Col de Rates

Start and finish :Denia, Costa Blanca.

44 Miles

Elevation 2,983 feet

A beautiful col starting near Parcent with average gradients of 5% and just 6.5kms of stunning riding. Smooth gradients and hairpins matched the near perfect tarmac. Rosemary, Thyme, and Orange Blossom made the fragrant ride near perfect with occasional Pine trees offering any needed shade.

Beautiful hairpins lead the way clinging to the mountain side and the way ahead can be seen with a cafe at the top. A stunning road with magnificent views over the edge keep your mind focused on the way ahead. A truly wonderful quiet ride over this beautiful Col.



Posted in Cols under 1500 m, Spain | Leave a comment

Great Dun Fell


Start and finish Penrith.

42 miles.

Accent 3523 feet

A tootle along quiet lanes in the Eden valley a haven for road cyclists. Leaving Eamont bridge and heading towards Temple Sowerby the main distraction a herd of Herdwicks galloping along the road between fields.

Foxgloves glinting with shades of pink on a warm and windy summers day.

Cycling along the old A66 through the pretty village of Temple Sowerby, past the old pub sitting on the green and on towards the start of this iconic Lakeland ride at the village of Knock.

Great Dun Fell,  the greatest hill climb for a road cyclist in England, the Mont Ventoux with gradients of an average 9% to max 20% a catergorie 2 climb and one I can see from my bedroom window.




Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Hardnott Pass

Hardnott Pass from Boot



















Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Whinlatter pass from Lorton


Whinlatter pass

Start and finish: Keswick.

Distance :26.5 miles.

Elevation: 1726 feet.

Coffee Stop: Allerdean Court Hotel

Leaving Keswick and joining the Bassenthwaite road on a sunny May morning, a slight breeze blowing the wild flowers, leading the way all along this perfect cycle ride. A speedy flat section passing under  the steep slopes of Skiddaw and Dodd wood famous for the Osprey. The speed was fast, to spot one of the pair that are nesting at the moment. Down towards the Lake passing St Bega church through woodlands and a glimpses of the lake and Barf in the distance.

A brief sharp uphill to the Castle Inn, before a super downhill past Armthwaite Hall and over the bridge. A quick stop, to lean over and spot a wild trout in the clear water below. Passing Lakes Distillery a popular spot for lunch and a tasting tour, but not today. A friendly bunch of cyclists are passed and the speed quickens, Embleton to Cockermouth on the quiet road above A66. Fresh Eggs for sale at the old farmhouse, and delicious Lemon curd. The head is down and peddling picks up momentum, cyclists racing along dreaming of Tour de Britain starting in Cockermouth a few months before.

A well earned excellent cappuccino stop with homemade Shortcake biscuits at the very friendly Allerdale court hotel. With seats outside to watch the world go by. Pass beside the Church and along Kirkgate  in an easy gear, a stunning road begins to head down to Lorton. Crummock water mountain tops bathed in sunshine  fills the skyline. A ridge of shapely peaks leads the way.

Whinlatter pass can know be seen, turn off for Lorton and begin the steady accent through shaded trees, and a few typical cumbrian white farmhouses perched high on the road. The bridge is reached and the going gets slower a few switchbacks with a near 20 %  after catching the breath the road gets easier. A beautiful quiet ride to the top of the Whinlatter forest, forget me not, wild garlic and  golden gorse, brightly lead the way.

A breath at the top, with even a coffee stop if required before the long steep descent passing the ice cream van at the scenic car park with views far below. Down into Braithwaite pass the shallow, bubbling stream that roared with the floods and caused destruction to many homes.

Back to Keswick along the fast cycle path and a wonderful cycle ride, that wants you wanting more.






Aside | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Tour de Yorkshire Whitby 2016


A cold wet very windy day for the riders making there way from Middlesborough the finishing line at Scarborough. The crowds lined the way through the Yorkshire towns and villages, with flags proudly flying and plenty of bikes sprayed yellow and blue. Thirsk choose the knitted course with handmade garments lining the streets.


We found our spot on the way out of Whitby, high up near the Abbey and away from the busy centre. The helicopter alerted us early the raceway on its way down the Guisborough road. Excitement filled the hearts of the waiting fans.Many  Motorbike policemen whizzed by with horns blowing. The riders were close, the helicopter hoovered above. Shouts and cheers and waving of flags, the riders speed by, we make out a few familiar faces and kit sponsors. Tommy Voecler is amongst the leaders with Nicholas Roche for team sky fighting for a place.


All the cyclists seem happy to see the crowds, even some managing a smile for the cheers they receive. They soon speed by, heading along the country road to Robin Hoods bay and on to Oliver mount where the fight for winner of the Yorkshire crown will be told.



The great Tommy Voecler wins the heart of the Yorkshire crowd and races for glory past Nicholas Roche.


Image | Posted on by | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dunmail Raise cycle path

Grasmere via Dunmail Raise from Castlerigg Stone circle

Distance 28 miles

Height gain 2598


A stunning beautiful ride on a Bluebird day. Heading down to St John in the valley, a lovely meander beside Glendamakin beck with Spring Lambs bouncing about in the fresh green grass.


The closed A590 road (until mid May 2016) meant no traffic along the back of Thirlmere except for two ramblers buses. A total joy to be able to enjoy this stunning lake edge ride beneath the Scotch pines and larch.


Dunmail pass is reached a small detour off the main round where one of the landslides hit and destroyed part of the main route through the Lake district.

