Cycling in Yorkshire 2014


Cycle through “God’s Own County”

Yorkshire is a proud county and has been at the forefront of recent British sporting success. Indeed, had Yorkshire been a competing country at the 2012 Olympic Games it would have finished eleventh in the medals table, above countries such as Spain, Holland and 2016 hosts Brazil. Amongst the Yorkshire success stories was cyclist Ed Clancy, winning gold as part of the team pursuit. This year marks a special moment in cycling and indeed for the country, as Yorkshire gears up to host this year’s Tour de France.

Following great success at the Olympics and back to back wins by Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome in the Tour itself, cycling in Britain is enjoying a golden age. The first three stages of the 2014 Tour will be hosted in Britain, with the first two held in Yorkshire.  The county is the ideal choice for the ‘Grand Départ’, stunning scenery and challenging hills provide the perfect backdrop to this the most prestigious of cycling road races. The countdown has already begun to what promises to be a cycling carnival and the excitement will doubtless become fever pitch by July when the race begins.

It is easy to see the appeal of cycling, passing by beautiful scenery whilst keeping active, a sport in which the whole family can take part, and what better place than ‘God’s own Country’ to enjoy your next cycling holiday.  Many budding Tour de France champions will want to sample the routes where their cycling heroes will be racing this summer, but Yorkshire offers a fantastic variety of bridleways and cycling routes (many traffic free) throughout this beautiful county.

The tranquil Yorkshire Dales provides a variety of challenges for cyclists, whether that be off road mountain biking or leisurely trails through exquisite valleys and moorland. Many of the leafy lanes in this part of Yorkshire are very quiet but rest assured you will never find yourself short of great eating options to ‘refuel’.  A popular and gentle route for families is a 23 mile journey starting and finishing in Grassington through Upper Wharfedale. With no significant climbs but nonetheless plenty of fantastic views, this trail will take you by the delightful Dales villages of Kettlewell, Arncliffe and Litton.

The Yorkshire Moors have long been treasured by cyclists, the varied landscapes encompassing woodland, undulating moorland and coastal paths provide hundreds of miles of routes within this timeless corner of Yorkshire.  One of the most challenging for cyclists is the ‘ Moor to Sea’ cycle route which is split into 12 stages covering over 150 miles and taking in many historic sites whilst passing by the Heritage Coast. Whether you choose to take on the full trail or just parts of this network, you are assured stunning views from cliff tops, across Gothic ruins or rolling countryside, this is Yorkshire at its very best!

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Win a cycling shirt signed by Sir Bradley Wiggins!

RWB-comp We’re offering a chance for you to win a unique piece of sporting memorabilia – a  cycling shirt signed by Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Sir Bradley signed the shirt at the recent ‘Ride with Brad’ event and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to give it away to one of our fans. To be in with a chance of winning click on the picture above to visit our Facebook page and follow the instructions.

If you’d like more cycling content check out our video interview with Caroline, unofficial captain of the cottages4you team, as she recounts her experience of the day.

You can also take a look at our favourite cycling routes and find cycling friendly properties on our website.

Cycle to work winners

Cycle winners lo-res

The cottages4you team took place in a cycle to work challenge this month – eventually winning with a combined distance of 842 miles over 5 days! This is the approximate road distance from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, so we’d like to say a big well done to everyone who took part and let them know that the cushions and ice cubes are on their way.

Find more cycling content – including some of the UK’s best routes and Grand Départ 2014 info – by visiting our website.

Ride with Brad – Rob’s Training Diary 31/07/13


I like to get out on my mountain bike and do a short trail for about 40mins or so, and I tend to cycle at a fast pace. I cover about 7 miles. The terrain is a mix of canal footpath, dirt track, and mud. I try to get out of the saddle for bursts of speed and keep my pace changing throughout. I am hoping that this will help my legs have enough power to accelerate when I need it on the long hauls.

The other reason I like being out on my mountain bike is “I like being out on the mountain bike!” Especially getting away from the urban landscape, rolling down a mountainside, hitting jumps and drops. The constant change in terrain keeps me sharp, and most of all there are no cars. Weather isn’t an issue (within reason) .

