The Yorkshire Wolds: a cycle ride to Thixendale

Yesterday's ride was filled with unexpected moments. The planned destination was Murton, but only four of us 'B' ride cyclists turned up at Cottingham Green to make the journey (although there were plenty of 'C' riders, and a gaggle of mountain bikers who set off before us). Someone suggested meeting up with the Last of the Summer Winers (a generally older but fit bunch of cyclists) at Skidby Mill so we set off. However, the four of us met two other 'B' riders who were only going to the coffee stop. Now we were six. One went off to Murton; one stayed to wait for the Summer Winers; four of us, including the coffee stoppers, set off towards Hutton Cranswick.

All fairly unremarkable, but an example of what happens when the 'B' group is made up of such small numbers. The 'C' group had a sizeable turnout, but they generally go at a slower pace for some of the 'B' group, and stay for a bit longer at the morning and lunch time stops. Or so I'm told. Once again I was the youngest rider. I'll be 45 next year.

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Dave and Liz (half of yesterday's 'B' riders) with the church spire at South Dalton in the background.

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The new Way of the Roses and Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route signs. David Hockney has described the sky over the Wolds as being like 'the big sky' he experienced in the American West.

A little under 30 miles into my ride and we arrived at Hutton Cranswick, where there is a garden centre that welcomes cyclists. I hadn't been there – I still haven't – and Liz and I left Jeffery and Dave as we set off for a longer ride. We didn't go far straight away, instead stopping at a little pond in the village for a quick snack. The pond had a lot of what I would call goldfish in it. And there was soon one less when a kingfisher darted in to the water and made off with its prey. The bird seemed to be on a wire as it left the water at such high speed on a very acute angle. It sat in the nearby tree and finished the little fish. That was a first for me.

After we had finished our grub Liz and I set off on a series of roads I don't think I had ever cycled before. I've been riding around the Yorkshire Wolds for more than 30 years but Liz put together a route that seemed to criss-cross the roads I must have used in the past. This was an unexpected journey and a thoroughly enjoyable one. Until the climb out of Thixendale after lunch.

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Liz after the climb out of Thixendale. A photo opportunity. And a chance for me to get my breath back.

Since my last big ride at the end of August I had only been out on two half-day rides. Normally I can cope with such a long lay-off, but yesterday I struggled as I tried to keep pace with Liz. We averaged 13.5 mph for the day, not really fast, but every little hill on the way home found me out and I watched Liz effortlessly glide away from me. A few more years and she can think about retirement, apparently. So more free time for her to get even fitter. I'd better get out more often myself...

Familiar place names, but a fresh route for this Yorkshire cyclist.

3 comments on “The Yorkshire Wolds: a cycle ride to Thixendale”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    I especially enjoyed the first paragraph. I had to read it ten times to work out who did what! Nice photos too, with the church spire in line with the road, and the signpost against the sky. So Route 1 of the National Cycle Network goes from Dover all the way to the Shetland Islands. I didn't know about that. It's a better end-to-end than the real one.

    The 'A' ride cyclists – are they younger, or super-fit oldies? The Sunday groups around here are mostly older but on the flatter land towards the coast (with wider roads) I've also seen large groups of young riders all dressed the same and cycling at a fast pace.

    I watched Liz effortlessly glide away from me...

    She has only one bag though Chris. A small one too.

  2. Chris wrote:

    Whisper it quietly: there is no 'A' ride.

    Patrick wrote: She has only one bag though Chris. A small one too.

    I shall cling to that defence, thank you.

  3. Garry Lee wrote:

    13.5 mph IS fast in rolling terrain. And, you'd only had 2 rides since the end of August? You lose 50% of your fitness after a month's layoff. I remember having a year off cycling in 1988 (when I was a lot younger and VERY fit) due to achilles tendonitis. Eventually when I'd got better I went for my first cycle, six miles on the flat, and got the knock! On my second cycle I did 22 miles, really easy, and cycled up Killiumney Hill which is about 4%. I thought that I was drowning in my own blood!!

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