Bike Route: On the roads the M62 left behind

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There are few more iconic landmarks in Yorkshire than the Humber Bridge and I started this week’s ride in its shadow before heading west to Selby on the backroads which skirt the M62. My inspiration came from an article I read recently harking back to the days before the motorway reached these parts in the 1970s. All those roads still exist and I sampled a selection of them as I traversed from the East Riding into North Yorkshire.

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As this route was linear unlike my usual loops, I parked my car near Hessle Railway Station to ensure I could get back to it with minimum fuss and the mammoth bridge rose out from the foliage as I got going onto Woodfield Lane. After marvelling at it for a few minutes I continued on my way towards North Ferriby. This busy section would have been daunting if it hadn’t been for the cycle path along the A15, and the traffic noticeably quietened as soon as I made it on to Ferriby High Road. North Ferriby and Melton were both very pleasant but it was Welton that really caught my eye as I passed on through with its picturesque church flanked by an old mill pond. The climb out of that village was one of the few I encountered all day and I was treated to some unbelievable views across the estuary after I’d crested the summit.

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Once I’d made it through Elloughton I was out into the countryside proper and ploughing along a succession of pan-flat, dead-straight roads. The easterly winds were favourable that day which meant I could really rack up some speed. I barely saw a car before I reached Newport and then followed the B1230 all the way into Howden. Howden itself is a place close to my heart and I took a quick lap of the town before joining up with the A63.

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I, like many cyclists these days, pre-programme routes into my bike computer before venturing out on these treks, but as anyone who has ever used a navigation system will know, they can still occasionally take you on a wild goose chase. That’s what I experienced once I’d made it to Cliffe. As the A63 can get busy I wanted to follow a quieter route into Selby and my computer suggested a great looking route which took me right on to the banks of the River Ouse. I got an inkling things might not be as they seemed when I spotted a dead-end sign as I turned on to Turnham Lane, and a mile or so later my fears were confirmed as I was confronted by bollards blocking my path. I had to reluctantly retrace my steps back into the village and lost a good 20 minutes in the process.

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Back on the A63 at Cliffe, I continued to Barlby junction and ventured into the outskirts of Barlby itself before picking up the A19 into Selby. It was great to see bikes and flags still hanging in town from when the Tour de Yorkshire visited in 2015 and I had flashbacks of the aerial TV footage as I crossed the road bridge over the Ouse. From there it was only a few hundred metres to the station where I hopped on a train and enjoyed the journey back to Hessle.

This route will not really challenge those hardened riders among you but is ideal for anyone who might be new to cycling and looking to build up some stamina.