James Hobbs: From sea to sea
The newly opened Way of the Roses cycle route goes from Morecambe, Lancashire, on the west coast, across the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Wolds to Bridlington on the east coast, 170 miles away. Ron and I had set aside four days to do it, so there was no huge rush, but it's gruelling enough in parts.
Gruelling, but fantastic. On day two, travelling from Settle to Pateley Bridge, we had 27 miles of up up up (and a burst of very fast down down down), and the several occasions we got off and pushed gave us plenty of opportunity to admire the dales in the sun.
The Way of the Roses, which opened in September 2010, follows some off-road sections and lots of backroads. Near the village of Clapham we somehow lost our way, heading off into the sunset when we should have been going eastwards (seeing, in the process, some of the most memorable landscape), and we missed a sign on the way to Driffield having come down a hill too fast (when the momentum is with you the temptation can be to go with your hunch on the right direction), but the signposting is generally great, and there's the usual sense of camaraderie and support from fellow cyclists.
On day four we set off for the coast with a severe weather warning ringing in our ears. But the wind was at our backs. This was a good way to finish the journey at Bridlington seafront, even if it was hard to stand up in the wind. Branches may have been falling from the trees, but when wind and bike are going in the same direction you enter a wonderful world of calmness and speed. Don't do this route east to west.