9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Nice little book, 8 Nov 2010
This is a nice little book for giving the cycling enthusiast new ideas. You can do the rides exactly as set out by the author or adapt them into your own versions. If you want an horrendously difficult challenge you can even combine 2 or 3 of the hard routes into one ride (I'll leave that to the nutters).
The author suggests that mountain bikes are the best bikes for doing the rides and I would tend to agree. Most of the riding is on tarmac and is rideable even on a racing bike but some of the roads are quite potholed and scabby with occasional muddy patches and loose gravel so I tend to choose my mountain bike instead. I'm guessing that most people will also appreciate the extra gears of a mountain bike on the tougher rides. Personally I don't really fancy ever doing the Colne valley ride on a bike whose largest cassette sprocket is barely half as many teeth as the smallest chainring.
Each ride in the book is given a difficulty grading, a sketch map and an accurate description of the route including facilities and the occasional nugget of interesting local historical information. The maps are only a guide. The author advises using an appropriate O/S map and he gives information as to which maps are required.
I have to confess that I'm reviewing this book having done only 2 of the 21 rides so far. Places where a car can be parked before offloading the bike to do the rides are suggested in the book. However, a guide book devoted to the county in which one lives is going to include rides that are close enough to cycle to. This is what appealed to me about the book in the first place. For me using a car to go cycling defeats the object of the excercise. I go cycling to avoid using my car. Rides that are close enough to not require a drive are the ones I'm tackling first.
The majority of the 21 rides in the book are around the edges of the county encircling the epicentre of Leeds and Bradford and keeping away from the busy roads of the city centres. Only one ride goes close to a city centre (Huddersfield). Enjoying the lions share of the rides are the areas of Keighley, Halifax and Hudderfield, and as you'd expect these area's are where the toughest rides are to be had because they're hilly areas. All the easy rides are around the flatter east and northeast region of the county (Pontefract, Swillington, Bramham, Wetherby).
The 17 mile circuit that is ride no.13 (three ridings) passes within 1 mile of my house at it's closest point (I live in Pontefract). This is a rather pleasant and non too strenuous ride around Wentbridge, Darrington, Womersley, Norton, Campsall and Kirk Smeaton. These are roads I've ridden and enjoyed many times even before buying the book. Next I wanted a slightly tougher challenge on roads I'd never ridden so I took on ride no.21. At its closest point the 19.7 mile circuit of this ride is within 7.5 miles of my house, so riding to the venue and back home again adds an extra 15 miles for a total ride distance of around 35 miles. It's a perfect workout for an intermediate rider like me. Quite hilly but none of the climbing is particularly steep. I don't have to go anywhere near the smallest of my 3 chainrings. Middle chainring and middle of the rear cassette cluster is a typical ratio for the harder climbs of this route which goes through Newmillerdam, Wooley and Wintersett among other places. It has become one of my regulars. In autumn the view through the bare trees down on to wintersett reservoir is really nice and as you descend to the bottom of the hill there is water on both sides. Quite beautiful when a low early morning sun is glistening on the surface. Then you continue through the tree lined road of Haw park wood. Very nice. A few miles after this is the authors suggested start point Newmillerdam with its attractive setting of lake and water foul. About 5 miles later you are at the top of Beacon hill, the high point of Woolley edge enjoying a view that people in cars park up to look at. After this the terrain is mostly downhill through occasional villages and the one or two single track roads to the finish. Thank you Mr. Purdy for this most enjoyable ride.
Next I could do ride no.15 without the use of my car (Aireside Powerbase, Swillington area) as it is close to where I live but I've ridden all the roads on this route many times so I'm giving it a miss for now. It's a nice ride though, especially the part of the route that goes through fairburn Ings. instead, I'm planning to take on the really tough challenge of ride no.20 (Emley moor) the 2nd toughest ride in the book. (2nd behind ride 17, a ride situated around the Colne valley). The smallest chainring should get some serious usage here. I hope I can remain on the bike. Like the author says though- if it gets too tough you can always get off and walk!. Update, since writing the original review I've done the Emley moor ride. I cycled to the venue from Pontefract for a round trip of 65 miles. It's tough but not ridiculously hard. A super fit athlete would find it easy and a beginner would probably find it hellish. I'm something inbetween and I got round without having to walk or use the small chainring. Middle chainring and 2nd largest at the back was the easiest gear I required. The high effort is rewarded with some lovely views and Cannon Hall (where the author suggests is a nice place for a picnic) is a pleasure. There are also some cracking downhills. One of the best is just after reaching the mast, turn right on to Jagger lane and even on a knobbly tyred mountain bike I freewheeled at 37mph. My favourite route yet. Highly recommended.
Below is a summary of all 21 rides.
1. Todmorden moors Difficulty grade 6 Ride distance.10.28miles
2. Heptonstall moors. Grade 9 Dist. 23.4m
3. Haworth & the hanging stone. Grade5 Dist.11.12m
4. Slippery ford. Grade 6 Dist.11.03m
5. Oxenhope & windy moors. Grade 9 Dist.17.42m
6. Boulder Clough. Grade 5 Dist.10.43m
7. Keighley & Egypt. Grade 8 Dist.13.6m
8. Ilkley moor. Grade 8 Dist.19.65
9. Woofa Bank & Hang goose. Grade 5 Dist.10.05m
10 The Chevin challenge. Grade 5 Dist.9.27m
11 Scarcroft & Eccup. Grade 4 Dist.12.15m
12 Bramham. Grade 2 Dist.11.37
13 Three Ridings. Grade 3 Dist.17.17
14 Wetherby railway. Grade 1 Dist.5.92m
15 Aireside powerbase. Grade 3 Dist.19.16m
16 Ripponden Reservoirs. Grade 5 Dist.10.25m
17 The Colne climber. Grade 11! Dist.19.91m
18 Holmfirth & Snittlegate. Grade 8 Dist.13.59m
19 Farnley circuit. Grade 8 Dist.13.44m
20 Emley moor. Grade 10 Dist.21.86m
21 Wooley & Wintersett. Grade 5 Dist.19.79m