July's ride aimed to follow the best part of Day 1 of the recent Tour De France Grand Depart 2014 route around beautiful North Yorkshire.
Leaving Bill Smiths Triumph at 9:30am on what began as a fine and sunny day, two riders (one on a Sprint, the other on a Ducati) headed to Lymm Services at the intersection of the M56/M6 in order to join up with two more riders (one on a Street, the other on another Sprint).
After a quick blast up the M6 to J31, we headed east on the A59 to Skipton. A pit stop at a roadside cafe on the Skipton bypass for a nice cup of Yorkshire tea served by a couple of typical good humoured Yorkshire lasses was a welcome break after an hour of riding from Lymm Services.
Suitably refreshed the group joined the Tour de France route along the
B6265 north as it left Skipton with the goal of stopping in Hawes for lunch. At Grassington we joined the northbound B6120 up to the A684 before heading west into Hawes.
It was clear to see the legacy of the Tour de France as the we passed through village after village; bunting remained, many old bicycles painted yellow hung from trees, walls and houses, graffiti chalked and painted on the road greeted us as we rode the route, particularly on the climbs. As we rode down the descents it was interesting to wonder what speeds the professional cyclists must have been racing downhill in a pack, with drystone walls either side and crowds aligning the road. Probably quicker than us at times, but they wouldn't have random oncoming traffic including buses to contend with.
Arriving at Hawes it was very busy as usual. Having filled up with fuel, the group parked up on the high street and had lunch at the 'The Old Board Inn' which can be found opposite the famous Penny Garth cafe. Of course, being in Wensleydale, it was obligatory to have a Wensleydale cheese sandwich for lunch.
After lunch, our friend on the Ducati needed to get home so left the three Triumph riders to continue the Tour de France route. North out of Hawes over the Yorkshire Dales we took a road known as Buttertubs Pass, a road regularly used by Top Gear when filming desolate beautiful countryside when test driving exotic motors. More graffiti welcomed us on what must have been another gruelling climb for the cyclists but which was a breeze on our Triumph trusty steeds.
Near Thwaite the rain began to fall as we headed east along the narrow
B6270 through more villages still celebrating the recent cycling event. By Leyburn the rain had stopped but time was against us so we decided to start to make our way home. Following the A684 back through Hawes, we then took the B6255 down to Ribblehead viaduct, made famous from the Harry Potter film 'Chamber of Secrets'. No flying Ford Anglia or Hogwarts Express were seen however, probably due to it being the start of the school holidays.
Having stopped for an ice cream and having admired the view, we pushed on along the B6255 to Ingleton, stopping briefly for fuel, before heading onto the M6 J34 and joining the heavy southbound traffic home.
Till next time...ride safe.