Wetherby – Masham, Sunday 9th July 2023, 71 miles

Riders: Graham and Nick ( reporter)

A lack of response to the What’s App suggested that we would have a low turnout today. There was nobody else in the Shambles when I arrived but Graham soon appeared. We discussed our options and decided to take the longer Ringbeck road to Masham. A coffee stop at the Park in Ripon came before we took the road towards Grewelthorpe, but turning before there towards Kirkby Malzeard. Here we rode down the long village street and took the right fork signed Ringbeck at the end. I only explored this for the first time quite recently. The road has some ups and downs but there are no 20% shockers and with good road surface, hardly any traffic and fabulous views most of the time ,it makes an excellent cycling route bringing us out just above Swinton. Here you have a choice. Turn right and you get a swooshing downhill to Masham. Turn left to Ilton and you get a similar stretch but later. We went left which means two descents with hairpins and a medium ascent in between. The first decent could be scary if you haven’t done it before while the second one brings you to a pretty 3/4 mile beside the River Burn and a ford. The cobbles in the ford are designed to dismount cyclists as I discovered a few years ago so now I take the footbridge. The other thing that you need to know is that there is a short but quite steep ascent on the other side and the gradient starts just about at the waters edge so it’s best to get into a low gear first. We forgot this so changed down, off the bikes, by spinning the pedals round before the hill start.

Anyway we then got the swooshy couple of miles down into Masham. It’s nice, is Masham. The Square was very busy with a market and all the tables outside Johnny Baghdad’s Café were taken but there was room inside so no problem. Very generous beans on toast, since you ask. Second helpings of caffeine meant we didn’t need to stop again on the way home which came by the more familiar route of West Tanfield, Hutton Conyers and Copt Hewick. I mention the places with funny names for our international readers. Then B’bridge of course and a little headwind on the A168.

With riding into Wetherby in the morning that was 71 miles for me. They were all good and many of them were brilliant. Oh ,and the sun shone. Thanks to Graham for the company.