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.
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.
3. Tea is better than coffee
If you disagree you’re probably a southerner.
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.
It is also a superb way to learn group riding skills and is even known to feature moped 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.
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.
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.
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 race and Grand Départ under its belt? No. Meanwhile, the Tour de Yorkshire is going from strength to strength.
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.
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.
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 of York, all in a bid to woo the Tour’s director general. While leaving, Prudhomme remarked that “Yorkshire is very sexy.”
Couldn’t agree with you more, Christian.