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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Richmond to Hawes Loop (7 July 2014)

The primary goal of this ride was to explore part of the route for the first stage of the Tour de France. I had been out to the Grinton Moor climb on the day of the race (5 July) so this was a chance to complete the top loop. I had ridden to the top of the Grinton Moor climb on the trike on the day of the tour stage passing through Marske and over three tough climbs that had relied on leg strength. So for this ride, I headed out to pick the stage route up at Aysgarth picking up the top loop of the stage there. I crossed the return leg of the route as I went through Leyburn but crossed through Wensley and West Wilton on the ay to Aysgarth. This proved an easier ride than the back route that I had taken to Grinton on the day of the race but still involved a significant amount of climbing although there was still a significant climb over the ridge to Leyburn. It wasn't like the barren moor land at the top of the Grinton climb. In Leyburn, I talked to a man who was interested in the trike and he was quite surprised at what I was trying to do.

It began to rain as I rolled out of Leyburn but had stopped just beyond West Wilton. The road through to Hawes was through rolling countryside making for pleasant riding. I reached Hawes with an average speed of 18 km/hr. I completed a loop through Hawes around its cobbled streets but I found it difficult to find a place where I could buy a hot chocolate and sit and eat my lunch. I headed up Buttertubs stopping on the lower reaches of the climb for lunch looking back over the valley and Hawes. I pushed on up the climb stopping again at the top of the steepest part to take in the scenery and look back over the climb. There was very little spinning on this climb as I relied on pure leg strength. However, that wasn't the top of the climb so I continued across the barren moor land until just before the step drop. Here I stopped and took photos before plunging down the drop reaching a maximum speed of 72 km/hr. The stability of the trike may the rapid decent enjoyable. From there the road ran through a valley to Reeth where I found an ice cream shop and enjoyed the rest before heading to Grinton where I left the Tour de France route to head back to Richmond. My average speed on reaching Richmond was 17.7 km/hr but the climb up to the lodge site proved a real struggle after 94 km so the final average was 17.1 km/hr.

Apart from the stunning landscapes through most of this area, the most notable feature was the grey stone buildings. Farms and small villages are all built from grey stone but they still manage to draw your attention. Over Buttertubs, there were quire a number of cyclists but most of the way it was cars that proved the greatest obstacle. At my lunch stop on the lower slops of Buttertubs, I talked with a German couple who were walking some of the public footpaths.

There are lots of interesting places to explore although I didn't visit any on the ride but we did a couple of days later. We found a candle factory shop in Wensley, visited the Aysgarth falls, and in Hawes, we visited a rope factory and the Wensleydale Creamery but some of their cheeses. A meal at the Wensleydale Heifer in West Wilton was really worthwhile. Reeth is well worth a visit with the local pubs serving excellent meals and of course the ice cream shop.

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