Winter Cycling Shenanigans

Autumn, Winter, Spring are all seasons I very much like in a cycling perspective.

Many people hang up the bike for the Winter and jump back on in the spring but some of my most enjoyable rides have been in a tight knit group with the wind howling and the rain lashing down!

On the flip side of that I find I take in the country side and views more which means I can get some stunning winter shots.

Within this post I’ll take you through some of my highlights of winter riding when taping out the miles for the “summer smiles”.

Whilst cycling through Winter I only tend to do weekend riding and during the week I jog. I don’t enjoy cycling in the dark. Therefore, on the weekends I’ve got to maximise my riding.

The one ride that stands in particular as generally being a stunner was a loop from Harrogate to Masham, Ripon and back to Harrogate. 8.30am start with the local club.

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Very cold ride!

As we set off it was clear it was going to be a very feisty ride. I set several PB’s coming out of Harrogate, through Ripley to Burnt Yates just trying to keep up the main group. I got dropped just after Burnt Yates, which in its self was no bad thing as the group was planning on going over Lofthouse.

The ride temperature didn’t get above 2 degrees and as it was particularly chilly I decided to for go the hill and perilous, icy descent. I hung a right just before Pateley Bridge and went up Blazefield.

At the top of Blazefield I was greeted with this view:

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Low Early Morning Cloud
Winter Cycling In Nidderdale
Winter Sunshine

Another highlight ride was:

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The First Proper One After Christmas

As the title of this ride (above) suggests it was the first ride after Christmas.

My word did it feel hard too!

I think it was only about 40 miles with 800 meters of climbing but I felt like I was carrying about 10kgs of excess Christmas indulgence! Suffice to say getting up those 800 or so meters were a real struggle.

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Looking across Kearby Cliff

Towards the end of ride I went up the back roads to Kearby Cliff and took the above photo.

Any excuse for a break! I think at this point I was thinking “God, I’m going to pop and it won’t be pretty!”.  At the top of here (and it really is a tiny incline with minimal ascent) I was frantically searching for food in my pockets. I only took a banana and a flapjack and was feeling like I was going to be weaving home!

Thankfully, the view made the post Christmas sugar crash worth it!

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Leathley Lane

Earlier on in the same ride I went down Leathley Lane and took this photo. I love it and think it catches the essence of winter cycling/training.

This being the peaceful desolation of quiet winter lanes. With no leaves on the trees you feel quite open to the elements; particularly in the wind, rain and occasional snow. Trudging on knowing that, hopefully, it will all be worth it in the summer.

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Hilly

I try to mix up my rides in the winter and tend to cycle in groups more. I cycle with the Local Shop from the bottom of my road. Meeting like minded people in the pouring rain or freezing cold is far more motivating than going out on your own.

However, the winter group rides do not tend to be as hilly and I find that climbing on the Winter Bike makes climbing on the Summer Bike that much easier! The above route is a good one to blow the cob webs away as it tackles Hartwith from a couple of ascents: the quite sedate climb to Brimham Rocks via Hartwith Village and then the climb from Summerbridge up Hartwith Bank. Which is a fearsome 20% (in places) climb.

The picture below was a much needed rest as lugging the Winter Bike up those climbs and then “Church Hill” in Birstwith to Menwith afterwards meant the legs were a bit jellified!

All good practice for summer though!

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Glasshouses

Anyway, enough of the rambling post. I just wanted to share some pictures with you all and show that winter cycling isn’t all doom and gloom!

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