Cycling in the Yorkshire Dales

24 day rides on quiet lanes, plus a 'Vuelta' 6-stage tour of the Dales

By Harry Dowdell

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Cycling in the Yorkshire Dales describes 23 day rides, a 6-stage 305km cycle tour and Stage 1 of the 2014 Tour de France. The routes are graded by distance, climb and overall gradient, all suitable for road bikes and illustrated with maps and profiles. The Dales offer varied cycling, an extensive road network and many cycle-friendly cafés.



All year round cycling but the very best time is spring and early summer when the hay meadows are in flower and the birds of the high moors return to breed.


Pateley Bridge, Grassington, Ingleton, Settle, Reeth, Sedbergh, Hawes and Leyburn


Routes are graded as Short, Medium and Long and classified as Moderate, Hard or Challenging. There are no Easy rides in the Dales. The routes are suitable for all but the novice cyclist. Those with less experience may need to rest a little more often.
Must See

Must See

Cycling through Wharfedale, Swaledale, Wensleydale, Nidderdale, Ribblesdale, Malhamdale, Littondale, Dentdale and the Lune Valley. Challenging climbs over The Fleak, Birkdale, Tan Hill, Oxnop Head, Buttertubs, Greets Moss, Park Rash, Trapping Hill and Fleet Moss.
Out of Stock
31 Mar 2014
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
  • Overview

    In 23 day rides, a six-stage 310km (203 miles) 'Vuelta a Dales' (based on the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway) and a 206km tour that follows the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, this guidebook features varied cycling routes throughout the Yorkshire Dales.

    The Vuelta a Dales takes in the best dales, passes and viewpoints as it passes through Grassington, Leyburn, Hawes, Kirkby Stephen, Sedbergh, Ingleton and Settle.

    The Yorkshire Dales have always welcomed visitors who enjoy the views. For cyclists, the national park and the areas overlapping its boundaries provide a splendid mix of varied scenic landscapes, an extensive network of roads and peaceful lanes and many cycle-friendly cafés and tea shops. With almost every turn revealing yet another stunning view, the Dales are an ideal area to explore by bike.

    Stage 1 of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart is just over 200km long, including some steep climbs and descents. It is described in the book in full, but can also be made into a slightly shorter circular route starting in Harrogate, joining the route in Wharfedale and avoiding the urban section in Leeds.

    All of routes describes in the book are graded for difficulty as short, medium and long (referring to cycling time) and moderate, hard and challenging (based on the ratio of total climb to overall distance).

    The nature of the terrain means there are no easy rides in the Dales, so the routes require certain levels of experience and fitness. With the exception of two, which include very short unsurfaced sections, all routes are on road. Racing, touring and hybrid bikes are fine for the rides described, with the exception of the Vuelta for which a more robust touring or hybrid bike may prove to be a better luggage carrier.

    • 23 graded day routes throughout the Dales, one lung-busting one-day Tour de France challenge and a six-stage cycle tour
    • all routes suitable for road bikes and graded by a combination of distance, climb and overall gradient
    • with information about local facilities for cyclists
    • GPX tracks of all routes available to download when you buy the book
  • Contents

    Geology of the Dales
    Human habitation
    Getting there and getting about
    When to go
    Food and drink
    What to wear
    What to take
    Choosing your bike
    Using this guide
    Pateley Bridge
    Link Route Leeds Bradford Airport to Askwith
    Route 1 Nidderdale, Washburn and Wharfedale
    Route 2 Brimham Moor, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal
    Route 3 Masham and Burn Valley
    Route 4 Round Barden
    Route 5 Malhamdale and High Limestone Country
    Route 6 Malhamdale by way of Bordley
    Route 7 Malhamdale, Silverdale and Littondale
    Route 8 Dentdale and round Whernside
    Route 9 Ribblesdale and round Ingleborough
    Route 10 Dales and Tarn
    Route 11 Langcliffe Scar and Malham
    Route 12 Tan Hill
    Route 13 Wensleydale, Mallerstang and Tan Hill
    Route 14 Richmond
    Route 15 Lune Valley and Barbondale
    Route 16 Circuit of the Howgill Fells
    Route 17 Barbondale and Holme Open Farm
    Route 18 The Big Cheese
    Route 19 Semerwater
    Route 20 Coverdale and Langstrothdale Chase
    Link Route Northallerton to Leyburn
    Route 21 Swaledale and The Fleak
    Route 22 Aysgarth Falls
    Route 23 Jervaulx Abbey and Middleham
    Tour de France 2014
    Route 24 Tour de France 2014 Stage 1: Leeds to Harrogate
    La Vuelta a Dales
    Stage 1 Settle to Pateley Bridge
    Stage 2 Pateley Bridge to Leyburn
    Stage 3 Leyburn to Hawes
    Stage 4 Hawes to Muker
    Stage 5 Muker to Sedbergh
    Stage 6 Sedbergh to Settle

    Appendix A Route summary table
    Appendix B Useful contacts
    Appendix C Campsites along the Vuelta a Dales
    Appendix D Cycles on public transport
    Appendix E Basic bike maintenance

  • Maps

    The maps included in this guide should prove more than adequate to navigate the routes. However for those who prefer to do their own thing there are a number of options. Although there are a number of map makers who provide coverage of the Dales, it is the Ordnance Survey who continues to lead the way with a range of reliable and easy-to-read maps.

    Those who wish to explore on foot should find the Ordnance Survey 1:25 000 Explorer maps ideal. Most of the National Park is covered by two maps; OL30 Yorkshire Dales Northern & Central along with OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western. To cover the routes in this guidebook three more are required: 298 Nidderdale, 297 Lower Wharfedale & Upper Washburn Valley and OL19 Howgill Fells and Upper Eden Valley. These are available as paper maps as well as digitally. Digital suppliers include the likes of TrackLogs (, who can also provide custom maps at various scales. Often included in the bundle is the excellent 1:250 000 OS map of Great Britain. This is a great scale with the right level of detail for long range touring but is no longer available in paper form. All other mapmakers throughout the world should take note.

  • Updates
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    Cycle Hire - Appendix B

    Nidderdale Cycles -

  • Reviews

    If you have used Cicerone guides in the past then you’ll recognise the format and the high production quality. If you haven’t, then as you become acquainted with them you will soon pick up on the fact that Cicerone guides are amongst the best.

    This is a through and imaginative guide to a fine cycle touring area. It is likely to be of interest to those who are familiar with the Yorkshire Dales National Park as well as new-comers. As someone who falls into the first category, I found reading it refreshing. For the newcomer, it offers all that is necessary to discover the area at one’s own pace, at whatever speed you take the ascents and descents.

    Read the full review here: Cycling in the Yorkshire Dales

    Seven Day Cyclist, November 2014

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Harry Dowdell

Harry Dowdell has loved cycling for as long as he can remember. His first cycle tour was around the North York Moors while still at school and he has since enjoyed touring in Ireland, France, Spain, Slovenia and Norway. He cycles regularly in Spain and at home in Yorkshire, where he pays the bills working as a fitness instructor.

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