My Dales Divide 2020

By Andrea Latham :

So I’ve wanted to dip my toes into the bike packing world for a while now, so I decided to give the DD 200 a shot. Initally the event was planned for the end of March or begining of April which worried me as I was off my bike for three weeks enjoying ~New Zealand.

Then Covid struck, the event was cancelled with the possibility of running again later in the summer, Covid dependant of course!

This gave me time to get the bike packing equiptment together. I was also fortunate of get hold of an ex demo Sonder Camino bike though I had to have easier gearing put on

Anyhow here goes:-

The Dales Divide is a 373 mile 24,500ft ascent off road C2C2C bike packing event. It starts and finishes from Arnside on the west coast and goes via Scarborough on the east coast traversing the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. The event started from Arnside at 08:00 on Sat 29 Aug to coincide with the Bank Holiday weekend.

As I had to be back at work on Tuesday morning, we opted for the shortened route which reduced the mileage down from 373 to approx 280 miles and 18,000 ft of ascent. The plan was to ride around 93 miles a day for three days, In the end this proved to be ridiciously optimistic, especially with the terrain!!

Day 1: Arnside to Bolton Abbey

At the pier was ultra adventure cyclist, Mike Hall’s (sadly passed away now) mother, to wish all the Crazies, as Mike used to call them, good luck. After a gentle 25 plus miles or so, we got into the Yorkshire Dales where the climbing started good and proper. 35 miles in and just having passed the Ribblehead viaduct, we made our first stop for cofffee and a plate of chips for fuel. Off we went again!

Then 50 miles in, next stop Elaine’s Tearooms at Feizor for a proper feast. By the time darkness fell we had done 76.5 miles of our target of 93 miles. so we fell short of our predicted mileage.

We pitched out tent not far from Bolton Abbey.

Day 2: Bolton Abbey to Grinton Moor

After a rehydrated breakfast, quite tasty to be honest. We were back riding again for 07:45. Hampered by filty bogs, unrideable bridleways, stung by a wasp on my face, nettles, grassy long slogs on the bikes, come lunctime, we had only managed 18 miles!! At Summerbridge we stopped at the village store to stock up with bars, etc. We also assessed our options and it was clear that we didn’t have sufficient time to complete our orignal plan, so we decided to cut our losses and take the road to Catterick where we could pick up the return part of the route and be able to complete this in our timeframe. By close of the day, we had completed 70 miles, when again we pitched the tent on the moor.

Day 3: 08:00 We were up and back on the bikes with just 65 miles to go back to Arnside. After another tough start with boggy moors, by lunch time it was onto Cam high street an off road climb and the highest part of the route. After another tough day we were nearing the end.

We eventually rolled back onto Arnside pier just as darkness was beginning to fall. Mission accomplished even if we had shortened the route by quite a bit!!

We were totally knackered, dirty and grubby but we had the best time! We learnt a lot about bike packing, met with some other great riders on the way too, all encouraging each other on!

A bank holiday well spent! Would I do this again – Most definitely! But allow more time in future!