Road cycling routes around Yorkshire 'Tour' towns

Posted on 17/06/2014

Professional Peloton.jpg

This year Le Tour de Yorkshire kick starts the world’s biggest cycling race. Millions of spectators across the globe will see some of the most beautiful countryside the UK has to offer. To tempt you into making the most of the “summer of cycling” we are recommending a selection of good cycling rides in Yorkshire.

If you'd like to follow in the tracks of the Tour de France peloton in the Yorkshire stages - or even precede them! - two ViewRanger users have traced out the official route of the two Yorkshire stages:  Stage 1 (128 miles) and Stage 2 (125 miles).
But if you're looking for something more reasonable, we’ve made a start for you and highlighted some routes to get you started around the four featured towns and cities in Le Tour de Yorkshire - Leeds, Harrogate, York and Sheffield.


Stage 1 Start - LEEDS

Kirkstall Abbey_caption.jpgAbbey to City route

Distance: 4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Published by Leeds Museums

Voted the Guardian’s “Kids in Museum Family Friendly Award” in 2011, Kirkstall Abbey and its onsite museum offer a fantastic starting point to a cycle ride in Leeds.

Founded in 1152, Kirkstall Abbey was a picturesque building, located on the outskirts of what became Leeds, until the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII’s rule. Today a substantial amount of the original building remains, and is a great spectacle along with the museum located in the abbey’s gatehouse. 

The abbey is a great place to start a cycle ride into Leeds, and Leeds Museums suggest a route along the canal. Once you arrive in the city centre the route directs you to the Leeds Art Gallery and the Leeds City Museum. In the museum you come face-to-face with the Leeds Tiger, meet the Leeds mummy and dig for fossils in the Life on Earth Gallery!


Shaun Boundy and route.jpgCleckheaton loop

Distance: 28 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Published by Shaun Boundy

“Nice loop from Leeds to Dewsbury on to 66 up to Bradford back to Leeds”


To see all cycling routes in and around Leeds, click here.

Stage 1 Finish - HARROGATE

Gouthwaite Reservoir_shutterstock_3078644.jpgNorth from Pateley Bridge to Masham

Distance: 17.5 mile
Difficulty: Very hard
Published by Nick Cotton Rides

A lovely route from Pateley Bridge, an attractive town at the southeast corner of the Dales, to Masham, a large pretty village at the northern end of the ride, with spectacular views from High Ash Head Moor and great riding through Nidderdale.


Nick Cotton is one of the UK’s best-selling cycling writers and author of more than 50 route guides. Many of Nick’s routes appear in published titles, but all have been researched on his trusty bike.

Boroughbridge-Crayke route.jpgBoroughbridge - Crayke

Distance: 30 miles
Difficulty: Medium

“Boroughbridge to Crayke and back via Helperby and Marton cum Grafton taking in three Provenance Inns.” (Provenance Inns is a group of 5 pubs in Yorkshire that pride themselves on their food and warm and inviting atmosphere.)



 To see all cycling routes on ViewRanger in and around Harrogate, click here.


YORK - Stage 2 Start

York to Overton

York_caption.jpgDistance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Very Easy
Published by CycleCity Guides

Our next recommended ride crosses the Rawcliffe Meadows which are a haven for wildlife. You will also pass several sculptures including seats looking like horse-drawn carriages and farm implements, a weather vane with a bicycle and dog and a metalwork globe with depictions of York Cathedral and the walled city.

Forming part of National Cycle Network Route 65, this short ride starts near the heart of York and runs parallel with the broad, slow-moving River Ouse.

The walls that surround York were originally built by the Romans as part of the fort’s defences, but were restored by the Danes, and most of what stands today dates back to the 12th – 14th century.



N5 Pockington-Thirsk
Distance: 41 miles
Difficulty: Medium
Published by Aidan Creaner

North to West of York
Distance: 28.5 miles, Difficulty: Easy
“Pretty flat, very scenic road route”
The route passes the National Trust's Beningbrough Hall.

 Wetherby route.JPGWetherby Cycle route for a family

Distance: 5.4 miles
Published by Joseph Gwynne-Jones

“This is the Route 66 on the National Cycle Paths of UK. This starts from a free car park in Wetherby and goes to the village of Spofforth where you can go to the local pub/shop for refreshments and visit the Spofforth Castle.
At the end of the cycle path in Spofforth, there is a very small nature reserve with a playground so there's a reward at the end for kids!”

To see all cycling routes on ViewRanger in and around York, click here.

SHEFFIELD - Stage 2 Finish

Strines Resevoir_shutterstock_76131835.jpgCircular Route around Strines Reservoir
Distance: 8miles
Difficulty: Medium
Published by Neil Hollingworth

“Circular Route around Strines Reservoir, Starting at Strines Pub. Road Route only although there are off road tracks en route."

Jonathn Speed and route.jpgRoute around Halfway area, Sheffield
Distance: 19 miles
Difficulty: Medium
Published by Jonathan Speed


Balsow Loop taking in Bakewell
Distance: 22 miles
Difficulty: Medium
Published by Darron Bladon


Peak District sign_shutterstock_93059317.jpg

Peak District Bike Ride
Distance: 43 miles
Difficulty: Medium
Published by Konstantinos Parsalidis



LadyBower reservoir.jpgLadyBower Lite
Distance: 11 miles
Difficulty: Medium
Published by Vertabrate Publishing

The final stage of Le Tour de Yorkshire ends in Sheffield and is the perfect opportunity to visit the beautiful LadyBower Reservoir, situated just west of Sheffield in the Peak District National Park.

Celebrated for its rich wildlife and ecology, the area is a popular destination with cyclists looking to test themselves against the undulating terrain.

This route climbs up the valley, before dropping down to follow the shoreline of the LadyBower Reservoir, one of three reservoirs served by the River Derwent, before kicking out to cross “Cutthroat Bridge”. The route starts and finishes at The LadyBower Inn, a popular pit stop for any outdoor enthusiasts in the area. The pub offers food, wine and real ales, as well as some spectacular views.


Vertabrate Publshing.jpgVertabrate Publishing are based in Sheffield and blessed with access to world-class mountain biking and climbing in the Peak District, which provides the ongoing inspiration for their ever-expanding range of books. SEE ALL THE ROUTES THEY'VE PUBLISHED ON VIEWRANGER.



To see all cycling routes on ViewRanger in and around Sheffield, click here.


These routes are just suggestions to get you inspired to embrace the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.  If you think we’ve missed a cycling hotspot, or your favourite mountain biking trail why not upload the route to ViewRanger yourself? (Click here for how!)

Enjoy and get ‘on yer bike’ this summer!

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