High Parks Tearoom,Newton-le-Willows, North Yorkshire

Fasted riding is good for you they said.  No it’s not, it’s horrific when doing 20 miles with 1,200 feet elevation so I was delighted 16 miles in to stumble across this little gem of a cafe hidden away in Newton-le-Willows.

Cafe Front

From the front it’s hard to spot how to get in but once you do you won’t be disappointed with the food and drink.


I ordered a bacon sandwich and a flat white.  It came in at £7.75 which is quite steep but the food is of great quality.  The bacon was well cooked and lean, the bread roll fresh with a nice crust and a little bit of side salad.  Now salad with a bacon sandwich isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I rammed it all in there and it was beautiful.

The coffee tasted great and was just what I needed to get me going the last few miles back home.  One thing that was a shame was that it was a little misty as I’m sure the view from the seats outside would be spectacular on a clear day.


A great little cafe and I will be back for another one of those bacon sandwiches!

You can find there website here.

Trip Advisor


Tour de Yorkshire 2016 – Stage 3

Having decided to have a day in front of the TV to watch Stage 2 (that worked out well didn’t it?) I was all set to watch Stage 3 of the Tour de Yorkshire from Sutton Bank.

Having checked the weather forecast the night before it looked to be dry but as I picked up Farny in the car the heavens opened.  Great.  The rain showed no sign of easing up so we though ‘sod it’ and set off regardless.

The conditions were pretty horrific and 7 miles in they finally got the better of us.  As we turned left to Ainderby Quernhow Farny’s bike slid from under him and he skidded along the road.  As I was following pretty close behind I grabbed my breaks no no avail and ran into the back of him and ended up on the floor.

After the initial shock thankfully I was ok but Farny had ripped his shorts and jacket and got some pretty bad road rash.  We decided to call it a day as his bike wasn’t selecting all gears and phoned the Mrs up to collect us.

So it was decided that after a quick shower we would head to Northallerton and watch from there then have some recovery ales and big up our crash.

The last 20 seconds or so show a little bit of the damage to ferny’s bike and clothes!

Only managed to take a few pics:


The break passed through with a  2 minute gap over the peloton.


NFTO were busy on the front, closely followed by Lotto Jumbo.

So with that the Tour de Yorkshire was over.  We went to the pub and enjoyed a few beers then I watched the highlights back.  Sutton Bank looked incredible and i was gutted that we didn’t make it there but hopefully next year we’ll get to watch the riders up another iconic Yorkshire climb.

And finally if you don’t like gore please don’t scroll down – this is a pic of Farny’s road rash!

Road Rash

Tour de Yorkshire 2016 – Stage 1

It is that time of the cycling calendar, the best race in the UK graces our fine (pothole ridden) roads and we get to watch our cycling heroes race within a bike ride from our homes.  I love the Tour de Yorkshire!

The first stage of 2016 was from Beverley to Settle, 185km long and would go though Tadcaster meaning from York there was plenty of opportunity to spectate nearby.  I decided upon Cawood – a lovely village just outside of Selby and only 10 miles to cycle.

I have been checking the weather forecast religiously all week but unfortunately the promises of 4ºC, wind and rain hadn’t altered as Friday loomed so on with the full winter kit and off I went.

My mate Farny joined me as we set off from York.  We made good time but the headwind made it tough going, for me anyway.  As we made our way from Riccall to Cawood the wind was immense.  It just didn’t let up.  The open landscape let the wind continually batter us which made it even more impressive when watching the Pro’s travelling along the same roads doing about 25mph to our 13mph!

Riding into Cawood me and Farny found a pub with a decent beer garden overlooking the bridge in the village.  It would provide a good place to watch from.  With beers in hand we waited.


First up came the rain.  It poured down.  Then came the break.  They had 4 minutes on the peloton which was great going considering they had gained that margin in a mighty headwind.

The Break

Forgive my ignorance but I have no idea who was in the break.  As I write I have still not watched the stage back.  Then came the main group (see header photo).  As always is the case when the weather is bad it’s hard to pick out individual riders but I managed to spot Pete Kennough driving Sky on at the front but it was;t until I got home and checked my photos that I spotted a few other British riders.

Russ Downing

I think this one is Russ Downing due to the beard but I may be wrong!

