I’m not quite sure how it started but I blame Tony Henman and his enthusiasm for cycling and Photography, anyway four of us where stood at Morecambe on the West Coast of England in May at the start of the 170 miles crossing to Bridlington in the East. The intrepid four where Tony, Glen, Gary and Gary who were all either Police people with an interest in Photography or Photographers who were once in the Police!
The Way of the Roses passes through some of the finest scenery England has to offer and half of it is a bit lumpy!
The four of us, from left to right is Glen, me, Gary and Tony in the pitch dark at Morecambe pier. Well it was the start of the ride but not sure if it was a pier….
From Morecambe the route follows cycle paths through the historic city of Lancaster which I must admit looked very nice in the early morning and seemed to have quite a few cycle paths. After crossing under the M6 se had the first climb of the day and it was a bit of a taster for the delights to come and certainly stopped the conversation! And then as if by magic the scenery changed to open moorland and narrow more or less car free roads (which would continue for the entire route – excellent planning!) The route continued over to Gressingham to Clapham and Austwick all the time undulating happily along. Seattle was out first stop at a garage for coffee and cake – well I had cake I think others may have had a more healthy choice! Settle is a big landmark, not only is it 35 miles into the route the biggest climb of the entire route is as you leave, and it is steep!
I can’t imagine the tourist board will be rushing to use this image but as you can see the weather was a bit Northern! Glen leads the way and looks a bit too comfortable!
Tony and Gary on the high moors somewhere above Settle, it would be horrible to go over there in foul weather….
Tony climbing out of Settle, this is the hardest climb – the picture is taken at the top but I thing you can see the strain from the 20% + climb.
And Gary deep in thought at the top of the same hill.
Tony and Gary in the Yorkshire sunshine.
Gary, banging out a tempo across the moors.
Look it did stop raining! Gary and Glen.
Glen looking very relaxed.
Tony popping a wheelie!
Me on the moors somewhere in Yorkshire!
Ripon panorama courtesy of Tony
Ripon the lunch stop and a change of character for the ride as it goes from hilly to pan flat.
Afer passing through the amazing Fountains Abbey we stopped for lunch in Ripon which is a really delightful market town with a big square and a bakers! We stripped off arm warmers and Gilets and could finally feel a bit of May warmth and it is also a turning point of the route as we are now out of the high country and some unrelenting climbing. It also for some reason was a point when the sun came out and the cameras went in! No more photos…..
After Ripon we had the chance to up the average speed over the Yorkshire planes, the contrast was amazing from the hills to the west, suddenly everything was pan flat. I remember quite lanes and very few cars as the route meandered on to York which was heaving in the sunshine and we managed to get lost there! On leaving York we stopped for a sit down meal and met up with Gary’s better half and their little baby. The back of the route was broken now but the was still a couple of climbs to get over.
The climbs over the wolds was for me one of the highlights of the route – I remember traversing this route before in the dark on the Moors and Wolds 400K Audax and it is a one of those areas which when you get high you seem to stay up for ages and have wonderful descents.
From there we passed on through Driffield where Gary had arranged for a support crew! A can of coke was quickly devoured as we made one last climb above Bridlington before descending into this bustling seaside town and we even made it in daylight. And I haven’t got one photos….
It really is a stunning route but be prepared it does go up and down a bit! The route passed through stunning One thing is assured if you invite four photographers out on a ride – you’ll get crap photos!
Route stats are 170 miles (285km) and according to the GPS 6500 ft 2007 meters of climbing. The climbing is really all at the start and that is squeezed into about 50 miles so not be underestimated even if the headline figure is not too bad for the distance. We were moving for 12 hours 15 minutes and averaged 14.5 mph (23.5 km/h).
I met some new friends and had a ball of a time riding across the country. If you like cycling you’ll love the Way of the Roses.
Many thanks for Tony for organising this grand day out, for Gary for putting me up the night before and for Glen well for being Glen!