Friday, 21 March 2014

Day 1: 17 March 2014 - Doncaster to York (via Selby - 42 miles)


So me and a friend had an idea (or rather I did) to do a multi-day bike ride that would start in my home town and take us 100 miles to Whitby, a pleasant coastal seaside town 100 miles to the north-east, before cycling back down the coast to Scarborough for the train home. Rather than do it over one day however, and in order to make a bit of a trip out of it, we decided to break it up into a 4 day trip with a few overnight stays along the way, in order to fully appreciate both the scenery and the places we were visiting.

On the NCN
Our first day consisted of riding to York via Selby, a total of 42 miles riding and barely noticeable elevation, as the terrain in South Yorkshire (my county) is largely flat. We set off around 10am in the morning to pleasant conditions, heading towards town on the main road before turning off past the train station and under the underpass onto the old North Bridge. This lead us onto the old York road where we joined the Transpennine cycle trail, one of many off-road paths (relatively) suitable for road cyclists that enabled us to avoid cars for a while. Fortunately, the section we were on was pleasantly tarmacked.

Off-road tarmac - cycling heaven!
Turning off a mile or two later we ended up on the A19 northbound, however as per our planned route we did not stay on here for long and veered off onto the country lanes to our right for a brief while, in order to avoid some of the mundaneness that comes from riding on long, straight featureless roads, and to give us a taste of what was to come. We passed a few small hamlets along this way and crossed our first railway before turning back onto the main road for a few miles before turning off again.

A random fisherman on the national cycle route
This brought us to a nice pleasant country lane where we overtook a woman somewhere in her late 60's, possibly early 70's who claimed cheerily that 'You beat me!' as we sailed on past with the wind in our helmets. This left us within only a few miles of Selby or so I thought, where we ended up joining the cycle path that goes alongside the river and brings you all the way out into Selby. We stayed here for around an hour or so stuffing our faces with a pleasant lunch (and a guilty dessert) before having a brief stroll to allow our stomachs time to settle.

An impressive sight in York.
Selby is a small market town with a reasonably impressive cathedral, and is a logical stop on any tour of this part of the country. This left us with only 14 miles to go to reach York, so after lunch we carried on up the A road for some way before turning off to join the Selby to York cycleway that fortunately is tarmacked the whole way and allows for some pleasant if fairly featureless riding through open countryside. This brought us out towards Bishopthorpe in the city of York, where we turned off to join real roads once again. This brought us out close to the city walls and we stopped off at York station to get our tickets for the train back on Thursday and guarantee we could get cycle space in order to avoid having to cycle all way back home as we did some years previously at Delamere forest when the instructor insisted there was only room for one bike.

Our resting place for the evening
That all sorted, we cycled along side the river in York to our accommodation, a hostel just on the outskirts of town, where we had booked a private room with own bathroom, to save the embarrassment of having to strip out of cycle gear in front of a room full of onlookers (and, of course, for our own comfort). Having showered and changed we headed into the centre of York for an early dinner and a couple of cheeky drinks before retiring for the night. With 42 miles in the bag and 78 left to go, we were well on our way to being ready for the next day, which would take us to the village of Thornton-le-dale in North Yorkshire on the edge of the moors. Good night!

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