The hills are alive!

I’ve got my notes next to me, the first line is ‘set the scene..’
So here we go..

It was a coolish sunny morning in late March, the wind of late had died to naught and tension was in the air. The thoughts of many throughout the week had been focused upon this day – for today we ride!

And where do we ride you may ask – well to them there hills, that’s where..

Today’s club ride was all about spring – we’d ordered good weather and a favourable wind to go along with our hilly start to the season and luckily someone had remember to pay the weather God[s] as they duly delivered, the sun had enough warmth to allow the uncovering of some very pasty pins.

Sun == shorts


Our route took us NW to Market Weighton then North towards the hills.
We planned to split into two groups at Burnby, one for a shorter 42 mile route while the rest of us head on to Bishop Wilton.

I looked at the weather forecast the night before and worked out that the route would be doable in shorts – coolish on the way out and warming through the day. Spring weather indeed.

Our I’m-in reminders told me that we were to expect 15 riders, this would be a great turn out but on the day we started with 21.

As we reach the 20’s the on-road organisation becomes critical for safety, if we start to bunch up as a long line we sometimes become the unwelcome attention of less than patient car/lorry drivers..

A quick safety talk and finding out which riders were to go which route then we were off.

The choice of exiting Cottingham was perfect for today was hill themed – we went up the hill, through Skidby and kept on climbing.

Our group broke into little chunks as each rider took the gradual climb at their own pace before we all came together on the far side of Little Weighton. We then started to realise that today could be a special day as for once White Gap Road & Lane were a pleasant incline instead of the wind blasted road from hell.

We took the Burgate hill route into North Newbald which was a chance for everyone to enjoy the delights of a good downhill chase. I managed to bridge a gap to Carol and Ian and took full advantage of their slipstream before jumping off the front and getting as prone as I could – full on adrenalin rush every single time!

Downhill racing – what a buzz!


The next section of the route was on the main A1034, we broke into two groups and tried to keep them as compact as possible, even so we still had a very near miss from a couple of cars and one very large Esso tanker that overtook us on the approach of a blind bend – stupid!

The turning at Sancton couldn’t come quick enough and the quiet lanes were a blessing after the danger of the main road. The route between the A1034 and Cliffe Road is a little rutted but great on a bike – nice undulating terrain and great countryside to enjoy, we live in a superb area of the UK for cycling..

Empty roads


Luckily we only had to endure Cliffe Road for a little while, the East Riding Council don’t maintain this road to any real standards with the edges badly degrading and very large potholes that could knock you off your bike every 10 meters or so. The pack was very busy with hand signals pointing out the many dangers for those following, it was noted though that a certain ‘Sam’, one of our riders who has a young family so doesn’t ride as often loves Cliffe Road and would have been putting the hammer down if he were present, but he wasn’t so we didn’t..

We pass through Market Weighton, missed the turning and had to double back to make sure we picked up the Northerly Loundsborough Road which runs arrow straight to the hills.

The pack took the little hills at individual speeds which meant we became very strung out – nearly 2 miles between the first and last riders. This is fine as the our members are disciplined enough to know when to regroup, Ian (and I’m assuming it was Ian on the front!) stopped them all in Burnby to grab some calories and to say goodbye to the riders doing the 42 mile route.

The pack splitting


They were to set to ride Nunburnholme from the North and then take a quiet route back, looking at the strava routes it seems they took a collective decision to take a fast route home – I suspect time was pressing.

We filled our faces with bananas and other cycling related food stuff and continued on, talk in the pack was now mainly of steep hills – “Have you not ridden this one yet?”
“It’s like Nunburnhome but steeper and longer – you’ll love it!”
People were starting to get nervous..


Now if you’ve never been to Bishop Wilton then make sure you take the time to visit, it’s a lovely village with some great walking in the valley behind, it’s a mecca for walkers and cyclists alike.

The hill is called – Worsendale never have I seen a more aptly named hill..

We stopped for a few seconds at the bottom of the hill for Chris to cheat by leaving behind his full water bottle and gillet before hitting the slopes, you turn a corner and the hill just ramps up in front of you. You’re soon at 10+% and it stays there for a long time before the gradient increases to 20%, you actually feel relief as it returns to a more sensible 9-10%!

yes it is that steep!


The surface is rough in places which isn’t a problem on the ascent but we’d have to watch it on the way down – oh by the way did I not mention that we only rode here to climb the hill? We were here to do a Grand Old Duke on its ass – i.e. we pedalled up to the top & then pedalled down again – only cyclists would understand or climbers – they’d understand too..

