Yorkshire's top bike rides to recover from the excesses of the festive period and blow away those cobwebs

Cycling – there are not many better ways to recover from the excesses of the festive period and blow away those cobwebs. In need of some inspiration?

10 January 2020

Here are some of the region’s top bike rides as chosen by the team behind West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to travel by bike and on foot.

Something for everyone

Aire Valley Towpath – Leeds to Five Rise Locks and beyond

Seventeen meandering traffic-free miles take you from Leeds city centre all the way to the one of the region’s most famous pieces of industrial heritage, Bingley’s Five Rise Locks. There are several cafés en route and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire. If you don’t fancy the ride home you can simply hop on the train back to Leeds. A great family ride.

CityConnect Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway

The Cycle Superhighway is the longest continuous route of its kind in the UK. Bringing Dutch-style infrastructure to West Yorkshire, the cycle superhighway is the longest continuous route of its kind. The superhighway has opened up access to cycling and walking routes, connecting residents to work, employment and training opportunities, and encouraging more people to travel in a way that benefits their health, the environment and the economy.

Harewood House Loop

Just four miles out of Leeds City Centre, this beautiful loop takes in Eccup Reservoir, Harewood Estate, the Emmerdale set and an old quarry.

Nidderdale Greenway - Harrogate to Ripley

The Nidderdale Greenway is a four-mile converted railway line connecting Bilton, North Harrogate, and Knaresborough with Ripley.

York to Beningbrough

This beautiful nine mile ride takes you from the historic city of York, on a flat traffic free path alongside the River Ouse before taking quiet country lanes towards Beningbrough Hall, an 18th century mansion, park and gardens.

The Wonders of Wakefield Trail (WoW) / Wakefield Wheel

Choose from a 21-mile or 38-mile circular route devised and signed by the Wakefield District Cycle Forum. Maps can be purchased from Squires Tearoom, the reception at the discovery centre at Anglers Country Park, Pugneys Water Park reception, the Shop at Nostell Priory and the reception at Thornes Park Stadium.

Leeds Urban Bike Park

Located in Middleton Park, Leeds Urban Bike Park facilities boasts cross country mountain bike trails suitable for all abilities, a BMX pump track and mini pump track, and a club house.

Yorkshire has become synonymous with cycling and we really are spoilt for choice when it comes to routes. With the combination of fresh air and beautiful scenery – it’s not surprising cycling has been shown to be good for the mind as well as your body.

Cllr Kim Groves Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority's Transport Committee

Hard days out

Hebden Bridge Great Descents

This route is everything a classic mountain bike route should be: great trails, great views, testing climbs followed by exhilarating descents and, of course, a good pub at the end. 

The Mary Townley Loop

Pack your pork pies, this challenging 47-mile circular route climbs up and down the steep-sided valleys of the South Pennines, which provide the border between Yorkshire and Lancashire. The route is part of the Pennine Bridleway, a 205 mile national trail from Derbyshire through to Cumbria.

Dales Classic

No list of top bike rides would be complete without The Dales. This route, starting from Grassington (but could easily be started from Skipton) whets the appetite as much as it will sap the legs. It is only got a portion of what the Dales has to offer but it has four significant climbs, including Buttertubs Pass, which was included in the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France in 2014. Expect beautiful views, steep gradients and a fast and flowing final stretch down Wharfdale to finish.

Ronde Van Calderdale

Taking its name from the biggest bike race in Belgium, the annual Ronde Van Calderdale or ‘RVC’ hasn’t been going that long, but it has gained a loyal following with clubs from around the country visiting every year. What brings them to Calderdale is 13 steep, cobbled climbs over 75 miles, some of the most fearsome sections of road in the country (including the appropriately named ‘Shibden Wall’, part of the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire) and a finish on Halifax’s Trooper Lane, with cobbles and gradients of more than 25 per cent. The RVC is considered one of the toughest bike rides in the country, and it’s right on West Yorkshire’s doorstep.

The ride from your front door

There is no wonder Yorkshire is known as God’s own country - it truly is a great place to ride a bike. There is something for everyone, from the complete novice to the seasoned club rider. It is really easy to forget just how much fun going on a cycle from your front door is. What are you waiting for? 

Share pictures of your cycling adventures, however big or small, with CityConnect on Twitter (@cityconnect1) and Facebook (@cyclecityconnect).

From route information to support for businesses, find out how CityConnect can help you cycle and walk more