Harrogate Cycling

Cyclist on Norwood Lane

A guide to cycling in Harrogate. (There's also a Hedgehog guide to the town of Harrogate).

Cycling news | Cycleways | Town centre | Road cycling | Off road | Bike shops | Cycle clubs | Cycle action | Cycle champion | Twin towns

Harrogate Cycling: News

4th September 2021: Sustrans Shared Use Paths - blog post

1st September 2021: Work to Start on a Small Part of Otley Road Cycleway

27th August 2021: Cycle Infrastructure at J47 of the A1M

22nd May 2021: Harrogate Station Gateway Consultation Results

21st May 2021: Otley Road Cycleway Delayed Again

28th April 2021: Buy Local By Bike


Harrogate Cycling: Cycleways

Cycle route signs in Harrogate

This Sustrans map shows the cycleways and other cycle routes.

Harrogate Cycleways: Nidderdale Greenway

Nidderdale Greenway

The Nidderdale Greenway is the best cycleway in Harrogate, and goes about 4 miles to Ripley. It may eventually be extended as far as Pateley Bridge. It follows the route of a dismantled railway (the Leeds to Northallerton railway, which closed in 1969), so it's largely flat. The official opening was on 25th May 2013.

Read more about the Nidderdale Greenway.

Harrogate Cycleways: Beryl Burton Cycleway

Beryl Burton cycleway

The Beryl Burton cycleway is a traffic-free cycle route from Old Bilton to the Nidd at High Bridge, Knaresborough. It was developed by Sustrans, to enable cyclists to avoid using the very busy A59.

Read more about the Beryl Burton cycleway.

Harrogate Cycleways: Yorkshire Showground Greenway

Yorkshire Showground Greenway

The Yorkshire Showground Greenway was opened in Spring 2014. It takes cyclists (and pedestrians) from Hornbeam Park to the Yorkshire Showground and Sainsburys Wetherby Road, then on towards Plumpton Park.

Read more about the Yorkshire Showground Greenway.

Harrogate Cycleways: Harland Way

Harland Way

The Harland Way is a Sustrans cycle and foot path between Spofforth and Wetherby, and is theoretically phase 1 of a route between Harrogate and York, the rest of which may one day be built.

The Harland Way, also known as the Wetherby Railway path, goes to Wetherby, then there's an extension east of Wetherby, as far as Thorp Arch Estate and Retail Park.

Read more about Harland Way.


Harrogate Cycling: Town Centre Cycle Lanes

Cycle lane and bin on East Parade

A look at cycle routes in the town of Harrogate, with some comments about how they could be improved, where appropriate. This overview of Harrogate's cycle infrastructure includes Slingsby Walk, East Parade, Victoria Avenue, Otley Road, Beckwith Head Road, a route via Luchon Way, Leeds Road, south Harrogate cycle routes, West End Ave, Arthurs Ave, & Pannal Ash Rd, Beech Grove, Harlow Moor Road, Oatlands Drive, and Harrogate to Spofforth.

Beech Grove

Beech Grove

Beech Grove is a key link between Otley Road and the town centre, but it is a bad cycle route which often feels dangerous.

Ideas about how to create a safe and convenient bike route here are arranged in cascade format: if you don't like the first, there's another; if you don't like the second, there's a third.

Read about Beech Grove cycle route.

Harlow Moor Road

Harlow Moor Road shared use path

New 'cycle infrastructure' on Harlow Moor Road was funded by the developers of two new housing estates. All they did was resurface a section of pavement, and make it shared use.

Shared use should be a last resort when there's no other option - not the case here.

Read why a dedicated cycle lane could and should have been created on Harlow Moor Road.


Harrogate Cycling: Road Cycling Routes

Cyclist on Broad Dubb Road, near Harrogate

There are lots of nice rides to do on the road, with lovely countryside around Harrogate. Escaping from Harrogate is a problem because of the heavy traffic and lack of cycle provision, so many of the rides begin on the Nidderdale Greenway.

