Yorkshire has some of the finest terrain in the UK for cycling and rich cultural heritage for the sport too. In no particular order, here is a list of nine things that cyclists from Yorkshire know...

1. Rosedale Chimney is the hardest climb in the known world

Well ok, Rosedale (T’chimney) might not be the hardest climb in the word, but it is certainly harder than anything in Lancashire.

With gradients as much as 33 per cent it was even avoided by organisers of the Tour de Yorkshire for fear that if it was, a minor rebellion might have broken out. To those unfamiliar with the climb, but familiar with 90s television, it is best described as the ‘Travelator’ x1000.


Rosedale Chimney bank

2. Yorkshire café stops are the best

The White Rose county is renowned for its culinary delicacies. Fat Rascals, Yorkshire pudding, Rhubarb, Wensleydale Cheese, Parkin, Tetleys and Tea.

To ignore these on a long ride is sacrilege, however, if you have paid more than £4.50 for a full cooked breakfast, scone and pot of tea, it is likely you have paid ‘tourist rates.’ Yorkshire even has Polka Dot cafés.

>>> How to fuel for long distance rides

Forget gels. Giant Yorkshire puddings are where it's at

Forget gels. Giant Yorkshire puddings are where it’s at

3. Tea is better than coffee

If you disagree you’re probably a southerner.

Yorkshire Tea.

Yorkshire Tea.

4. Yorkshire has the best chain gangs in the country

Specifically South Yorkshire, but the county has a large group of local professionals past and present who regularly ride together in a group known as the ‘Donny Chain Gang‘ owing to its locality with Doncaster. Being full of professionals this group is very well organised, disciplined and is great training session.

Full gas on the Donny Chain Gang. Russ Downing in the foreground.

Full gas on the Donny Chain Gang. Russ Downing in the foreground.

It is also a superb way to learn group riding skills and is even know to feature Mo-ped outriders.

Regular riders often include Ben Swift, the Downing brothers, James Shaw, Jessie Walker, Graham Briggs and Tom Stewart, meaning that the Donny Chain Gang is often like riding a premier calendar event.

>>> Cycling Weekly meets the Donny Chain Gang

5. Riding in Yorkshire makes you hard

Yorkshire offers some of the most stunning riding in the world. However, it can also be very challenging.

Yorkshire is riddled with short sharp climbs with obscene gradients (Photo: Russ Ellis)

Yorkshire is riddled with short sharp climbs with obscene gradients (Photo: Russ Ellis)

Course profiles can look flat when compared to that of a queen stage travelling up Alpe d’Huez in the Tour de France. But anyone who has ridden there, including professionals will confirm that the relentless short sharp climbs and technical roads can make for brutal days in the saddle.

Just ask Marcel Kittel who had to abandon stage one of the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire. A stage touted as ‘flat.’

Video: Watch Marcel Kittel abandon stage one of the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire

6. It’s not always raining

A myth perpetuated by people who have never visited Yorkshire. In fact, areas in Dorset, Berkshire, Wales, Cumbria, Scotland and – yes – Lancashire have higher recorded annual rainfall. It’s very definitely not grim up this part of the north.

7. Lancashire doesn’t have a Tour

What kind of list about God’s own county would this be, without a dig at our biggest rivals?! Lancashire might be the home of British Cycling, but does it have an annual UCI World Tour race and Grand Depart under its belt? No. Meanwhile, the Tour de Yorkshire is going from strength to strength.

Tour de Yorkshire 2017 start in Bridlington

8. Box Hill isn’t a hill

Yes, it may be one of the most ridden Strava segments in the world and a must for any cyclist visiting Surrey, but compared to the 10 a penny bergs of Yorkshire it is incredibly tame. It is not uncommon for Box Hill virgins to exclaim “was that it?” upon summiting the famous false flat. Everyone from Yorkshire would surely agree that even Geoffrey Boycott’s mother in law could ride up Box Hill in her pinny.

Zig Zag Road, Box Hill

Zig Zag Road, Box Hill

9. Yorkshire is sexy

When Christian Prudhomme was considering Yorkshire for the Grand Départ, his main concern was that he was “not sure Yorkshire is sexy.” Gary Verity, organiser of the Grand Départ, responded by inviting Prudhomme, to visit Yorkshire.

Verity and Prudhomme

Verity and Prudhomme

The trip involved sweeping helicopter rides over the county’s beautiful rolling landscape and dramatic coastline.