Sir Brad

I’m almost certain this is Sir Brad.  You can spot the black bike and the familiar nose underneath that aero helmet to keep the rain out.  It was a shame that he abandoned today without completing the stage but he says he didn’t want to risk a crash with Rio coming up.  If that was the case surely he shouldn’t have entered but then again he’ll be under massive pressure to take the start as his name alone adds kudos to the race.

And that was that.  Cold legs and body went back onto the bike and enjoyed a short tailwind before hitting a headwind for the last 7 miles back to York.  It was the hardest 30 mile ride I have ever done so I doth my cap to the riders today who completed the 115 miles to Settle.

Not going to Stage 2 but will be on Sutton Bank for Stage 3.  See you there!

Underdressed for Spring ends in disaster!

As I was shopping yesterday morning the sun was shining and I was looking forward to my first 50 mile ride of the year.  It was going to be a little bit of a test, 2,000ft of climbing over a distance I hadn’t tackled since the Prudential Ride 100 back in August 2015 but I was confident after doing 37 miles last Sunday with no issues.


As I set off it was a little chilly but still pretty warm but 10 miles in it was getting cold.  I had also forgot my mini pump so when the rain started a further 2 miles down the road I was beginning to think about abandoning but seen as though that would be failure I plodded on, praying to the puncture Gods that I would not get one.

Everything was going swimmingly up to the climb.  It was a good test, 0.8 miles (1.3km) at an average of 9% which I slowly chugged up.  The HR data from my Garmin Vivosmart HR went mental, think it was because of my wrist being sweaty which was a pain but apart from that I was happy.


It was cold up there, and my legs felt it.  I was about 30 miles in at this point and the dreaded thigh cramps started.  I couldn’t put any power down or my legs would fully cramp.  This was not good.  I struggled on for another 10 miles and ended up in Stamford Bridge where I had a nice coffee and tried to warm up.  The last 10 miles were hell.  I eventually arrived home and dived straight into the shower to warm my poor legs up.

Note to self (and others) – if you are going on a long ride and it’s cold and you are out of shape ALWAYS overdress, never underdress!

Anyway, lesson learned, 52 miles under stress in the legs so all things considered I’m happy with that.  I’m also happy with my average speed being 15.2mph with that climbing and the fact I couldn’t push at all in the final 20.  Think my fitness is alright for March and now once my house move is done I can take advantage of living close to the Yorkshire Dales and get even fitter for Ride 100 2016.

Oh, and always pack your mini pump.

Yorks of Thirsk – Thirsk, North Yorkshire

Visited this lovely little cycle cafe in Thirsk on Sunday. Only had time to nip in for an espresso but the service was quick, prices reasonable and the coffee delicious.

The walls are adorned with various cycling memrobelia and they offer locks for your bikes if you wish to sit indoors.

Great cafe and we’ll be back!


No 57 The Stang (and No 51 Tan Hill) – 100 Greatest Climbs

I don’t normally do a blog post for every climb I do on the list but The Stang was a bit of an achievement.  It was the first one on the list that I have ridden from bottom to top without stopping.

Now you may not think this is that good but last year I was 2 stone heavier and would do anything to avoid hills and now I go actively looking for them.  I don’t know why but I do… I kind of enjoy the pain.


The first part of the climb was tough but then following a short downhill section it was just pretty steady, never really getting above 12% as I churned my way to the top.  But the best part about getting to the top is going down…

After that it was straight on to Tan Hill, a long 6 mile morning slog to the highest Inn in the British Isles.

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So that was two 100 Greatest Climbs, back to back, in a day.  No wonder I could barely make it up the little hills on the way back to Reeth.  Still, it was all worth it and now that’s 8 down, 92 to go.  Think I’ll try a few in West Yorkshire over the coming weeks, I’m keeping away from The Dales for a while!


Buttertubs Pass (The Wrong Way)

So why the wrong way?  Well I wanted to do Buttertubs and I hadn’t read 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs yet so we rode part of the 2014 Stage 1 Tour de France route – little did I know that the official 100 Climbs segment is the reverse!  Oh well, just means I’ll have to do it again.


We started off from Hawes and climbed up the modest 5-6% gradients through Simonside before the ramps got steeper.  As you can see from the above photo it is quite a big hill that we were attempting.

It’s a long old drag for a mile or so then it begins to ramp up quite severely up to the first cattle grid.  The sign says 17% from memory but my Garmin was showing 20% at parts.  There is two steep ramps on the way to the first cattle grid – the first was a struggle but doable, on the second I had to stop.

