Kicking off this year's Adventure Cross season, the Moors and Shores is a real mixture of terrain. From gravel forest roads to exposed moorland and rutted narrow lanes this route offers plenty of contrast in a constantly changing landscape.
When: Sunday 3 April 2016
Where: Forestry Commission Visitor Centre, Dalby Forest, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7LT
Why Ride it? There is a wide variety of terrain but nothing too technical for those not used to riding off road and the landscapes are spectacular. There is enough climbing to satisfy without making it feel too tough. A great event to start the year.
Yorkshire is the largest county in England, if you combine North Yorkshire, East Riding and West riding, covering some 6000 square miles. It’s size means that it has diverse countryside; forests and moors, stunning coastline and its fair share of steep hills. The Moors and Shores route, as the name suggests, gives riders a little taste of everything.
Mini Massif: 45 miles (65% off-road, 35% on road)
The route starts almost immediately onto the gravel roads that make up much of Dalby forest but nestledin amongst the trees, often obscured from view, are a huge network of single-track trails but this treat is saved until the end of the route. The gravel roads are hard packed and well-drained presenting no technical difficulties so it’s easy to buzz along at a good pace.
Leaving the forest behind the route moves onto an exposed grassy bridleway with vast moorland views. On a still, dry day this part of the course will present no difficulties at all and you will have time to enjoy the countryside around you but if its windy there is little to protect you from it in the vast moorland making it hard going.
Some of the views from this part of the course are spectacular, but one of the most curious has to be RAF Flyingdales. From some way off you can see the wedge shape of the building and the large golf balls used as part of its role in missile warning and for space operations. Try not to feel too self-conscious though, hopefully they have better things to survey than your bike handling skills as you pick your way through this short but rock strewn and wet section.
The one thing the short route misses out on is the view of Robin Hood bay, if the sun is out the view across is stunning, one of the best views in Yorkshire. There is also a tricky climb up a higgledy-piggledy bricked climb, with the occasional brick end sticking up.
Neither the short nor long route can avoid the toughest climb that comes towards the end. It’s steep enough to have you swinging over the front end of the bike and long enough that you will feel your heart rate escalating. It’s on tarmac, which makes it slightly easier, and only turns to gravel when you reach the top. Back into the woods of Dalby Forest some twisting, elevated single track will revive tired legs. Tucked in and out of the trees on a narrow, sinuous strip of trail and nipping up the edges of berms it’s fun, and very different to the rest of the course.
Moors and Shores is a great day out on a bike. It would be a good first event if you haven’t previously done an Adventure Cross, and for those that have, you’ll find it a slightly easier offering than the others but no less enjoyable.
CW difficulty rating:
Technical terrain difficulty: 3/5 (on a Cross Bike)
Wilderness Riding 3/5
Enter at: www.bookmyride.co.uk
Other events in this series are: