Wetherby – Masham, Thursday 8th June 2023, 70 miles

Graham’s absence resulted in Michael B seamlessly moving into position of rides Kapitan for the day, with a plan to visit Pately Bridge and Masham and the ‘promise’ of climbing Old Church Lane.

9.30 prompt and 7 cyclists and myself departed on this somewhat bold and daring ride, these comprised:

Michael B, Mike B, Greg, Glyn, Phil, Sean C, Sean F and Steve P.

Up through Sicklinghall, Kirby Overblow, Burn Bridge and then a brief stop at Beckwithshaw where the troops were boosted by the arrival of 2 further quality climbers… Geoff and Kathy.

Late morning and the club arrived at Fewston Farm Cafe where a delightful array of home made cakes and scones were on offer.

Shortly after the group were heading north in sunshine up Menwith Hill Road and Duck Street. Thruscross gleaming to the west this passage is always a good steady tester, the hard work almost done when passing Rorkes Drift Farm on the left….currently for sale at a snip, £395k…a good future WW base camp ?

Shortly after Greenhow Hill Top was reached and utter bliss for some….a long downhill stretch down Hebden Road to Pately Bridge. However, there is no pleasure without pain on WW Thursday rides and next on the agenda…the ascent out of Pately Bridge of Old Church Lane.

The official Strava segment of Old Church Lane deceptively shows a 5•5% gradient. The actual ascent on the day felt a killer climb, a lot tougher and harder than Greenhow and Norwood at 10%-11%. The reason being is the Strava segment is a longer 1.5m climb. Indeed, the author noticed at the summit a warning to ascending drivers of 20% descent gradient.

After a tortuous climb the Wheelers regrouped at the summit to take in the stunning desolate views, and posed for a picture. What followed was another lovely 5 mile descent to Laverton.

The quaintly named Kirby Malzeard was next on the journey, then Grewelthorpe and Masham for a very well earned lunch outside in the sunshine.

Shortly after lunch the group were further boosted by Graham’s arrival near West Tanfield.

Business as usual as the peleton moved south through North Stanley and North Lees.

Thee are certain times out cycling with the Wheelers when a ‘good feel’ type event occurs, something which spurs the members on, bonds the club and makes it all worthwhile. Mid afternoon exiting Ripon, just pass the Nidd, this was not one of those events. The group were confronted in the middle of the road by a deranged and disturbed middle age man who was, clearly, not seeking our autographs… but who was blindly swearing in the middle of the road threatening to kill us all. Local ale and the strong afternoon sun were probably to blame….and the Wheelers swiftly moved on to Knarebrough and then Wetherby.

Michael B estimated 70 mile distance ride for the day – my Strava log showed 70.00 miles !

This was a most enjoyable ride in the June sunshine into the North Yorkshire wilderness, no mechanicals and a great team effort, well captained thanks Michael.

Steve P