FullSizeRender 2

As you can see with my hands slumped over the bars I was struggling.  I didn’t even stop at my max HR, I had just ran our of oxygen.  I was on the limit so I admired the view for a couple of minutes and then slogged on.

It was worth it though.  Once you hit the top the descent is pretty good.  A couple of sharp corners and a few long, straight drags to get some good speed up on.

FullSizeRender 3

Overall I was expecting to stop 2-3 times so I was chuffed I only conked out once.  I expected the climb to be harder though, even at my low speeds.  I think climbing the ‘official’ way will be a lot harder so I’ll maybe leave it for a bit before attempting it again.

Here is my Garmin Verb video of the climb and descent – it’s long but if you skip to 33 mins you can see the descent.

I am delighted that I did it though and I would recommend others to tackle it too.  The long, steady climbs like this are hard to find and you feel like a GC contender slogging up them!

The Tour De France In Yorkshire – Blog #3

6th April 2014, Stage 2

No cycling today, got tickets to the start of Stage 2 at York Racecourse…


…and as you can see we had a pretty good view of the riders!!  Above you can see Marcel Kittel, Peter Sagan, Jens Voigt and Byran Coquard.

It was a different take on the race today.  There was plenty of stands to wander around, a few food outlets, nice coffee van and the team presentation stage.  We managed to get round the back of this and take a few pics of some of the riders:

Chris Froome:



Peter Sagan:


Marcel Kittel:


After this we had a quick sneak round the VIP helicopters that they use at Le Tour:


Then had a little play on the Army stand:


As all this was happening we got a treat with a Lancaster Bomber and a Spitfire flying past the racecourse to mark the start of the race:

It’s not often you see a Lancaster and this prompted us to find a good place by the course to see the riders roll out.  It was nice for a change to see them all relaxed and enjoying themselves rather than flying along at 60kph:

Bernie Eisel:


Geraint Thomas:


Chris Froome:


Overall it was an amazing morning, despite the 7:30am start, but it was one I won’t forget in a hurry.

Here is the video of the roll out to the start line at the racecourse:




The Tour De France In Yorkshire – Blog #1


It’s that time of year again – the biggest bike race in the world begins in the next few days and it starts in God’s Own County, Yorkshire.

Last year I was fortunate enough to travel to France to watch two stages of the Tour (see my previous blogs here) but this year I have a little less distance to travel as the stages come to York and pass close to my hometown, Northallerton.

Stage one will see us spectating from Aysgarth and then cycling a few miles to pick the race up as it passes through Leyburn, giving us a rare opportunity to see the riders twice.  Stage two is going to be a more touristy affair – picnicking at York Racecourse for the start of the race then heading into the city to watch the action unfold with a few pints.

Hopefully the weather will hold out and the racing be everything I hope it is.  From what I’ve seen in York already Yorkshire is ready to welcome the Tour and put itself on the world map when it comes to hosting the Grand Depart 2014.  Allez Yorkshire.

RANTS – EDL on Facebook, Martinez to Everton, Stoke & Yorkshire Boards

It’s been a while since I blogged – head has been in the shed for a few months – but I’m pleased to say it’s now firmly out of the shed and I can resume ranting about stuff on here!

Posts about EDL on Facebook

I’m getting sick of my Facebook timeline being full of people supporting what the EDL are saying regarding Muslim extremism and how shocking it is that Help For Heroes refused an EDL donation. I wish these people posting this utter rubbish would just take a step back and they might realise they are sounding like utter morons. It’s quite sad to see friends lose all intelligence by getting swept up in mass hysteria.

Martinez to Everton

Martinez has steered Wigan into the relegation zone for the past few seasons and somehow managed to escape, except for this season. Oh, they had an easy FA Cup run also and beat a Man City side that never showed up. Hardly the man to help Everton continue to overachieve again in the coming seasons. I see Everton doing one thing if they appoint him, and that’s sliding down the league becoming a bottom to mid-table side.


Their fans are a total bunch of buffoons wanting rid of Tony Pullis. The guy has kept them safe for the past however many seasons and they are bored. I can see them getting relegated now in the next few seasons as the new managers come in and mess up a successful system that they had in place. Oh well, they deserve it!

Darts – Yorkshire Board

I have been playing Summer League darts on a Yorkshire Board. I hate the Yorkshire board. It’s the only thing I hate from Yorkshire apart from Leeds United, and I think they should ban both of them.