Driffield: Yorkshire’s smiling Bletchley Park
e2e.bike
by Rob Ainsley
1w ago
The market town of Driffield – Gateway to the Wolds – is not associated with codebreaking. Alan Turing never cycled here, and it never had pioneering computers the size of a factory. It’s an East Riding farm-country hub, mainly known for having the largest agricultural show in Britain. But I was there today to explore the Code Breaker Trail, a cycling initiative for local families which is officially launched on Thu 15 Feb 2024. Racked with no guilt: Bike space on the X46 bus I rode to Driffield from Pocklington, which I got to thanks to the X46, the famous Bus that Takes Bikes. It’s a very ha ..read more
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Rufforth: Journey to the Centre of the Earth II
e2e.bike
by Rob Ainsley
1M ago
In 2017 I rode to Hessay, a village west of York, to find the Centre of Yorkshire. At the point suggested by the Ordnance Survey as the county’s centroid, all I found was a cowpat. Since then, however, the OS has refined its calculations. It now reckons the exact geographical middle – the point on which a Yorkshire-shaped cardboard cutout would balance, if you could wait long enough for the wind to stop blowing it around – is at BNG 449849.854 454205.65. Or, as Google Maps would prefer it, 53.981513, -1.241358. Or, as what3words would say, cheese.centrally.salmon. Not replaced by AI yet: Ma ..read more
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City job: A York End to End
e2e.bike
by Rob Ainsley
1M ago
Stir-crazy from deskwork and gloomy weather, I got out today for a micro-adventure: an End to End of the City of York. At barely 14 miles long – from the northern extremity near Strensall, to the southern limit by Naburn – it vies for the title of ‘shortest End to End I’ve done’ with that of Liechtenstein, which I did last year. Like the traverse of the mittel-european principality, York’s top to bottom is totally flat and runs mainly alongside a river (the Ouse, rather than the Rhine). However, it’s not quite so scenically fringed by mountains. More like waterlogged fields; today, anyway. I ..read more
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Blackpool: Light entertainment
e2e.bike
by Rob Ainsley
2M ago
I’m on a quick overnight jaunt to Blackpool to ride the illuminations, thanks to a £25 Travelodge offer. The best way to experience the lights from the saddle is to join the thousands of other cyclists on the opening night, when they shut off the prom road to cars. I did just that in 2016, but was back here now to have it all to myself. Waste not: Recycling-themed illumination encouraging people to turn lights off etc The illuminations traditionally finished in early November, but recently they’ve kept them lit right up to New Year’s Eve. Hmm; December is very much out of season, and apart fro ..read more
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Ouse Gill Beck: Ouse Ure friend?
e2e.bike
by Rob Ainsley
3M ago
A few miles upstream from York, the River Ure shiftily changes name to become the River Ouse. Why? Where? How? Who? I cycled along both rivers today to find out. The official cut-and-paste story is that the Ure becomes the Ouse at Cuddy Shaw Reach, just before Linton-on-Ouse. For reasons never explained, the hundred-metre-wide Ure decides to take its name from a one-metre-wide stream called Ouse Gill Beck. Like, yeah. Just as elderly male billionaires are always so willing to take the surname of the teenage model who’s just married them, like, yeah, for their magnetic personality, and not for ..read more
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Bennerley Viaduct: It’s irony
e2e.bike
by Rob Ainsley
3M ago
Fans of the ferric will love Bennerley Viaduct. The 430m-long former railway bridge glides over the marshy flats east of Ilkeston, on sturdy iron pillars. A victim of axe-murderer Dr Beeching, it was saved from demolition and reopened as a foot and cycle bridge in 2022. Today was sunny, I had some morning article research in nearby Nottingham, and I couldn’t resist riding up to experience it. Nottingham has a good skeleton-system of bike routes these days – by British standards, anyway, which is like saying Jeremy Hunt is good by Tory party standards. But I got four miles from the train statio ..read more
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Pontefract: Liq of the lips in liquorice town
e2e.bike
by Rob Ainsley
3M ago
Pontefract is Liquorice Town. Or was, anyway. The friendly, lively West Yorkshire place, its name corrupted by sweet-chewers, gave the world ‘pomfret cakes’ – chewy aromatic liquorice pastilles, stamped with an image of its historic castle. Pomfret cakes. Not actually cakes. Liquorice was big business here through the 1800s and early 1900s, with ten factories employing over 5,000 locals. They turned liquorice roots, locally grown in the deep topsoil ‘garths’, into goodies that fed the world. That all declined thanks to globalisation and changing tastes, though. For many decades tastier, cheape ..read more
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Hull Cycle Museum: When the bicycle rained
e2e.bike
by Rob Ainsley
4M ago
Another cheap day out thanks to the £2 bus fare scheme, the X46 York–Hull service that takes bikes, and the rather good cycle gallery in Hull’s free Streetlife Museum. It’s a friendly, lively and engaging place well worth a visit. The only thing dry about the displays is the lack of moisture, which I was very grateful for: it was chucking it down with rain outside. Shopping transport 1960s-style: Inside Streetlife’s cycle galleryNicely spoken: Mock-up of Cliff Pratt’s cycle workshop in StreetlifeHostile driver attitudes to cyclists are nothing newLocal, sustainable: Velocipede built in Hull I ..read more
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Slow Wharfedale: Timewarps with JBP
e2e.bike
by Rob Ainsley
4M ago
For my last main day of fieldwork updating the Slow Travel Guide to the Yorkshire Dales, I took advantage of the last day of the year of the Dales Buses. I took the 875 direct from York to the top of Wharfedale (a three-hour journey via Leeds, Ilkley, and then some spectacular scenery; it goes on all the way to Hawes) and the 822 back from Grassington to York (two hours of fine views via Greenhow Hill, Pateley Bridge and Ripon) cycling in between on a folding bike. No coffee this morning, it’s a three-hour journey: Boarding the 875 at York I started cycling at Cray, heading down the valley (do ..read more
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Markenfield Hall: Home sweet 14th-century home
e2e.bike
by Rob Ainsley
4M ago
It’s dubbed ‘the loveliest place you’ve never heard of’. Well, now I have. Markenfield Hall is a (mostly) 14th-century farmhouse just south of Ripon that’s one of the oldest buildings in Britain still inhabited as a family home. The utility room claims to be the country’s only one with both Norman-era double-vaulting and plumbing for a dishwasher, for example. Thou shalt see clearly to cast out the moat: Markenfield Hall Plus it has a moat, and the downstairs toilet is in a dungeon. When they apply for home insurance online, I doubt the drop-down for ‘year constructed’ goes back to 1380. No, w ..read more
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