Wetherby – Skipton, 22nd April 2021, 70 miles

A total of seven Wetherby Wheelers assembled for a ride to Skipton on a lovely sunny morning: Mike Bo, Mike Br, Graham, Steve W, Steve P, Geoff, Bob, David Burnell and me, Mark. It was cold but Graham had said it would be shorts weather and was true to his word. Mike Bo was also in shorts but that’s normal unless it is actually snowing. It was shorts weather by the end of the day but the warmth was a long time coming. Two of the Wheelers (David and Bob) were there for cameo appearances only – perhaps their sponsors required it – and didn’t actually join us for the ride.

So on the dot of round about 9:40 the seven riders set off through Sicklinghall, Weeton and Pool to drop down into Otley and on to our first stop which was Cock Pit Farm Cafe, which is still a cafe but no longer on Cock Pit Farm, having moved from Askwith to Burley in Wharfdale. A leisurely coffee stop in the sun was enjoyed, with early cakes for some. Steve P decided to turn back after coffee, solely to avoid writing the ride report.

We reluctantly got moving into Ilkley and Addingham and then headed up towards Silsden before taking a delightful quiet moor road called Cringles Lane with splendid views, then dropping down through Kildwick and Cononley and into Skipton for lunch at The Coffee Mill. We sat outdoors behind the unprepossesing House of Frazer (closed December 2019) but the food and service were good and the tables were in a nice sun trap.

Suitably fortified we set off up the long grind up to Draughton and dropped down the helter-skelter lane through the village which connects the A65 to the A59. Then it was all downhill to Bolton Bridge and the pleasure of the low road into Ilkley. Next along the quiet side of the river to Askwith where Geoff peeled off, claiming he had a date with Bob in a pub somewhere whereas he was really just avoiding writing the ride report.

The remaining five continued through Otley and to Pool where we stopped at the Farm Shop for a last coffee break. Mike Br left us here, the third departure to avoid writing the report. Following coffee – and cake for some – we returned through Weeton, Kirkby Overblow and Sicklinghall where Graham dealt a hard lesson to someone who had the audacity to jump on the back of the Wheelers Express without saying hello. Mike Bo split off into Linton for his next cycling appointment – formidable stamina – and the remaining three continued into Wetherby.

A lovely day – great weather and company on a fine ride.

Mark Lawrence