Best Road Cycling and Mountain Biking Routes in Yorkshire

best cycling and mountain biking routes in yorkshire

Life Cycle

by Matthew Peacock

An average leisure cycle ride burns around 600 calories per hour.  With Yorkshire now the UK’s premier cycling destination, you might be wondering where to go biking and the best ways to take advantage of the unbeatable scenery. Whether you prefer to ride on the road or off it, there are plenty of local places to go. Here are a few suggestions…

Chevin Forest Park (Mountain Bike)
Perfect for beginners and families. Some long climbs and descents, but all are on well made bridleways. Experienced riders can up the speed and still find some challenges. Please be aware the Chevin is very popular with dog walkers and horse riders, especially on weekends – careful on the corners.

Stainburn (Mountain Bike)
This is a dedicated mountain biking area which is a bit more testing for those with experience. Hairpins – both uphill and downhill – hardcore hardtail heaven, basically!

Red Trail: Only about 1km in length but packed with curves. It’s over open ground and mostly quite smooth in surface but it also contains frequent rocks and roots to hop over. Descent Line: Again, only about 1km long but this time it starts under tree cover. Lots of tight corners, a couple of berms, bunch of rocks, a couple of boulders you can jump off (or roll down) and finishes off with a berm or two.

Best Road Cycling and Mountain Biking Routes in Yorkshire

“This route is on a quiet, rolling road”

Norwood Edge: Just over 3km in length, this loop was formed from the old XC routes in the Northern part of the woodland. Not all-weather surfaced by any means (and the better for it), it’s not a trail you can fly around if it’s wet and muddy. Lots of ducking, diving and contouring, plenty of lung-burning sharp climbs. One for the old-skoolers who will ride everything with 1.8in tyres and the saddle at full height, leaving over-biked youngsters flailing and confused in their wake!

Black Trail (aka Boulder Trail): Roughly 2km in length and jam-packed with nadgery bits. Rocks, slabs, North Shore, drystone wall-esque ridges, a see-saw, a few small rock jumps/drops, tight tricky

Harewood Estate (Mountain Bike)
Lots of bridleways criss-cross this famous estate – perfect for family groups or simple leisurely riding – although they can get very muddy after heavy rain! Again, for those after more of a challenge, there are lots of options to extend your ride.

“Common sense riding”

Otley to Bolton Abbey (Road)
Approx 20 miles The route starts on Weston Lane and leaves Otley through Asquith and past the Ilkley Lido. It carries on to Nesfield and Beamsley then, just before Bolton Abbey, you join and cross the Skipton-Harrogate road (there is a cycle route under the road if you want to avoid the traffic!)  From here you carry on to Bolton Abbey for that deserved cup of tea before reversing your route home. For the main part, this route is on a quiet, rolling road and the usual common sense riding rules apply. There are plenty of extra loops that can be added for those looking for a challenge. For example Beamsley Beacon is a steep climb that even sheep can struggle on.

The Pool Triangle (Road)
Otley – Pool – Arthington – Bottom of Harewood Bank – towards Harrogate – Huby – Pool – Otley. Popular for evening time-trials as its all left hand turns. The actual triangle is 12.5-miles round but with plenty of quiet lanes to explore through the middle or off any of the 3 sides. (North Rigton to Almscliff crags –steady climb but stunning views!) The Harrogate-Leeds road is very busy at commuting times.

Recommended reading:
Mountain Bike Rides in West Yorkshire by Nick Dutton
Harvey’s weatherproof map Yorkshire Dales for Cyclists


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