Tour de France in the Dales
Well, the Tour de France’s visit to the Yorkshire Dales has been and gone, and if you didn’t see it in person, you probably saw it on TV. It was an amazing experience and we are sure that it will live long and fondly in many people’s memories.
So what now? We think that the best way to get over the ‘post-Grand Départ blues’ is to come to the Dales and see the beauty of the area for yourself, and find out what cycling here is all about. And don’t worry – there aren’t quite so many people here now as there were on 5 July when Le Tour powered their way through the National Park!
Experience the Tour
One of the great things about cycling is that you can experience the same views and roads as the professionals. We may be biased but we think the best part of Stage 1 was the wonderful roads of the Yorkshire Dales National Park which took in three classified climbs and fantastic scenery. A bonus for us amateur riders without the advantage of road closures is that these are also the quieter roads to cycle on. We have produced a couple of suggested rides for people who want to get the Stage 1 experience.
You can ride up Wharfedale from Grassington passing Kilnsey Crag to take on the first climb on the Tour de France – Kidstones Pass. Then return back down the valley on a back road for a great 45km ride – the Cote de Kidstones.
Or, start in Reeth, Hawes or Leyburn and take on the two cols route which takes you over Buttertubs Pass and Grinton Moor – the second and third climbs on the route.
Alternatively, if you are up for a real challenge, take on all three climbs on the TdF in the Dales route, a 125km circular route which includes a return from Middleham via the remote Coverdale valley. We have written this starting at Grassington but you can obviously start in any of the towns along the route.
Be warned though – although the organisers categorised Stage 1 as a ‘flat route’, very few people will agree with them!
A bit of history
Just in case you had forgotten on 5 and 6 July 2014 the Tour de France began in Yorkshire. The first stage started in Leeds, made its way to Skipton and then travelled through the Yorkshire Dales National Park passing along Wharfedale, Wensleydale and Swaledale, before heading to Harrogate.
The second stage left York, went back through Harrogate and came to Bolton Abbey before turning south through the Pennines to Sheffield. The third stage saw the riders head from Cambridge down to a finish in London.
Local communities along the route really pulled out the stops in decorating their towns and villages in preparation, and fans added their own touches to the roads being used.
It was, quite simply, a wonderful, amazing, unforgettable, iconic, spectacular, inspiring, once-in-a-lifetime, colourful, ‘magnifique’, and unbelievable experience! We quite enjoyed it!