Ride famous roads circuit then head for the Moors
Scarborough makes a great base for touring the North of England; not only are some of the UK’S finest roads on its doorstep, it also has a lion’s share of biker friendly accommodation. The latter might have something to do with the close proximity of Oliver’s Mount, England’s only natural ‘road’ race track and the starting point for this special ride.
There aren’t many circuits in the world that you can just rock up to for a lap, but as Oliver’s is all public roads you can do just that – providing it’s within the 30 limit. As you bimble around it’s impossible not to be humbled by the sheer balls of anyone brave enough to tackle this tight, twisty circuit at speed, let alone race around it. Grab breakfast or a brew at the café, then saddle up and head for the moors.
Take the A64 south, top up as required then turn right towards Irton and onwards to Ayton. Join the A170 here to enjoy a stream of steady straights that grow ever more twisted as the rate of undulations increases – positive counter steering will enhance these graceful curves no end. Turn right at the roundabout in the centre of Pickering and follow the A169 out of town. This sinuous strip of tarmac ploughs north through the gorse, its black topped back in stark contrast to the colour burst of countryside through which it flows.
Beyond Lockton the road dips as if to gain momentum then breaks free of the surrounding moorland to give a spectacular view across endless swathes of purple heather. Onwards and upwards it climbs, skirting the rim of a vast hollow known as the Hole of Horcum – watch for the road markings to become an unbroken divider then prepare to tip into a sweeping left hander that apexes across the brow before diving towards the infamous Devil’s Elbow. At 12% it’s a steep descent through a tight right hairpin, so negotiate with caution.
Focus on the road ahead is enhanced by the wilderness of the moor, an untamed expanse that recedes to farmland only as the A169 nears its end. Turn right for the A171 and Whitby; there’s fuel on the way into town, but if you’re looking for food ride down to the Quayside for a portion of Whitby’s world famous fish and chips. Cross the River Esk via Bridge Street to head back south on the A171 and it won’t be long before the stone walls and sweeping hedgerows once more give way to open land.
At Burniston bear left on the A165 for the run back to base; both roads lead to Scarborough but the coastal road is more interesting.
‘There aren’t many circuits in the world that you can just rock up to for a lap’