Yes you read correctly, Coast to Coast to Coast
So what’s all this about you ask…………Riding from Frodsham in Cheshire on the West side to Whitby in North Yorkshire on the East side. Distance 168 miles 13,000ft of ascent day one. A night in Whitby’s finest accommodation has to offer, the YHA. After a night’s sleep in bunk beds ride back to Frodsham covering 165 miles 12,000ft. So that 2 days riding covering 333 miles and 25,000ft of ascent.
The idea started with me “Daniel Emmett”, so yes I’m the crazy one. Each year I would ride solo across country from my home in Frodsham to sunny North Yorkshire where I was born and grew up as a child. I still have family there so it’s always an enjoyable and rewarding ride back home.
I put the idea of riding Coast to Coast to a number of club mates with very mixed responses. Some said “no chance”, some said “you’re mad “and some said “yes”, very reluctantly I may add. So behind the scenes I worked on a plan on how I would get a group of cyclists across country, covering many hills and maintaining the beautiful scenery the country has to offer. The route was easy, follow my annual pilgrimage I thought.
The difficult bit of the planning was getting the riders back the same day or the day after , sorting accommodation, transport , how to transfer kit to Whitby and back , how do we carry essentials etc. etc. A nightmare to organise so in the end (with a grin on my face) I went for the easy option and announced we would be riding back the very next day. Once announced numbers dwindled but still ended up with a strong group of 11…….I wasn’t very popular at this stage.
So the dates were set (18th & 19th of August) and the routes confirmed. We even had a support vehicle for both days kindly offered by Andy White. The outbound route started on the 18th August at 05.30 in Frodsham. Spirits were high as the riders loaded up the support vehicle driven by Andy. What a task he had on his hands.
Day 1 Outbound
Frodsham to Chipping
By Danny Emmett
The mood in the peloton was certainly a positive one despite the rain showers. Leaving Frodsham at 05.30 and in the dark our first destination was Preston. The ride to Preston is quite flat so pace was steady. Although traffic light central of the universe we kept a good pace. We arrived at the feed stop bang on time (08.00). We were greeted by Andy and a quick cake fight begun. Once stuffed and loaded with water the group set off heading to a coffee stop in Waddington which was a further 16 lumpy miles away. This was a taster of what was coming. We arrived at the Country Kitchen Tea Rooms wet but spirits high. A quick brew and cake, we were soon back on the bikes for a long lumpy stint to Pateley Bridge which was only 40 miles away.
Preston to Pateley Bridge
By Chris Dixon
Since there be dragons in the lands North of the Mersey, it was a relief to pass Preston intact. I went there once to have a look around. Once was enough. Passing Preston also signaled a change in direction to the North East and the start of a good tail wind that lasted for the rest of the day. It also signaled the start of the hills, but these were relatively benign to begin with, perhaps due to still being quite fresh.
There were a few riders that I don’t think I have ridden with before and the sharp descent into Waddington told me who really, really likes going down hills and who really, really doesn’t. First impressions were pretty accurate on this score. They know who they are. We had a cafe stop in Waddington, and that is where number of rain capes went on.
I recognised Bolton by Bowland as the start of a road race course I rode a couple of times back in the days when I was less slow and indeed there were marshals out for the NW divisional championships, but we didn’t see any riders. I am pleased I wasn’t racing as the roads were wet and covered in mud. I want to use a different word beginning with “s”, but this could be for a family audience. Whatever it was, I took a fair amount of it away with me, mostly on my legs.
Rain capes came off, and we undulated over some very pleasant roads and ate bananas and cakes (oh yes, lots of cakes) until we arrived at a place called Appletreewick and the climb to the high point of the day above Pateley Bridge. I think that this was the real beginning of the pain for several of the fellowship, it is a fairly stiff climb; but the decent was fun.
At the cafe there was lengthy discussion on the meaning of the phrase that you have “broken the back” of something. Danny assured anyone who would listen, repeatedly, that by Pateley Bridge we would have “broken the back of the ride”. Sadly modern technology allows people to check stuff, and of the 11,000 ft of climbing on offer it was noted that only 5,000 had been completed. After some brief calculations it was decided that there must be 6,000 left. Which is more than half… I have been to the North York Moors before, so I knew where they were. But that is not my part to tell.
