Big Skies Bike Rides: North Newbald and back from Beverley
Big Skies Bike Rides is the name given to eight cycle loop rides 'launched' in 2010. They take their name from the phrase used by David Hockney when he compared the sky over the Yorkshire Wolds to 'the big sky' he experienced in the American West. This 19.5-mile route starts at Beverley Minster and has the halfway point of North Newbald.
The weather forecast for this day was the worst for the week, with few clouds and a temperature of 9 degrees. So I set off wearing my thickest gloves and a pair of sunglasses. I could have been dressed for skiing.
Just as on the club ride to Thixendale the other Sunday, this ride included roads I hadn't ridden before. Being fairly local I knew where this route would take me, but in trying to follow the directions that came with the otherwise excellent booklet I somehow managed to lose my way before eventually rejoining the route at the beginning of Beverley Westwood. The slight rise takes you on to road to Walkington, where the route takes the rider past a pub on to Northgate then a left turn and on to a quiet road that runs more or less parallel to the B1230 for a while.
A writer for Cycling Active recently travelled this road to Newbald on a very similar route. I’m sure I hadn’t ridden this single-track road before, and only a couple of vehicles spoiled the tranquillity. I wonder if we haven’t cycled this way because a group would have to go single file, or even stop, for cars to overtake.
I would normally arrive at this junction either from the south on the main road from Little Weighton or from Whin Lane after climbing Trundlegate. I’m either passing by early in a ride or returning from one. I don’t recall ever cycling Littlewood Road. It’s a very little wood, by the way.
Trundlegate drops sharply in to South Newbald, and the strong headwind meant I barely got above 30mph. Again, I would normally pass through and cross the main road in to Hotham, but the destination today was North Newbald, somewhere I’d never been to before. To the Gnu Inn and lunch of gammon steak. The landlord was very welcoming and took out photographs of Newbald from well before recent development work. Apparently, there was even a bike shop in this tiny village years ago.
There had been a fairly strong headwind to Newbald, but taking the road back, signposted Beverley, I was pushed along yet another quiet road I don’t remember having cycled before. The road is a lot gentler than the much steeper Trundlegate.
I just wish I could have taken a photograph that showed the swooping hills, but you need to be there to appreciate the panoramic views in the Yorkshire Wolds. There aren’t so many obvious photographic views such as those you would expect to see in the Yorkshire Dales, for instance. The simple feeling of the openness of the countryside is hard to capture, well, it is for me at least.
On the way back another cyclist caught up with me just before Walkington. We cycled together up to the Westwood and chatted a while. He too had seen the weather forecasts but acknowledged that he had overdressed for the weather. He wore his mountain bike trousers which he said acted like a huge balloon that slowed him down. He was riding a rather snazzy carbon fibre Specialized Roubaix which he admitted was probably a mid-life crisis purchase. However, he had managed to go from 18 stones to about 15 stones in a year since he bought the bike. My ride was delayed by about half an hour while I searched frantically for my wedding ring. Since I took up cycling again last year I’ve managed to lose at least a stone in weight and my wedding ring – less than two years old – just fell off some time that morning. (I find that I hold my fingers in a sort of claw – rather like Mrs Thatcher once did before an operation on her hand – so that the ring doesn’t slip off.) Anyway, the gold band had fallen off in to my rack bag as I packed it. I should have looked there earlier.
I really enjoyed this little ride. Usually I just pass by part of the route on the way to somewhere else. It has taken a campaign by ‘Real Yorkshire’, and an article in Cycling Active, to get me to look at a ride in my own backyard. I am grateful to both.
Other Big Skies Bike Rides:
Visit Hull and East Yorkshire Big Skies Bike Rides & Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route.