We passed by a group of walkers who seemed a little shocked to have a large group of sweaty wheezing cyclists pass them one by one to just stand at the top grinning inanely while trying desperately to coax over taxed lungs into passing oxygen to very very tired muscles.



We reached the top in ones & twos with the cheers and clapping getting louder for each one that reached the summit, a big clap was given to Dave, a new member who joined us after last weeks starter ride. Dave did the climb using just toe clips, yes I know history has shown that toe clips did is just fine for a very long time but there no comparison for getting the full effort out of your legs as a good set of cleats and clip-less pedals do. I believe Dave is now looking into clip-less pedals!

worth the effort?


Standing at the top was a good feeling for all, our reason for the ride


was complete, now to ride home, via the many many hills we had left!

smile and wave boys – smile and wave..



Straight back down the hill where I managed to get a speed wobble on my bike, I remembered a bit of advice to grip the top cross member with my knees while ‘slowly’ reducing speed, the wobble was soon under control.

waiting at the top of Givendale


A quick stop in the village for Chris to pick up his dead weight (tsk tsk..) and straight onto the next hill – Great Givendale – 8% avg over 0.7 of a mile with sections touching 15+%

Enough to hurt after Worsendale, I picked off a few wheels and got rudely swore at by the most uncouth of riders (I’m looking at you Wayne!) just for passing him..


The top allowed a re-grouping and refuel to happen before heading South towards Millington – now we were on roads through the most Cottingham Road Club – trip to the Yorkshire Wolds – made famous by David Hockneyamazing Wolds scenery, all around us we were surrounded by the landscapes that captivated. It wasn’t hard to see why David Hockney spent so long in the Wolds, they really are a magical land.

Land of Hockney’s paintings – the Yorkshire Wolds


Chris mentioned that there was a little hill that he hadn’t noticed when planning the route, we both smiled at the thought of another little hill but I could feel the lasers from some members as there legs were starting to feel the strain.

The route took as through Kilnwick Percey and skirted the hills heading south towards Nunburnholme – the last of the big ones for the day.


A quick head count at the bottom as the riders passed – “Are you the last Hannah?*” then up we went, I was taking this one easy I can tell you, my legs felt as though they’d done some climbing and we still had a lumpy ride back home to complete.

*(Note to all – I wasn’t picking on Hannah there! She was just the last person as we hit Nunburnholme..)

Stopping at the top of Nunburnholme is always special – the view on a clear day is magnificent being able to see the pennies. Unfortunately there was a little haze so the view wasn’t so good but still a reward for the effort.

the rewards of Nunburnholme


Back up Intake Hill (it’s much easier going down!) then down towards Market Weighton where we turned off towards Goodmanham to what has to be one of the best cycle routes in the Wolds when there’s a back wind, which today there was!

The old railway line is flanked by a winding road all the way to Etton and the valley it passes through soaks up the sunshine. Our pack strung out right along the length as Ian, Carol, Gary and others decided that they’d give it everything along the valley, I took the more ‘mature’ option of staying with the groupette that was forming at the back.

Now I know what Mark Cavendish feels like after a hard day in the hills – chit chat at the back is more fun i say..

Some of our riders were now struggling, legs were getting heavy and the pace slowed, we limped into Etton were we found the others basking in the sunshine, I was half expecting them to be drinking beer at the pub and I wouldn’t have blamed them, the sun was lovely on my back.

soaking up the rays at Etton


The last 15 miles back to Cotttingham was done at a pace to suit tired legs with our groupette collecting stragglers all the time and as we completed the final hill of they day next to Lazats just outside of Cottingham I could hear a sigh of relief from many a person behind me.

It was a great day of cycling – we covered 62 miles as a club and I climbed 4500+ft of hills – enough for any Sunday club ride..

So as we parted at from Cottingham to go home for a well earned rest we all felt a warm glow of satisfaction, it was hard but worth it. A lot of club members pushed themselves much further than they would have ever have done if it weren’t for the support of the club and riders around them.


If you don’t belive the write up then take a look at Alans superb video. .


Our informal club seems to have hit the nail right on the head, today was a special day for many and will be remembered for quite a while..

We’re a supportive bunch in the Cottingham Road Club – we enjoy our cycling and want you to enjoy it too.. if you have enjoyed the tale and feel like joining us then get in touch..

Email me or just turn up to one of our rides.
If you’re relatively new then try out on the starter rides when we run them, you’ll not regret it..