Wetherby – Malton, Thursday 5th October 2023, 86 miles

Greg’s mooted Thursday outing to Malton via York was met with enough WhatsApp enthusiasm to encourage seven Wheelers to assemble at the Shambles: Greg, SeanC, SeanF, Mike, Michael, Nick, and myself. Conditions were initially dry but with damp in the air.

We set off towards York following the quieter roads via Heulaugh and Askham Bryan before eventually crossing the ring road and joining the main approach to York via Acomb. Traffic through York was fairly heavy, but we were assisted by cycle lanes. Dodging/photobombing tourists past the Minster we continued northeast along Stockton Lane, soon reaching Deans garden centre for a coffee stop. Deans was busy but we secured 2 tables and enjoyed the impressive selection of overpriced cakes. The garden centre also had a large display of Christmas stuff, for anyone needing any last-minute items as we’re only 80 days away…

After coffee, both Seans needed to head back towards Wetherby, leaving five of us to continue on fairly quiet roads. We crossed the River Derwent at Kirkham Priory as the terrain became more hilly through the southern edge of the Howardian Hills. All had donned rain jackets by this point as persistent drizzle accompanied us on the last 5-6 miles or so before lunch but didn’t detract from the views.

Lunch was at the Whistlestop Café in Malton railway station – excellent ‘greasy spoon’ type fare, ideal for refuelling damp cyclists.

Some elected to put their rain jackets away for the post-lunch section back towards Easingwold but unfortunately the rain progressively got worse. However for me, on new roads, this was the best bit of the ride – little traffic and beautiful rolling scenery as we passed through Terrington, Brandsby and Crake. Nick left us part way through this section to make his return journey simpler.

Once at Easingwold the rain got heavier still and the remaining four of us upped the pace by a few mph and worked well together as a close group of four into the headwind across the flat roads to Boroughbridge. Here, discussion at a toilet and shop stop covered a number of grumbles about the current govt transport policy, as well as a snap group decision to skip the planned return via Knaresborough and instead continue our team TT group riding (at moderate pace) back down the A168 to Wetherby.

Great choice of route and lunch stop Greg!