I have a particular route I use often which is an old railway line, with no sleepers or tracks left on it. It’s great because of the mix of terrain; it also has a natural break in the middle where it leads into a town.

At this point I can:

a)     Turn back

b)     Continue on the next section

c)     Have a pit stop in the café (I’ve not done this one yet)

On the second stretch there is a STRAVA segment that I like to try and beat. I got second on it once, not sure if I still hold that position. Really this ride is all about fun, that way I will keep on keeping on.

Check out the video below to check out part of the trail and don’t forget to help me raise some funds for the Pendle Hospice.


Rob’s taking part in the 50 kilometres route on the Ride with Brad in support of Pendleside Hospice. The event takes place on 11 August in Lancashire and will feature a host of activities in support of the main rides. Find more info on our website

Ride with Brad – Rob’s Training Diary 25/07/13

Hello, my name is Rob,

I am a designer here at cottages4you and I have only started back cycling in the last month or so. This year I decided to take part in the Ride with Brad 50k event here in Lancashire and hopefully help raise some funds for the Pendleside Hospice. They do great work and have supported and helped some of my friends in the past through some really rough times.


This will be the route I will be following, a little over 50km (30 miles) ascent about 476 meters, probably taking me 2 ½ – 3 hours, I hope :)

Map link:


As you can see my cycling experience is vast and my bikes have helped transport me throughout my life, literally because we didn’t have a car. When I was about 6 I had a metallic blue BMX complete with stabilisers and that checked pattern spongy thing that clipped onto the cross bar. I was fierce and fast, you could tell when I arrived at your doorstep by the rasping sound of a clacking card against my spokes held in place by an industrial strength clothes peg.

Moving forward a couple of years and leaving the stabilisers behind. I had a white Freestyler BMX, perfect for homemade ramps, wheelies and cycling to school. At one point I had a dynamo connected to it, so I could be safe at night. All it did was slow me down & break all the time! And from there on I would continue to use my bike to get around; it was my independence to be able to visit my friend’s houses without relying on walking or bus timetables. Walking takes too long, and buses never come on time. I’m a man on the go and have no time for those shenanigans! I pretty much cycled everywhere until I finished uni, and then there was nothing…

Well that’s not quite true. There were jobs that required traveling, a desk, coffee, cakes, and biscuits. How can I resist all that and still have the time to be active!

This year on holiday I realised that I have been getting a little soft around the edges. I know it’s hard to tell because I hold it so well, but I know I could be healthier. Plus I like eating food. So if I exercise lots, that means I can continue eating the food I like (which is probably not good advice).


I tried going to the gym, but it bores me. Swimming was good, but I can’t access the pool whenever I want. Running was OK, but I did find it a little hard on my knees after doing long distances. But cycling, cycling is awesome. On-road or off-road, fantastic views (being in Lancashire), when I’m tired I just let the bike roll, it is also great for exploring off the beaten track and a quick transport to pop to the shops.

So over the next few weeks you can expect to see some entries on how I’m doing with my training and possibly a cheeky video or two :) Please support the Pendleside Hospice and make a donation.

If you have any questions or comments for me feel free to ask.

Over and out,

Ride with Brad in 2013

pint with Brad

In the 12 months since last year’s event, Bradley Wiggins has won Olympic Gold, become the first Brit to win the Tour De France and even picked up a knighthood. So we’re once again delighted to announce that we will be sponsoring his ride through stunning Lancashire countryside in the 2013 Ride with Brad.

This year’s event takes place on 11 August .  Not only will it support The Bradley Wiggins Foundation but a few of us at cottages4you will be checking our tyre pressure and hoping we can still squeeze into our shirts as we ride in aid of Pendleside Hospice.

We’d love it if you could join us. There are 3 routes to choose from: 30, 60 and 100 miles. Each one offers a different challenge. Who knows, you may also find yourself riding in the company of Sir Bradley Wiggins himself!

We’re going to run a few articles in the lead-up to the event, in the meantime you can find out more info in the Cycling section of our website.

