It can be arduous, getting away from the shop here in Massachusetts, extricating ourselves from bike building, to the sorts of far flung locales that serve up riding adventure. The village of Clapham in Yorkshire, just outside Settle, is a place we never imagined going to. In fact, we didn’t know it existed, but a few hours from the plane in Manchester we found a small inn, nestled in seemingly limitless green fields.
The Yorkshire Dales offer up these incredible, exposed landscapes, every rise letting you look off to the horizon, all the roads hemmed in by high hedges or stone walls. You come across very few people, but the lush greenery and ever present sheep keep the place feeling very alive.
A Dale is a valley, so you could forgive us for hoping the landscape would be more forgiving than it actually is. Miles and miles of short, sharp climbs on unimproved roads and cattle track make for grueling adventure, but ultimately, it’s so beautiful there, you just don’t care.
After a few days of wandering the Dales, we made our way to Heysham, and the ferry to the Isle of Man. The Irish Sea boiled with windy white caps, and we didn’t hold out much hope for holding down our modest breakfast, but we came through with the help of some strange, herbal remedy and mounted our bikes on the other side.
We had been spoiled for weather so far, the notorious English rain holding back in favor of sunshine, but our time on the Isle restored meteorological balance. We’d opted to camp instead of luxuriating at in inn, so we spent the last of this trip wet through. Fortunately, we snuck in a warm camp meal before the heavens opened.
It was worth it. We’ll be warm again one day. And of all the places we’ve ridden, New Zealand, Sedona, and more, the rolling, roiling gravel and grass paths of Yorkshire maybe captured our hearts the most. We could ride here forever and not tire of the views.