we had anticipated. We were expecting to ride 61 miles but I think we must have done nearer to 70 if not more. Strava recorded 63.37 miles but lost GPS after York therefore not recording correctly. This time we were staying in an Airbnb bungalow which was well equipped with a washing machine and tumble dryer. After the washing had been done and a well earned dinner with a beer or two we were ready for the final day.
Day 3 was again a lovely sunny day as we set off in the wrong direction but soon got ourselves back on track. We had been warned about the hill out of Poklington but after what we had done over the previous days this was just a small lump and with only about 40 miles to go we took it easy and enjoyed the scenery and each others company. The riding was flat and along virtually empty roads or tracks suitable for road bikes. There is a good bike/coffee shop in Driffield where we stopped for a break before the final push to Bridlington. We picked our way through Bridlington to the promenade where we found the finish post and had a celebratory high five and our photos taken.
I can thoroughly recommend this ride which is very well marked with plenty of places to have coffee or lunch en route and easy to find accommodation along the way. In the book I have there are 5 more coast to coast rides to try in the North of England so who knows what is next.