North York­shire’s a big county. It’s home to the York­shire Dales and the North York Moors, and this means the coun­try­side is rife with roads worth rid­ing



This fast and quiet route be­tween Malton and Stam­ford Bridge doesn’t have a name. It’s called at var­i­ous points Low­field Lane, Wel­ham Hill, and in­ter­est­ingly Mook Street. It’s a blast rid­ing ei­ther way with qual­ity re­fresh­ments avail­able at both ends. Call in for a sand­wich at Bridge Rolls – park­ing avail­able right out­side in the cen­tre of Stam­ford Bridge – be­fore rid­ing east on the A166. Turn left sign­posted Buttercrambe and Malton, and en­joy the next twelve miles of un­in­ter­rupted flow­ing bends. Slow down for the blind crest, there’s a cross­roads on the other side. Hunt down Derek Fox the butcher in Malton for fresh pork pies that’ll steal your heart. York’s only ten min­utes ’oop the road from Stam­ford Bridge and is jam-packed with places to sleep. Try the smart Judge’s Lodg­ing in the town cen­tre – £120 per night. There’s space on site to park bikes, or try the free bike park­ing just over Len­dal Bridge. Al­ter­na­tively, stay at the well-re­garded Birk House B’N’B just north of Stam­ford Bridge across the River Der­went. Prices start at £75 per dou­ble. There’s a log burner in the din­ing room for colder days.


A snaking ad­ven­ture up through wooded val­leys out onto the North York­shire Moors. I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber rid­ing this route on a GSX-R750 with a friend on his V-strom 650. I was in pain and he was in heaven thanks to more for­giv­ing sus­pen­sion. Ride it in late July or Au­gust when the wild heather’s in flower. Hun­ters Del­i­catessen on the square in Helm­s­ley pro­vides more pork pie per­fec­tion. Pop a few in your pan­niers and save them for a stop at the Lion Inn on the Moors. Walk up the rise be­hind the inn to find an 18th Cen­tury bound­ary stone. This rise was orig­i­nally a Ne­olithic burial mound that was then scooped out and used for cock fight­ing. It’s name? Cock­pit Howe. Sports­bike rid­ers will have more fun on the smoother B1257 through Chop Gate (pro­nounced Chop Yat by lo­cals), but will miss out on top-o-the-world views. Back on Blakey ride through Castleton for faster, smoother tar­mac to the A171. Turn right for fish and chips in Whitby. The fa­mous Mag­pie Cafe is closed at the mo­ment, in­stead head for Hadley’s.


Less lo­cally fa­mous than the B1222 that crosses it, the B1223 is also a road worth ex­plor­ing in North York­shire’s sleepy south­ern bulge. Its best sec­tion is def­i­nitely Boggart Lane, run­ning from Cawood to Ulleskelf. Bent by its prox­im­ity to the River Wharfe, the Lane’s cor­ners pin­ball you be­tween fields and river banks. It’s de­mand­ing and tech­ni­cal rid­ing with a smat­ter­ing of farm en­trances to look out for, but the wide open parts are reet good. It is best to avoid the B1222 on weekends when it’s po­liced with a firm and fa­therly hand on the shoul­der. Glue one eye to the speedo, how­ever, and a trip to Squires Café west of Sher­burn in El­met is worth the ride just to gawp at the array of ma­chin­ery you’ll dis­cover in the car park. Show up for the Rock & Bike Show, 10-12 Au­gust.


Head­ing to the York­shire Dales from the south east? Get off the A1 at Bor­ough­bridge, cross Ripon, and ride the A6108 to Leyburn. This roller-coaster of a ride takes in a few stonk­ing cor­ners and throws in a dash of cul­ture, too. The 12th Cen­tury Jer­vaulx Abbey was knocked about dur­ing the Dis­so­lu­tion of the Monas­ter­ies and now stands as a dig­ni­fied ruin. There’s a tea room, but pic­nics are ac­tu­ally al­lowed at the abbey. Got any pork pies left? All in all, a proper day out in just one twelve mile stretch of tar­mac. Des­ti­na­tion Hawes? Turn left onto Low Lane be­fore en­ter­ing Leyburn to skip a busy town cen­tre.


Ev­ery­one knows the A684 from Bedale to Sed­bergh, and while it is well worth it other York­shire Dales roads are in­tox­i­cat­ing and with much less traf­fic. Take the B6160, for in­stance. Turn off the A684 south be­tween Leyburn and Aysgarth for a road whose cen­tre line comes and goes with reck­less aban­don. A tight sin­gle track fol­lows Bish­op­dale Beck up the hill­side, be­fore the road opens out onto the fast Kid­stones Bank sec­tion. Tight cor­ners into Cray lead to a more se­date me­an­der along up­per Wharfedale. Take time out in Grassington, a small, cosy town in the south­ern folds of the York­shire Dales. Grassington Lodge B’N’B is the best place to stay around here, rooms from £85 and a pri­vate car park for bikes. It’s also only a few min­utes’ walk from Grassington House, an ex­cel­lent res­tau­rant for an evening meal, right on the cob­bled main square. If prawns are on the menu, or­der them.

A6108 Masham to Lay­burn: visit Masham for the Theak­ston and Black Sheep brew­eries. Other pur­vey­ors of real ale are avail­able

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