The trip also involved plenty of Yorkshire’s culinary treats and a visit to the streets if York, all in a bid to woo the Tour’s Director General. While leaving, Prudhomme remarked that “Yorkshire is very sexy.”

Epic crowds at the 2014 Grand Depart. Photo: Watson

Epic crowds at the 2014 Grand Depart. Photo: Watson

Couldn’t agree with you more, Christian.

  • David Chadderton

    Naye, naye, lads, my teenage was down south in Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire. Lots of short steep hills down there Mush. Just try riding into a headwind gale across Beaulieu Heath in Hampshire, does yer good that.

  • J1

    “it was even avoided by organisers of the Tour de Yorkshire for fear that if it was, a minor rebellion might have broken out.”

    That’s BS. These guys have done much harder climbs, it just didn’t suit the route/race regulations.

  • J1

    HTML5 >

  • J1

    That sounds like an immensely tough group to have “fun” getting dropped from. I’d give myself at least 250 metres before I broke.

  • J1

    Holme Moss will never be the same again after the tour, it was an unbelievable atmoshphere with the huge crowds shouting ‘Allez’ as us fans climbed to the top before the caravan rolled through. It seems almost eerie when you climb it now though, I still hear the echo of the 30,000 fans….

  • Dave Smith

    Still runs,although I do not think it is as popular with the pro’s . They tend to form the Ilkley Iron Bridge Crew. Strong group on occasions when they are all at home: Thwaites (Bora), Williams (One Pro), Moses (Rapha), Horton (Madison). Edmondson (NFTO ex Sky), The Brownlees, Tom Barass (NFTO) and Sid Barass still giving them a hard time.

  • The Mikei

    Stop using Adobe Flash.

  • llos25

    Went to Tommy’s in the 60’s it was a mecca to cycling ,also the Skipton tens and the Bradford chain gang.,still competing now but in Europe and there is not a hill to be seen oh how I miss old Yorkshire.

  • Johnny McGuire

    ’tis still champion int Gods own Country for cycling. I’ve been up’n down many o’ hills (now ‘cols’ apparently) in these parts since I started cycling ‘for real’ in the 1980’s. Leeds chaingang = a race simulation to be honest!

  • Stephen Glover

    Yes, I got the comma wrong. First went to Tommy’s in 1975. Didn’t use the one by river til much later.

  • kenem

    Wen I wer a lad (early 60’s) the Leeds Chaingang was reputedly the best in the country. Arthur Metcalfe, Albert Hitchens, Bernard Burns, Barry Hoban, Jack Macklam were some of the regulars. Some of the southern softies even spent their holidays in West Yorkshire so they could do the Tuesday and Thursday chaingangs to harden up – true! South Yorkshire probably makes a second best 🙂

  • Bob

    ahh yes i remember it well, but Tommys used to be on the pool road not by the river – the cafe by the bridge just down from the police station was demolished a year or so ago and they’re currently building a nursing home (i think) on the land, but you will still see loads of bikes outside the cavendish at bolton abbey on a weekend, but not so much the forge cafe at bolton bridge which is still one of my favourites. – GL

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    That last picture is orgasmic to a Yorkshireman!

    South Yorkshire Chaingangs: I remember going on one where everybody was talking/bitching/being-jealous about a certain young (18 year-old) Malcolm Elliot who was there. I smashed my real wheel in a pothole and had to get the train home from Chesterfield (another thing Yorkshire is famous for – potholes).

  • Luke Toms

    Cant agree more live 3miles from Chimney Bank love it.

  • Stephen Glover

    Wouldn’t disagree with much of that: going back to 70’s here though

    1. Did Rosedale chimney as parting gesture when I left Yorkshire for Lancashire. Couldn’t walk up it now.
    2. Café by river on Otley, Tommy’s used to be main stop, tea with chips
    3. And by the pint or massive pots that they topped up for you
    4. Was once out with John Watson, Peter Watson, Ian White, Pete Longbottom, Tony Boswell, Ian Leckenby, possibly Pete Smith. Felt like I’d died and gone to heaven.
    5. I was hard then. All gone now, too long in Lancashire, haha.

    6. All the York guys went twerk
    7. Sexy if you mean lots of bikes in lovely scenery even in 70s bikes were piled up outside cafes-that hut at Bolton Abbey, the no-drinking on Sundays pub near Scarborough etc

    Yes, these things we know. We also know that some of the key routes are now hallowed having been immortalised by the passage of the Tour de France. It will be just that little be easier getting up t’cols.

  • Mike Prytherch

    Love it 🙂