Burnt Yates and Shaw Mills

Shaw Mills

This is a 20-mile loop into the countryside north of Harrogate.

Côte de Lofthouse

Descent of Pott Moor towards Roundhill reservoir

This is a classic Nidderdale ride, taking in the climb of the Côte de Lofthouse.


More Harrogate road cycling routes.

Harrogate Cycling: Off Road Routes and Ideas

Fewston, Beecroft, & Timble Bike Trail

Bike trail in Timble woods

This is a mountain bike trail on Yorkshire Water's land at Fewston reservoir, through the Beecroft Plantation and Timble woods.

Read about the Fewston, Beecroft, & Timble woods bike trail.

Knaresborough, Goldsborough, & Flaxby Bike Route

Mill Road to Goldsborough

This route takes a mixture of quiet roads and off-road tracks. It's a great ride, but the A59 gets in the way, and a 250m stretch along the verge of that busy road is unavoidable.

Read about the Knaresborough, Goldsborough, & Flaxby bike route.

Lofthouse Scarhouse Mountain Bike Ride

View of upper Nidderdale and Scarhouse reservoir
View of Scarhouse reservoir

A mountain bike ride in upper Nidderdale - from Lofthouse to Scarhouse reservoir, and back via Middlesmoor. It's an enjoyable ride in the countryside, with great views along the way.

Read about Lofthouse Scarhouse mountain bike ride.

Lindley Moor & Lindley Wood Mountain Bike Ride

Bridleway through Lindley Wood
Bridleway through Lindley Wood

A mountain bike ride from the Stainburn Moor car park on Norwood Lane, that goes across Lindley Moor and through Lindley Wood.

Read about Lindley Moor & Lindley Wood mountain bike ride.


Harrogate Cycling: Bike Shops

Prologue Cycling, Harrogate

Harrogate has a number of bike shops, including Prologue, the Specialized concept store, Chevin Cycles, and more. All serve a slightly different market, so whatever you're looking for, you should find a Harrogate bike shop to meet your needs.

Harrogate Cycling: Cycle Clubs

Harrogate Nova rider at Big Bike Bash

There are several cycle clubs in Harrogate.

Harrogate Nova

Harrogate Nova is the oldest of the clubs, founded in 1971. They are probably the most involved in racing, but they also have social rides, including the traditional Sunday club run.

Cappuccino

The Cappuccino Cycling Club is newer, established in 2009, and is growing rapidly. They are a friendly road cycling club, and they aim to enjoy their cycling, with a stop for coffee and cakes on the Saturday and Sunday morning club runs. When numbers permit, there'll be three groups - steady (15mph), medium (17-18mph), and faster (19-20mph). As well as the weekend rides, there are Tuesday and Thursday evening rides, and a social pub evening on the first Friday of each month.

Wheel Easy

Wheel Easy is a Harrogate cycling club started in 2006. It's a friendly club doing rides in Harrogate and the surrounding countryside, and out into the Yorkshire Dales, Wolds, and Moors. They cater for everyone from beginners to more experienced cyclists.

Liferiders

As well as the cycle clubs, there's Liferiders Harrogate, which is a community cycling and well-being project, with rides on Wednesday evenings and one Sunday a month. The objective is to feel better physically and mentally through riding bikes.

Harrogate Cycling: Harrogate District Cycle Action

HDCA website

Harrogate District Cycle Action is a campaign group which encourages cycling as a healthy, safe, and enjoyable activity for all ages, and as an alternative mode of transport. It campaigns for better cycling facilities within Harrogate District, in particular a network of safe cycleways; it tries to work with our two councils, but in practice that is very difficult and frustrating.

If you ride a bike in Harrogate District, please sign up as a Supporter! The more voices we have calling for improvements, the more likely they are to happen. Without pressure, our local authorities won't do anything.

Supporters can contribute ideas for improvements via the website, and will be kept informed of local cycling developments by a quarterly newsletter.