A Tour of Britain

As tough as it must be for the competitors on the Tour of Britain, it’s hard not to be a little bit jealous of the unique opportunity they’ve been given to enjoy some of the UK’s finest scenery.

So as we enter the midway point, we thought we’d take a moment to look at some of the visual highlights of the Tour. You may not get similarly stunning appreciation of the locations from this article but, on the brightside, you won’t get saddle sore either! (Though if you do fancy your own tour, we’ve added a link to our search page at the bottom of the article).

First stage: The Devil’s Beef Tub

The first stage of the race saw the Skoda King of the Mountains climb above the iconic, and oddly named Devil’s Beef Tub, a large cavernous hollow in the land where raiders would hide their stolen cattle. Said raiders were often known as ‘Devils’, which at least helps to explain the name of this stunning geographic formation, if not adequately describe its loveliness!

The site also has other ties with Scottish history, as William Wallace’s sister married the Lord of the nearby Corehead Tower. Apparently this site was also where Wallace gathered his men for the first attack against the English. It’s a little more peaceful now, though there are still monuments to its colorful history – not that the riders had much chance to admire them!

Second stage: Blackpool

Top (middle and bottom) of the Tower!


After a day of climbing, you would imagine that no one would be happier to be beside the seaside than the Tour of Britain competitors. After an early part of the stage exploring Kendal, Grizedale Fell and a little part of the Yorkshire Moors, the second stage was set to finish with a nice flat sprint along Blackpool’s north shore, finishing at the foot of the iconic tower.

Sadly, it seems no one told Hurricane Katia, as her destructive influence on the weather caused a rest day for the riders. Still, if you have to take a rest-day, there are few better places to spend it than Blackpool. We’d recommend a trip to the zoo, a journey to the top of the Tower – making sure you visit the ballroom – and a stop-off at the Pleasure Beach.

Third stage: Trentham Estate

The beautiful Italian Gardens of the Trentham Estate near Stoke-on-Trent provide the starting point for the third leg of the event. According to the website, the garden’s planting scheme is ‘based upon a naturalistic style which combines herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses’, which in layman’s terms means it’s worth a visit all year round.

There’s plenty more to see and do at the Trentham Estate, including a shopping village, garden centre, labyrinth and monkey forest with 140 monkeys and 12 new arrivals!

Fourth stage: Wales

Powis Castle

There are plenty of highlights on the fourth leg of the Tour of Britain – including some of Wales’ finest attractions. The stage is set at Powis Castle, a wonderfully preserved medieval monument that houses many treasures from India. If that’s not enough to keep you entertained, there’s also a 26 acre garden to enjoy.

Another highlight from the ‘Land of Song’ is, appropriately, the National Cycle Collection at Llandrindod Wells, which should come in useful if any of the riders get a puncture – assuming they can ride Boneshakers. Finally, the highest point of the Tour is a climb of the majestic Brecon Beacons mountain range.

Fifth stage: Dartmoor

The next leg takes place entirely in Devon, so it seems only fitting to choose one of the county’s most loved areas as its highlight. The wild moorland peaks and tors of Dartmoor make for a lovely secluded place to visit – though this is probably why it’s going to be the least popular with competitors!

The highest point of the Devon stretch is located outside The Warren House Inn. At 1425ft above sea level, this is said to be the third highest pub in England. At least if you make it up there you’re guaranteed a warm welcome – the fire inside the pub has supposedly been burning since 1845!

Sixth stage: Cheddar Gorge

The real life Helms Deep

With its steep inclines, dramatic peaks and amazing views, Cheddar Gorge in Somerset makes an ideal location for walkers, climbers cavers and cyclists.

The route up through the limestone gorge is the first serious climb of the day and, due to its popularity with tourists, is probably going to be one of the most crowded spectator spots on the tour.