Pateley Bridge to Osmotherley
By Roy Forster
When we got to Pateley Bridge I was cold tired and hungry and was glad of the stop at the Wildings Tea Rooms and Riverside Terrace. Everybody else sat outside but I sat inside on my own to try to get warm. After something to eat we set off straight into a hill climb, typical Danny fashion, which felt went on for miles then shortly after the climb we had some reasonable descents where 30mph were achieved. This led us through the lovely village of Masham which for a short time took my mind off the pain. Shortly after Masham I got a puncture and some carried on while some waited but then we had a job chasing them down where we reached speeds of 25mph in a chain gang style to catch up and then ride into Osmotherley as one group.
Osmotherley to Whitby
By Rob Macleod
Final 30 miles left on this epic coast to coast and I was getting that warm feeling, thinking about ripping this bib off my tortured undercarriage and a nice warm shower. The many climbs had been mostly short but steep and my legs were toast, I accidently got stuck to the side of Andy’s car once or twice and what a lovely interior it was too. I was now hoping for a nice run into the coast in the big gears. Danny re-assured us that we’d done all the serious climbing now which really perked me up for 5 mins until we hit the first of what I would call “givers” as they just kept giving me more and more pain. I’ve tried to bury the pain I went through since but from what I can dig up now it seemed like at every turn there was another twisting bar steward ahead. I remember an elderly couple walking up one of the climbs had stepped to the side of the road to let me past, they hadn’t realised I was going at a similar 3mph and I had to go deep in the red again to stop them from drafting me.
We had our last break stop where spirits were high many more cakes were consumed, I’m not sure how many I had but they were awesome. Danny lied to me again and I believed him again for 5 minutes again.
Eventually the hills faded away and we could see the coastline. A lovely fast finish into Whitby, holiday makers looked at the mighty wheelers flying past, smells of fish and chips in the air. We’d done it……… then BANG, another giver up to the hotel, DAMM you Danny, we would be staying in the only hotel up a climb. Hugs and photos to finish. I quickly checked train times home for the following day as there was no way I could make it back on my bike, the hardest ride I’ve done, I only managed 3 pints that night! Kudos for everyone who biked home, me and Joey had a lovely morning in Whitby.
The Stop Over
If you haven’t seen it definitely check it out. Check in was slow but eventually after all the form filing we went to our rooms for a quick change. I has to pick some of the riders off the floor. I had booked a table at the local curry house for 19.30. Yep you guessed it we were going to be late. We “all” eventually made it to the restaurant for 21.20. Luckily we had kept the restaurant informed that we were running a little late otherwise we would have been rejected.
The general feeling amongst the riders was exhaustion, too tired to eat and drink. The main subjects were; what are the train times, who can pick me up from Whitby and the daunting thought of riding back tomorrow knowing the weather forecast was heavy rain and strong head winds. We have a couple of beer swilling champions amongst us who struggled to even drink one pint. I never thought I would witness that. Chapeau lads!!!
So we left the restaurant at an unsociable time of 23.20. Finally lights out at 00.00.
The following morning we had breakfast with the students whilst dressed in Lycra. I can handle it…..
Lucky for us the storm had passed during the night leaving sunny spells and a block headwind ALL the way back. No problem let’s do this…..
Day 2 Inbound
Whitby to Hutton-le-Hole
By David Pearce
Started leisurely at 09:00 after fighting for a seat at breakfast.
The first 25miles of day two was inundated with rolling, short, sharp hills, which held our average pace down around a low 13mph. Ed, Dave, Steve, Dianne and Kev decided that the hills already prescribed by Danny weren’t enough and found any extra 20%-er to add some extra burn in the legs. Not that they went the wrong way or anything. Followed by Danny meeting old childhood friends randomly during an impromptu stop to aid one of Alan’s many unfortunate mechanicals.
Making our way on to the windy tops of the North York Mores sapped energy and added to the feeling that we weren’t getting anywhere quickly that morning. Roy took advantage of this, using the support car and Andy to slip-stream his way over. Only to be filmed by Ed and posted immediately online.
Watch our super Roy hitch a draft
Hutton-le-Hole to Boston Spa
By Roy Forster
On the return journey I found the North Yorkshire Moors a lonely place as I didn’t have Andy and Rob behind me so I was sat at the back with the broom wagon hot on my tail seeing the peloton go off in the distance until Al got his fourth puncture of the day. After leaving Al to make his way to York I pushed on to the cafe stop, which didn’t come soon enough as I was running on empty and I needed stodge as haribo’s just wasn’t enough for me. At the cafe stop I was all for throwing the towel in until Danny told me to man up so I carried on to the next pit stop. Here Danny gave me more words of encouragement but I was holding the team back and we was already running behind schedule so after a long climb up Whixley Hill to the mast and thankfully downhill for a further two miles I reached 100 miles and called it a day.
Great weekend with great company and many thanks to Danny for organising it all.
Boston Spa to Glossop
By Ed Cox
Despite knowing I could jump on a train in nearby Leeds, and Andy having told me it was bouncing down at the City game in Manchester, I elected to carry on with the ride as I had already come so far (to save face). Having a proper lunch seemed to make all the difference and I seemed to gain a second wind.
Thankfully, the route was relatively flat for the next 20 miles. This gave the legs and mind a chance to recharge before the assault on the Pennines.
As ever, I managed a quick glance at the Holme Moss segment on the Strava app and had planned my assault of the 2.9 mile segment. Unfortunately, the headwind we’d been suffering in all day made the climb slow, and my attempt was good enough for top 4%. Not too bad with so many miles already in the legs.
After checking in with Andy and Roy at the top and having taken a quick photo of the summit sign, I donned my jacket and headed straight down the descent. The road down to Woodhead was ideal for me, being almost devoid of bends and with some steep gradients to generate speed. I decided not to wait at the bottom and instead press on to Glossop. This was slightly up hill but felt fast, with a great view of the sun setting over Manchester. Once in Glossop, we regrouped and I had my 100th piece of cake on which would be the last food stop of the journey home.
Boston Spa to Holmfirth
By Stephen Wright
Boston Spa to Holmfirth not the prettiest bit of a fantastic weekend…
After a late lunch in Boston Spa’s Tom Foolery café…the Wheelers rolled out onto the next leg with what was feeling like a loooooong way still to go. It must be said that this was not the most picture postcard section of the route unless you like large motorway spanning round-a-bouts and urban A roads. In the next 20 miles or so we crossed the A1, M1, M62 and M1 again. However, the terrain flat to rolling, so we made good progress.
Stephen thought he should do a stint in the wind, reckoning that the best way to keep the group together was to have a steady eddy on the front. We flew to Wakefield. However, on the first long drag out of town it was realised that a double expresso and two Cokes lasts precisely 22 miles and normal service was resumed with Ed, Dave, and Danny pulling us along.
A sharp right into Woodhouse lane, happily, the roads turned back to rural in character. Again, banana, cake and Haribo were scoffed before tackling the next hilly section with the usual suspects (Ed, Danny, Dave and Kev) leading the charge and a few of us hanging on at this point.
Roy, reaching 100+ miles, had ridden to exhaustion and jumped into the support vehicle, filling the only available space. The thought immediately crossed our minds that we would now definitely have to make it all the way under our own steam.
Thankfully, Di graciously slowed on the ups to allow a slightly flagging SW to catch a wheel and we managed to roll into New Mills with only a couple of minutes between the front and back of the group. Banana, cake, Haribo….a bit of banter with a local collecting his Sunday night curry….and it was onto Holmfirth and the final big obstacle of the weekend….the Holme Moss climb up and over to the Woodhead pass…
Glossop to Frodsham
By Kev Sales
The light started to fade and dusk set in whilst we had our final fill up on cake, bananas and oranges. Danny ordered lights on and announced that the hill on the other side of the crossroads was the last one of the weekend – yeah! Yeah! How many times had we heard that one? We wound our up through Whitfield and Simmondley to be greeted darkness and a clear view across to the twinkling lights of Manchester. We rolled easily across the top, headlights picking out a narrow trail between the hedges, the punishing headwind of earlier in the day had gone and down to familiar towns and villages
Riding through Marple, Poynton and Wilmslow across to Knutsford felt strange; Stephen spending much of the time on the front to keep the group together and the leaders shouting “pothole middle”, “grid left”. The darkness hid the reality, it felt fast but it couldn’t be; we’d ridden over 300 miles and climbed more than 20,000ft, I must be tired but just kept riding as though my body didn’t know what else to do.
Into Knutsford to meet up with The Wizard; magic, home really was in sight. Why did we go down the main road instead of the one-way cut through; we always go down the one way? I’ve done The Wizard dozens of times, I knew where to go, which turns to take but in the dark it was hardly recognizable, though I still remembered to bunny hop the little rut just before the A49 crossing. Up Grimsditch and over to Sutton Weaver, Di understandably peeled off unable to face the climb back, and the final five rolled down the hill to the shop at arriving 11.20pm to be greeted by Rob, the two Andy’s and partners. A quick round of congratulations and thanks, then it was off home and the realisation that I really was tired. The following day I was a zombie, the adrenalin had led to a poor night’s sleep, and my boss just replied ok when I said “Don’t ask any complicated questions”. Would I do it again, never say no, next year’s another year and it was a great achievement for all involved.
Glossop to Frodsham
By Dianne Turner
Enjoying the relief of a descent from Holme Moss to Woodhead Pass and gladly seeing Kevin Sales at the bottom where the pair of us continued nearly missing the turning to Glossop. Luckily we spotted Andy our “super hero” support driver on the other side of Torside Reservoir so did quick U-turn.
Having another quick stock up of food at the car and fixing a light to my bike Danny and Steve had caught up with us. Danny wanting to quickly carry on we both headed up a lovely long sweeping climb looking down on the very low water level of the reservoir and enjoying the views before blasting down the decent into Glossop. Regrouping at Glossop where Danny said “one last climb”!! .We’ve been hearing that a lot.
We set off but if I remember rightly there were a few more climbs to come but compared to what we had just done they were little bump’s. Not sure where exactly the last climb was but I heard Danny shouting left! Left! Left! and seeing it in front of us! I thought give it my all and enjoy it! So I did. Secluded by trees and narrow steep lanes we headed up, up and up riding into the dusk. Lights came on to light the way as we headed to the top. We rolled along a lovely ridge which I felt it could have gone on for ever before a nice sweeping decent but by this time night had fallen.
Unfortunately the nice country lanes had long gone and it was now back on to main roads heading through town after town with pot hole after pothole. We had hit the flats! In the dark, and were on a mission to get home now! No more Stopping!
Steve on the front keeping us all at a good pace and having to shout out all the holes, grids, lumps and bumps which passed down the line to each of us to shout out! We must have sounded like a bunch of town criers going through each town but for safety reasons greatly needed. Riding in silence Knutsford arrived and was a relief to see. Not long now and we will all be home and on a roll! Then without warning “boom “my front light went out. Not wanting to stop and break the flow I said I would be fine but Danny insisting I need a light we had to stop. A quick light change we headed off again and the closer we got home the achievement of the weekend hit home! Joy, excitement, relief, fatigue and my aches had turned in to numbness but was buzzing that we had made it. I said my goodbyes whilst riding and headed straight for my front door whilst the rest of the guys carried on down the hill into Frodsham.
By Andy White
Sitting in a car for 15 hours per day averaging 16mph is not everybody’s idea of fun but I loved it. I am not fit enough to ride an event like this so being the support driver was as close as I could get. The car was fully loaded and had a lot more stuff in it than I thought was possible but it all seemed to work. Bags on the back seat and food, water, spares in the book. Keeping up with the riders through the towns was difficult as they could ride through traffic quicker and a Garmin doesn’t work as well because it doesn’t warn you far enough in advance of a turn when doing 50mph!
Once we got through the towns the best way to see the ride was to sat behind the last man which also meant I could spot anybody needing help. Everyone regrouping at the top of a hill meant it was perfect for me to refill bottles, offer cake & food and make sure everyone was ok.
A few lucky riders got to feel what it must be like to be a pro! Sticky bottles, drafting behind the car and so on.
Whilst there were quite a few tired legs and bodies everyone made a superb effort to get to Whitby and enjoy a few well deserved beers.
The journey home was just as good but into a strong headwind for quite a while, the North York moors offered superb views and all I had to do to get out of the wind was put the window up!
I made sure I was still behind the last man on the road which proved to be correct when we had to stop for punctures, tyre and wheel changes and for the riders to fuel again.
The late return added to the fun, sitting behind everyone with full beam so they could see more in the dark lanes.
All in all it was a typical Epic ride (think saw blade as a profile) which was well organised by the salesman (sorry President) Danny Emmett
To take on a Coast to Coast challenge is hard enough for most riders but to do it twice in 2 days takes remarkable strength and determination. When in the moment thinking you have two days riding of difficult hilly terrain it can be quite daunting. Some riders doubted their ability but nailed it. The reward comes after the challenge when you know how hard you have pushed yourself and conquered the challenge. You can look back with pride.
Out of the 11 riders who took part 6 finished both days. All 11 riders should be proud of their individual achievements. Everyone dug deep and did their best. Having the support during the two days made a difference, a massive difference. We are all very grateful for Andy Whites support. I’m incredibly proud of them all and so are their fellow club mates. It was wonderful to share this experience with them.