When we sat down to plot the route for Coast to Coast, our idea was fairly simple.
We wanted to take the idea of a coast to coast ride (often ridden as ‘time trials’ to be completed over the most direct route) and do something different with it.
Instead of a route that was as direct as possible, we plotted one that was deliberately indirect, and focused on accumulating kilometres and elevation gain instead.
We opted for a ride across the North of England from East to West, which would journey through three of England’s best national parks: The North York Moors, The Yorkshire Dales, and The Lake District.
A ride of nearly 500 kilometres, with over 10,000 metres of vertical ascent.
The ride began at the Boggle Hole Youth Hostel in Robin Hood’s Bay, an old converted watermill and notorious smuggler’s haunt on the Yorkshire coastline.
The route then heads west over rolling countryside to the base of Egton High Moor, where it climbs up and onto the North York Moors.
The climbing and descending then comes thick and fast, hardly stopping until it reaches Workington.
An early test comes at the 40km mark courtesy of the notorious Rosedale Chimney, which shares the title of England’s steepest paved road (the other being Hardnott Pass in the Lake District, which also features on the route), with a maximum gradient of 33%.
Just after 100km and with 2,500m of climbing already accumulated, the route leaves the Moors behind and heads west to Masham and into the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Here begins a sequence of several tough climbs in succession, over some of Yorkshire’s hardest but most beautiful cycling roads: Greenhow Hill, Park Rash, Oxnop Scar, Buttertubs, the Coal Road, and White Moss.
(For those looking to break the route into two parts, the villages of West Witton or Bainbridge at around 225km have good accommodation and pubs.)
The route leaves the Dales at Kirkby Lonsdale, heading north-west to Kendal and into the Lake District.
Depending on the time of day (or night), Kendal is a good place to replenish water and supplies (there is an Asda on the edge of the town as you approach from the south-east that is open 24 hours a day).
The route then heads up Kirkstone pass from the south side, down the Struggle to Ambleside, before a ride along Coniston Water and over to the base of Corney Fell.
From the top of Corney Fell you’ll be able to see the coast – but at the bottom of the descent the route turns right back inland and heads for Eskdale Green, and the start of Hardnott Pass.
Wrynose follows Hardnott, and after a couple more short but steep ramps the route heads for Keswick via the Thirlmere lakeside road, and the final major climb of the route over Whinlatter Pass.
From the top of Whinlatter it’s a run downhill to the coast at Workington.
Full route – https://www.strava.com/routes/20334676
(Don’t be deceived by vertical metres on the Strava route, Gus’s Wahoo showed vertical ascent of 10,200 metres by the end.)
If you decide to ride the route, we’d love to hear from you about it.
Email us – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the full film below: