Jenny Graham bikepacking Route YC

Adventure Cycling in North Yorkshire: Riding Route YC

By Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham reviews Route YC's best climbs, accommodations, and stops, exploring North Yorkshire's coast and moors by bike

The North Yorkshire Coast and North York Moors were to be the location for my next adventure with Edinburgh based Endurance Riders Markus Stitz and Mark Beaumont.

Mark & Markus had become a bit of a duo, collaborating on the ‘Explore Your Boundaries’ project whilst trying to make the most out of the limitations of lockdown. Once the world opened up again the pair asked me along and two became three, each with at least one Round-the-World Cycle under our belts, we set about exploring lands a little closer to home. Firstly, over in Argyll and then more recently in Yorkshire.

The Yorkshire trip was headed up by the Route YC project. Route YC is run by the Yorkshire Coast Bid, the body that provides the ‘ultimate guide’ to exploring the Yorkshire Coast. In 2019 they launched a driving route and in 2023 brought Markus on board to plot the cycling version, which he has based loosely on the established route. The aim was to make the rides appealing to a wide range of cyclists from family tourers to outright endurance seekers, so the variety of routes is quite impressive. 12 routes and loops are spread over 750 miles; there really is something for everyone. We rode on gravel bikes as we wanted the versatility, but you can find a route to suit whatever bike you have available.

Mark Beaumont, Markus Stitz and Jenny Graham bikepacking Oliver's Mount in Scarborough

Markus is the brains behind these operations; plotting routes, filming, editing, and managing the PR. While Mark and I make sure there is enough coffee stops planned into the day and give helpful feedback like do we really need another hill, Markus? It's a recipe that works well and we have a hoot while watching the route unfold under our tyres.

There are many highlights from the 6 days I spent riding there last year, but here are a couple of my favourites:

Best Climb: Yorkshire is full extreme undulation! But rounding the corner from Lockton and see the road drop into the ravine and remerge up the other side did it for me. Its maybe ‘only’ a 100m climb but with a hairpin bend and steep gradient it leaves you with a little taste of alpine.

Best Accommodation: Whitby YHA blew my mind. It's a magnificent building held with in spectacular setting. Sandwiched between the historic ruins of Whitby Abbey and the graveyard that inspired Count Dracula, it offers amazing views of the seaside town and North York Moors. There's a steep cobbled road (or 199steps) to follow into the old town. At night the streets twinkle so much you'd easily mistake it for something out of Harry Potter!

Jenny Grahams Sonder Titanium Camino gravel bike

Most Yorkshire Scene: The North Yorkshire Moors Railway steam train cutting its way through the Moors to the coast as it travels between Pickering and Whitby. We caught sight of the train as it passed through Grosmont and raced along beside it. Even the locals still appreciated it, as many were out with cameras to get a shot of it steaming under the bridge by Moorgates.

Jenny Graham and Markus Stitz Project Route YC

Best Singletrack: Across Levisham Moor was properly lush! I loved being out of the woods and roaming across the Moors, such a unique landscape.

Best Sunrise: A very early start saw us standing on Flamborough Head with the chalky white cliffs towering over us with the sun rising on the sea. Perfect!

Best Coffee: OK, so this is a bit of a cop-out. But because the route has so much wilderness, every coffee opportunity was anticipated and enjoyed!

But if I had to pick just one then the little village cafe of Ravenscar Tea Rooms was an absolute delight!

You can follow Jenny, Markus and Mark riding Route YC in Markus's film Edge of Heaven. You can also start your own adventure on the Route YC website

Sonder rider Jenny Graham holds the Guinness World Record for being the fastest woman to circumnavigate the planet by bike. 18,000 miles unsupported in 124 days 11 hours. And she had an absolute blast in the process. Jenny is deeply rooted in her community in the highlands of Scotland, which she says is the best playground in the world.

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