Last weekend we cycled to Ripley along the Harrogate to Ripley cycle route (also known as Route 67) it’s four miles start to finish, along a traffic free path. Which is perfect with kids.
It was the first time we’ve ever done it. Given the girls ages, we had waited until we knew there would be minimal
moaning effort required, and the Small Boy would cope sitting pillion all that time!
It’s a manageable, pretty, easy route and has the added bonus of a day trip to Ripley thrown in! We made a day of it setting off at 10.30am and not getting back till 4pm. Although it took us only about 45 minutes to cycle the route, with plenty of stopping to see sights and do up shoelaces etc!
You can get on the cycle path from Starbeck, the back of ASDA car park and in Bilton (where we picked it up). It was the other side of town to where we live so we had to load up the car with the bikes, which wasn’t easy, but worth the hassle.
We parked in the car park on Bilton Lane, just before the Gardeners Arms Pub and it was well signed. The kids and I bobbed down the hill a little way to see the horses whilst Mr P sorted the bikes.
Once on the cycle path it’s a mainly green, tree lined route, with solid paths, that make cycling easy.
The paths were reasonably quiet for a Sunday morning, there were some pro-cyclers and walkers, but mainly other recreational cyclists, just like us. I believe it’s etiquette to ‘ting’ your bell to let walkers know you’re coming up behind them so they can step aside and also to keep to the left.
We stopped on the seven arched Nidd Gorge Viaduct to take in the beautiful view over the river Nidd.
The cycling was pretty easy really, it’s mainly flat so not too much effort required, even with the Small Boy on the back, I managed fine and I’m no cyclist. The girls coped no problem with the route too. There was only one hill that I think caused one of them to dismount and walk her bike up.
Once in Ripley we debated whether to stop and have an early lunch or keep going a bit further. Everyone plumped for the push on, which did make for some nice sight seeing but there were some serious hills on our chosen route.
We went into Ripley, past some pretty bunting lining the churchyard and down past the side of the Castle entrance. The girls got off their bikes at this point as the hill down is quite steep.
Once at the waterfall everyone climbed back on board and began the long cycle to the top of the next hill. Passing walkers, cyclists and the odd horse rider.
We had almost reached the summit, because the hills were pretty steep, and they could wait no longer, lunchtime was declared!
We picnicked on the ‘money tree’ a felled tree trunk that has had coins pushed into it over the years, which the girls found fascinating. We made our own wishes, banging in a couple of coins with a rock.
The Small Boy loved his freedom from the saddle and although we were all a bit tired, he still had energy to burn, which he did happily post picnic!
The only way to finish a bike ride to Ripley is with some Ripley Ice Cream, obvs, so we headed back to the village for pudding.
There was time for a quick play on the park in the village whilst the grown-ups were treated to a sit down on a chair in the Tearooms and a cup of tea.
Then it was time to head back along the cycle path all the way back to the car. The journey home seemed faster, whether the ice-creams had energised them or they were more in tune with their bikes and the path I couldn’t say!
The views of Ripley were lovely, getting out in the fresh air is always great and keeping the kids active is always a positive thing. The cycle path felt safe and relatively easy, I’m sure we’ll be doing it again soon.
More detail about the Ripley Harrogate Cycle Path can be found over on the Sustrans website.