Harrogate Cycling: Information for Harrogate Cycling Champions

Cycling Champions:

Councillor Ireland is certainly doing his best, but it is difficult to achieve much when North Yorkshire is the Highways Authority.

In my opinion Councillor Mackenzie is not interested in cycling, and is completely focused on roads and motor traffic. He should not be Cycling Champion because he does not champion cycling.

I have some general and specific suggestions for cycling improvements in Harrogate, updated from time to time. I've put them under the heading 'information for Harrogate's cycling champion'.

Read information for Harrogate's cycling champion.

Planning for Cycling in Harrogate

Harrogate Cycling: Harrogate Cycle Infrastructure Plan

Consultants WSP have produced a phase 1 Harrogate Cycle Infrastructure Plan for North Yorkshire County Council. NYCC approved the phase 1 plan in July 2019.

The phase 1 plan is long, with lots of background information. It has some comments on best practice (p78 onwards) and explains WSP's approach to developing a cycle network (starts at p85). It identifies 'priority corridors'. A draft network map appears at p97, and draft priorities at paragraph 6.5 (beyond the end of the page numbering). The draft priorities include:

Phase 2 is supposed to be a series of draft designs, which are to be the basis of bids to government for funding. There is no news on a Phase 2 report at the time of writing (October 2020). The concern is that North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) is commissioning long reports as a way of looking as though it is doing something, but no improvements are happening on the ground.

Harrogate Cycling: Harrogate Congestion Survey

The results of the Harrogate Congestion Survey were published in August 2019. The 15,500 respondents gave a resounding 'no' to the so-called relief road promoted by NYCC.

No to Harrogate relief road

There was strong support for better walking and cycling facilities.

Congestion Survey, walking and cycling

The response from the county council should have been to set out details of how it proposed to implement the results of the Survey, with a timetable. They failed to do this. Instead, almost unbelievably, they came up with another idea for a bypass road.

Harrogate Cycling: Railways and Greenways

Map of Harrogate's old railways
Harrogate's old and current railways

Harrogate once had a lot of railways, but most of the lines are disused. Wouldn't it be great if they were turned into greenways?

The priorities would be extending the Nidderdale Greenway along the old Nidd Valley line to Pateley Bridge, and using the Leeds & Thirsk Railway trackbed to link Harrogate and Ripon.

Next, it would be fantastic to create a proper Greenway route from the Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate to Spofforth, to link with the Harland Way (which uses the old York & North Midland line).

It would also be brilliant to link Knaresborough and Boroughbridge on the old railway, that used to run beyond Boroughbridge to Pilmoor Junction on the mainline.

Read about railways and greenways.

Harrogate Cycling: Twin Towns

Col de Peyresourde
Col de Peyresourde, by Stephen Colebourne, Licence CC BY 2.0

Harrogate has three twin towns: Bagnères-de-Luchon (France), Montecatini Terme (Italy), and Barrie (Canada). There are exciting opportunities for cycling in our twin towns, and links are being revitalised by Harrogate's twinning committee.

Read about Harrogate's twin towns.

Harrogate Cycling: Tour de France in Harrogate

101 Bicyclettes, Pinewoods, Harrogate Ladies College

This was our guide to the Tour de France in Harrogate on 5th and 6th July 2014, with reports of the plans being put into place, information from the council, ideas about where to stay, and the latest news.

Stage one was the main event for Harrogate, as the riders came up Parliament Street for the finish on West Park. There was a Tour de France Fan Park on West Park Stray. Then on stage two, the race came from York, through Knaresborough and Starbeck, up to the Empress roundabout then the New Park roundabout, before heading out on the Skipton Road towards the Côte de Blubberhouses.

In advance of the Tour, the town was decorated with mini-Tour de France jerseys, and bicycles as works of art, part of the 101 Bicyclettes project. See photos of the Tour decorations.

Re-live the golden weekend of the Tour de France 2014 in Harrogate!

Read more about the Tour de France in Harrogate.

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