A long down hill all the way to the tea shop in Grasmere, sunshine but all the scones are sold out. Back on the bike and straight up the pass to the new cycle path. With truly beautiful views down to Thirlmere and far behold to Blencathra bathed in a wonderful pink light.


Back along the lake edge and onto Castlerigg Stone Circle, the final accent of the day and Freewheel back to the starting point heading towards Clough head and Blencathra totally stunning.





Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Caldbeck from Penrith



Caldbeck from Penrith

Miles 36.5

Height gain 1960 feet

Starting in Penrith and heading towards Greystoke. A little detour via Newbiggin takes you on quieter roads with Daffodils on the roadside passing small farms and through the centre of pretty Greystoke passing the pub and heading towards Hutton Roof.

Heading up a gentle ascent for a couple of miles with Lakeland fells coming into view. The farming pastures and old stone walls change to open fells, bracken and gorse. Lambs gently feeding in the Spring sunshine. Passing through Hutton Roof and at last the ascending is reached with a long downhill with vista’s of Blencathra, Great Mell fell and towards Catbells and Causey pike in the far distance.

A sharp right and signpost to Caldbeck,  rolling hills and on through Hesket Newmarket and soon Caldbeck is reached passing the scenic cricket pitch and on to the pub. Oddfellars  was bathed in sunshine so a table outside and door stopper sandwiches followed by a cafetiere of good coffee.

Back on the saddle and down through Hesket turning for Penrith. A steady climb all the way to Johnby. Look across to the right and the Solway and distant  Scottish hills can be seen. It’s down hill most of the way passing Greystoke cycling cafe, ideal for a cup of tea and following the C2C towards Blencow across the bridge with pretty river Peterill  gurgling by. Beside the river  a bench is there, enjoy the moment and watch for wildlife fluttering by. The last few miles back to Penrith passing through Newton Reigny. A beautiful ride on quiet roads, stunning Lakeland fells, a glimpse of the Solway  and pretty Eden valley.




Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sa Calobra

Lluc to Sa Calobra
30 miles
Height gain 1280 m
Date 22nd October 2015



It felt freezing cold as we Parked at Lluc monastery and got ready for the famous cycle ride ahead of us. Pleased to have brought warmer gear, it was certainly needed. The mist in the mountain tops looked menacing, once on the bike it started to clear and we made our way along the pretty pine tree road to the start of the Sa calabra.


Looking down into the valleys below, solitary villas sitting proudly with poplar trees making you feel that you were in the Tuscan hills. A Cafe sits at the top, fresh Orange juice advertised for the weary but happy cyclist. A warning sign states heavy coach traffic between 1pm and 3pm. I look at the time, shucks it’s just turning one.

We head off down, that becomes an accent for 2kms passing a sign that declares we are on the scariest mountain cycle ride in Majorca. Twenty six beautiful hairpins a sheer construction nightmare but a road to be marvelled at clinging the the mountain side. My brakes just held all the way down to the tiny port with its registered flocks of tourist and bobbing boats on the choppy sea.

We didn’t linger long, the ride was beckoning and the coaches were starting to queue.


Once a steady rhythm was found the ride was a total delight, the scenery wipes all thoughts of aching legs away. With so much to see around every corner, a photographer, must dream about such a road. Bright turquoise  sea, Cobalt sky, mountain goats strutting on the Ochre boulders and with towering clifftops.

A few hairpins at 11 degrees with a  compact gear system all was ok but mainly a steady 7 degrees. The cafe was reached not in a super fast time like a sky rider in around 30 minutes , freshly cut Orange and a can of coke replenished our tired legs and set us on the way along the cliff top rode back to Lluc.

A stunning ride for all keen cyclists to Majorca, not to be missed. We finished the day in Port Pollenca with a fabulous big bowl of homemade chilli con carne washed down

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Port Pollenca to Formentor

Port Pollenca to Formentor lighthouse

25 miles
Height gain 860 m
Date 18th October 2015


A sunny Sunday morning in mid Autumn. Bright Blue skies, a warm 23 degrees day. Perfect cycling weather with smells of fragrant husky pines and fresh Rosemary resplendent with tiny liliac flowers. 


Busy traffic was a pain in the bum, but didn’t stop the exhilarating beauty  of this  dramatic coastal ride. Plenty of cyclists and even some sunshine skiers made their way up the first part of the ride from the pretty port.
Steady percentage of around 6 to 7 percent, I would guess, got the legs working and the heat beating.

A dramatic scene of cliffs tumbling steeply, into the waiting  azore blue sea demanded a photo stop on the first summit. Freewheel down through the pines to the exclusive resort for the rich to Formentor.


Back to pedalling, passing sheep and goats shading under the Olive trees, casting wonderful shadows that pleased the artist eye.
Around the cliff tops and back into view, a vast ocean empty except for a yacht enjoying the day.

The lighthouse is spotted at the end of the peninsula. An undulating road of such beauty  beckons  the cyclist with a mountainous finish worthy of ventoux. Just a shame the Sunday traffic is queuing to park.


Back the way we came, I forgot to mention the dark short tunnel, that I hate!!!!! But a super super ride to appreciate the beat of Formentor.


Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cockermouth Tour of Britain


An early morning visit to Cockermouth to see the start of the Tour of Britain 2015.

Sunny skies and masses of crowds it felt like the tour de France. Bunting and happy faces and best of all the cycle teams jostling for space down the main high street.


DSC06704 DSC06703 DSC06714 DSC06725 DSC06728 DSC06730

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment