Our site works best with JavaScript enabled.

Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Reccying The Dales Divide

By Stu Taylor
10, May, 2019

Stu Taylor takes on a pre-race reccy of the Dales Divide

Following an email from Chris the creator of the Dales Divide inviting me to join the grand depart on the 19th April I had to decline due to riding the Italy Divide only a week later with little time for recovery there was only one thing for it, to try and fit in an individual time trial attempt and as it had never been ridden before being the first was too tempting. This was also a chance to reccy the route making sure that it was all in fact rideable and that any bridleways or other sections were as they should be. So back in March, I set off on the first Dales Divide reccy.

What is the Dales Divide?

It’s a 600km coast to coast to coast route starting from Arnside to Scarborough to Arnside taking in as much off road as possible adhering to the usual self-supported rules.

Using the Dales Divide to fine tune kit, check bike setup and assess fitness before taking on 1150km’s of the Italy Divide. Having just received my Sonder Broken Road Ti the day before I was due to depart having been in for an overhaul after a couple of thousand miles riding on it over the last year some of the components needed a change along with a tweak on bike set up, so this was going to be a big first ride!

 

Setting off from Arnside front at 2.30pm in the afternoon I had a rough target of how far I wanted to get, which was at least 100km. The starting speed was fine until reaching the start of the off-road sections where the previous days rain had turned what would usually be good paced single-track in to sticky, tacky, energy sapping mud fests slowing everything down considerably. On reaching Ribblehead at around 6pm behind my own schedule, I decided to stop for some food as this was likely to be my last stop until I found breakfast in the morning. Passing Malham Tarn I set up for the night at 00.30am after 101km. Up on the tops of Borderly it was raining and very windy, alarm was set for 5.30am.

 

Next morning setting off at 6am with a belly craving a cooked breakfast Bolton Abbey it was. Arriving at the Cavandish Pavilion at 9am some three hours later I was ready to eat, only to find as it was out of season they didn’t open till 10am. During these events I’m not one for going off route exploring for food so the next stop was Summerbridge, I scoffed down a snickers and set off. At 11.29am my full English was served and damn was it needed.

The slow going continued on the exposed moorland sections, the cross wind continued to blow and the hope of finishing the night in Bridlington was dwindling, passing through York taking in the sights was pretty cool with a chance to refuel. Having stopped for a drink at The Fleece Inn in Bishop Walton at 9.30pm 255km into the trace the heavens opened and it poured down. It also just so happened they had one room left to which I obliged. I took the warm bed, dried out some kit, opting for an early finish and even earlier start all refreshed, after all it was a reccy and yes, the beer was good!

 

 

Setting off at 4.45am is always a tough one and the downside of staying in accommodation with a nice warm bed. Today’s target was to ride over 150km to passing through Scarborough after consuming some chips at the seaside followed by a good chunk of the North Yorkshire Moor trails. The wind had now become full on and was keeping the average speed down and going slow in places. Over the Moors the route takes in some superb sections of single-track, even if slightly wet in places were still great fun.

 

Reaching the Lion Inn at Blakely for a refuel at around 9.30pm the temperature had dropped and frost was visible. Too soon to stop Chop Gate was my destination to which I arrived in an hour. By now I was very cold and it was clear it was going to be a freezing night so my plan was to pitch the tent in a pub beer garden. It just so happened the landlord was a decent chap and offered me the summerhouse in the garden to which there was a radiator along with tea and coffee making facilities... result! Saturday 23rd March 11.30pm and 420km in the bag.

 

5am on Sunday morning looking out of the window everywhere was white with frost, that summerhouse was a god send as I only had my light sleeping bag and it would have been a cold night in the tent. Last day today 180km to ride back to Arnside heading back to familiar territory around Bainbridge and Dent area.

Getting there was a mission, basically 8 hours of gusting gale force winds which were brutal, on reaching the pub at Bainbridge, 525km in, I met organiser Chris who estimated 5 hours to Arnside equating to a 00.30am finish. After a few navigation issues with the trace delayed things a little and I rolled into Arnside at 2.54am in a total time of 3 days 12 hours and 54 minutes.

What a great few days adventuring around the Dales!


 

Bike Check

  • Sonder titanium Broken Road
  • Sram GX 12 speed
  • Hope Tech carbon bar, brakes, cranks, rims, hubs
  • Brooks Saddle
  • USE suspension seat post
  • Travers Carbon Prong fork
  • Pirelli Scorpion MTB tyres 29 x 2.4

Kit Check

  • Alpkit bike luggage, 2 x Tarmac stem cell, Tarmac fuel pod, 2 x 8L dry bags, Tarmac Koala saddle bag, Analoko frame bag
  • Cloud Base sleeping mat
  • Pipedream 200 sleeping bag
  • Alpkit Merino wool layers to sleep in.
  • Google+

In pictures

2 Comments

Share your thoughts about this article.


pj3y55
icecreamman answer

Those are 'anything cage' style cargo cages. Like oversized bottle cages that typically have 3 attachment points, that bolt down to threaded braze-ons, rivet nuts or in this case are bonded/ glued on (at factory)- t'is a carbon fork. Usually around a 2kg recommended weight limit, great for light bulky stuff.

Icecreamman
paniers

Looks a great trip. Intrigued how you have attached front drybags to forks. Looks like two butchered bottle cages?

Related Deeds

The Proof of the Pudding
make sure you test your equipment
In Daring Deeds
Handcycle Britain Interview
An interview with Mel Nicholls
In Daring Deeds
Rich and Tom Siepp Pre-Tour Divide ride
Rich and Tom's kit list and pre-amble for their Tour Divide route ride
In Daring Deeds
Highland Trail 550 - 2019
“Its not worth drowning to get free fish and chips” Alan Goldsmith
In Daring Deeds
Race Report: 2019 Dragon’s Back Race
Lisa Watson's 2019 Dragons Back Race Report
In Daring Deeds

News

800 Mile Great North Trail Opens
New off-road cycle route
In News
Sonder Storybook 2019 Comp Now Open
Release your inner Dervla Murphy
In News
Alpkit Keswick Official Opening
Yippee! It's officially official... We're open!
In News
Ireland To Asia: A Year On My Bike
Tales from Sean Hoban's journey to Asia
In News
Alpkit Adventure Weekender
Join us in store for an adventure filled weekend
In News

Develop

New Sonder Transmitter: Q&A with Neil Sutton
We catch Sonder Bike Guru Neil to quiz him about the new Transmitter
In Develop
New UK Made Bikepacking Bag Range
UK-made bike luggage shifts up a cog
In Develop
Sonder Evol: Q&A with Bike Guru Neil
Sonder's new 140mm trail bike
In Develop
The low-down on Polygiene™
Wear more, wash less: you can't get simpler than that!
In Develop

Spotlight

Dragon’s Back Race Kit List
Detailed kit guide for running the Dragon's Back Mountain Race
In Spotlight
Wild Camping Tips and Kit List
The guide to getting it right when camping out
In Spotlight
The Highland Trail 550 2019
Stu Taylor returns to the Highland Trail
In Spotlight
Long Distance Bikepacking: Highland Trail 550 Packing List
Pete McNeil tells us how to pack for endurance bikepacking events
In Spotlight
Taking on the Dragons Back 2019
5 days of mountainous running in Wales
In Spotlight

Kudos

Be the first to hear about our newest products and promotions

Join AlpCol's Espresso newsletter for that hit of Go Nice Places, Do Good Things Greatness

CLOSE

By adding your email you consent to our terms and conditions