Cycling in East Yorkshire
East Yorkshire’s very different from the rugged West or North, or industrial South. Flat, quiet back roads wind through trim villages, some of which (Welton, the Newbalds, Huggate, Bishop Burton) outdo Sunday-ride Sussex for prettiness.
The Wolds – a compact area of modest hills, farms and villages north of Pocklington – are a favourite of local club runs; for visitors they’re an off-radar gem waiting to be explored, with the freewheel down the dramatic dry valley of Water Lane into Thixendale one of the county’s highlights.
The Way of Roses route, from Morecambe over in Lancashire to East Yorkshire’s chalky eastern coast, passes through the stately and beautiful market town of Beverley with its awesome Minster, ending at Bridlington’s bucket-and-spade beach and fine promenade. Carry on a little to Flamborough Head, with its mighty chalk cliffs that jut out into the North Sea, and you can see astounding seabird colonies – and scenery rivalling the Isle of Wight’s Needles.
On the southern boundary, the Transpennine Trail runs alongside the sprawling brown waters of the Humber Estuary, giving some fine views of the great icon of the region: the Humber Bridge. It’s the longest bridge in the world you can cycle across, with car-free paths on either side.
Hull, the 2017 City of Culture, has long been a city of strong everyday-cycling culture too; routes to the docks (and ferry to Rotterdam and Bruges) have recently been upgraded. An unsurfaced railtrail up to the seaside town of Hornsea – the eastern end of the Transpennine Trail – is a fine family day trip, but the mildly adventurous with sturdy bikes can experience something unique in the UK by cycling down Spurn Head, a sandy spit little wider than a road, that snakes three miles out to sea.
Cycling groups and clubs in East Yorkshire
East Yorkshire CTC
Hornsea Peloton (Hornsea)
Regular weekly evening and morning rides
Hull Thursday Road Club (Hull)
Founded in 1908; organises regular rides
Beech Holme Tandem Club (Hull)
Weekly rides that enable blind back riders to cycle with sighted front riders
ADPH Cycling (East Yorkshire)
Bridge Cycle Club (Hull)
Vermuyden Cycling Club (East Yorkshire)
City Road Club (Hull)
Runs rides, training and a junior cycling club
Cottingham Road Club (Cottingham)
Regular non-racing road rides starting from Hessle and Cottingham
Barton Wheelers Cycling Club (Goole)
What to take with you on your ride
The only thing you really need for cycling is a bike. And maybe a phone, and credit card: in Britain you’re only a call away from any service you might need.
But unless money is no object, it’s wise to take a few things with you on a day ride. A saddlebag, panniers or bikepacking bags are best for carrying stuff. A front basket is second best. A rucksack is third best. Your sweaty back will soon tell you why.
Cycling short distances in jeans and t-shirt is fine, but on a long or strenuous ride – over ten miles say, or in hills – those jeans will rub and the t-shirt will get damp and clingy. Shorts or, yes, lycra leggings and padded shorts will be much comfier, and merino or polyester cycling tops wick away the sweat, keeping you dry and comfy. (They don’t have to be lurid colours.)
If rain’s in the air, pack a rainproof top. If it might turn chilly, take a fleece or warm top. But the thing you’re most likely to forget is the sunblock.
It’s remarkable how often you enjoy being out on the bike so much that you suddenly realise it’s getting dark. So take lights (which are legally required at night). They’re price of a sandwich, take no space, are easy to put on thanks to tool-free plastic clips, and the batteries last for ever.
Take a puncture repair kit (with tyre levers) and pump. Make sure it fits your valves, which will be either ‘Presta’ or ‘Schraeder’ – realising they don’t match is a very common roadside discovery! Carrying a spare inner tube (make sure it matches your tyre size) makes puncture repair much easier: mend the old one back at home. If you do get in trouble, some kindly passing cyclist will probably stop to help.
Using a helmet is a personal choice – they’re not legally required.
Cycling makes you thirsty, so take lots of water. Long-distance riders talk about ‘the bonk’ – a sudden loss of energy rendering you almost stationary. It’s miraculously and instantly cured by eating something sweet. On short rides you’re unlikely to run out of energy, but just in case, take a snack like flapjack, banana, chocolate or jelly babies.
Taking a packed lunch or picnic will save you money, though that hot drink and cake in a cosy cafe could yet prove very tempting!
Your phone GPS could be invaluable for showing where you are when lost; you can download free detailed UK maps and GPS software before your trip.
Paper maps are still useful, though, so take one: no power source or wifi signal required, and they’re great for suggesting possibilities or changes of plan.