The oldest complete human skeleton was found in the gorge. Supposedly dating from 7150 BC, ‘Cheddar Man’ subsequently upped sticks and moved to London when he became famous. He now resides in the Natural History Museum in London, though a replica is exhibited in the Cheddar museum. Another interesting fact: JRR Tolkien came to the area on honeymoon in 1916. It’s thought that the Cheddar caves may have inspired the cavernous stronghold of Helm’s Deep from The Two Towers. Whether that’s true or not is up for you to decide. Either way, it’s an undeniably otherwordly location.

Seventh stage: Sandringham Estate

Sandringham House Garden

The penultimate leg of the Tour finishes with a sprint to the Sandringham Estate, so you should have plenty of time to enjoy the house and gardens before it gets too crowded!

The official Sandringham website recommends at least 4 hours to explore everything, so let’s see what’s on offer…

Built in 1870 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, Sandringham is now the rather large holiday home of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Take a trip through the house and you’ll find guides in every room ready to answer any questions you may have. Some of the more interesting curios are held in the estate’s museum, however, which houses gifts from state trips abroad. If you have the energy there are 24 hectares of gardens to explore outside, so don’t be surprised to find yourself as tired the Tour pack when they arrive at the end of the stage!

Last stage: London

As a 24-hour city, it goes without saying that London is filled with activities, so we’re sure you don’t need us to recommend something to see or do! After several days touring through the relative tranquility of some of England, Scotland and Wales’ most scenic locales, the vibrant capital will make a welcome contrast for both competitors and spectators – though we wouldn’t surprised if everyone favours an early night after the finish at Whitehall!

Find more info on the Tour website.

Please visit the main cottages4you website if you fancy taking your own tour of Britain. You can search by map, region or price.




Pendle Predator – a few pics

Thanks to all the competitors who braved the elements to take part in the Pendle Predator on Sunday – not to mention the people who turned up to cheer them on!

We’re going to try and get some comments from the fearless cottages4you team (once they’ve got their breath back!) but in the meantime here are some pics from the day, taken by Kath Preston and Andrea Hanson.

And they're off!












Over the hills...











And far away!











That's the spirit!











Heather reaches the finish line.











A much needed rest - well done team!


The Pendle Predator diary – Heather O

The cottages4you sponsored Predator and Mini Predator cycle races take place in the hills of Pendle this Sunday (7 August 2011). So we thought we’d introduce some of our competitors and give them an opportunity to share their training tips and experiences so far.

Our next competitor is Campaign Planning Coordinator and recent cycling convert Heather Osborne (far right of pic).

What made you decide to take part in the Predator / Mini Predator?

2011 is a year of challenges for me – completed my first Triathlon in May, competed in my first Salterforth Drag race in June and now the Predator . . . . sorry Mini Predator, although im not sure there’s nothing mini about 65miles!!! Ha ha ha

I enjoy keeping fit and am active but having these events to train for has given me something to focus on and work towards, especially as I’m get married on October 1st.  I haven’t ridden a bike in years and years but got hooked when I trained for the triathlon, ordered a brand new Cube bike and signed up for the Predator!

What’s your training regime been like?

Up until a couple of weeks ago I went out on my bike a few times a week (about 15-20mile routes) ensuring to include some good hills as I’ve heard horror stories about those we’ll experience on the route!!  Some weekends I’ve joined others on longer 30 and 40 mile rides and this weekend I completed 30 miles on Saturday and 40 miles on Sunday (taking in Waddington Fell) in preparation for next week.  Had to stop my training the week before last due to illness but back on with it now.  I’m hoping that cycling, circuits and swimming will have prepared me enough for the challenge of the Predator!!! Wish me luck!!!

How long do you think it will take you to finish the course?

I’d love to say 6½-7 hours but realistically I think I’ll be looking at 7-8 hours

Any tips to share with your fellow competitors?

Ride your own race.  It’s a long route so take things easy and don’t burn out on the hills: there’ll be plenty to conquer! Most importantly, enjoy and look around – stunning views the whole way!

Thanks Heather!

The Pendle Predator is part of Pendle Cycle Fest 2011. If you’re in the area on Sunday why not pop down and enjoy a host of fun family activities at the Rolls Royce Sports Ground in Barnoldswick. Find more details on the website.