Adventure cyclist on what makes the Yorkshire coast unique for new cycle routes through areas like Scarborough, Whitby and Bridlington

An adventure cyclist who spent a year travelling the world on a bike has shared his favourite qualities of Yorkshire and what makes the coastline unique for cycling.

Three professional cyclists have collaborated with tourism experience, Route YC, to design a selection of routes for cyclists of various abilities that travel through popular coastline attractions.

Adventure cyclist Markus Stitz, along with two Guinness World Record holders Mark Beaumont and Jenny Graham worked together to create the best routes to showcase the best of the Yorkshire coast.

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The new routes are intended to help visitors of all abilities explore the coast and countryside on gravel, touring and road bikes. The main circular route will begin and end in Scarborough and several day trips will begin in the Yorkshire coast towns of Whitby, Scarborough, Filey, Bridlington, Hornsea and Withernsea, and the North York Moors village of Grosmont.

Markus standing with his bike. (Pic credit: Route YC)Markus standing with his bike. (Pic credit: Route YC)
Markus standing with his bike. (Pic credit: Route YC)

Mr Stitz, from Germany, has lived in the UK for 15 years and spent his time exploring the country’s vast landscapes and terrain. In 2015 he took on his biggest challenge by travelling around the world on his bike which took a year to complete.

“In a nutshell, [I did this] to get people cycling,” he told The Yorkshire Post.

“If you want to break it down even more it’s to really showcase what the Yorkshire coast has on offer but make it easier for people in order to plan their journey. I’ve done several projects, I live in Scotland.

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“People who want to ride bikes may have specific needs and I’ve been cycling for a long time so I know well what these people want.

Markus Stitz cycling along the Yorkshire coast. (Pic credit: Route YC)Markus Stitz cycling along the Yorkshire coast. (Pic credit: Route YC)
Markus Stitz cycling along the Yorkshire coast. (Pic credit: Route YC)

“Taking these things, taking the Yorkshire coast and putting the two together; designing itineraries for people to give them options on where to cycle and how to get there.”

Despite having travelled the world, Mr Stitz has been particularly impressed by Yorkshire and its varied landscapes and heritage.

“For me it’s a really varied journey through several parts of north and east Yorkshire and incorporating the history of the places, the various towns and villages I think what makes it distinctive,” he said.

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“There are other routes and destinations in the UK that are similar, we’re not reinventing the wheel here. But the thing that stuck out to me when I first visited is that it’s got an amazing coastline, anything from very steep cliffs to flat beaches in the south, you’ve got a huge variety.

“If you go a little further inland you’ve got the North York Moors but also the area is just really flat, it’s like the Netherlands.

“Normally you can get all of these things in other parts of the UK as well, Scotland has got a huge variety of landscapes, but having all of that confined in such a small area is quite unique and I do think that the Yorkshire coast is for me.”

Yorkshire’s community spirit and pride also caught Mr Stitz’s attention and reminded him of his family home in Germany.

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“This is an area with a really rich heritage, people here are rightly so very proud of where they live and I think that’s a really good thing,” he said.

“People are super welcoming, people are friendly, always wanting to have a chat which is great.

“Travelling on a bike is quite unique in the sense that you’ll cover shorter distances but if you went into a small village or into a town and you ask someone for directions, I haven’t come across anyone who said no.

“Often you would possibly spend more time than planned on having a conversation. Coming from Germany, you could walk into a small village pub in the middle of nowhere and you’ll be spending the whole evening there talking to people.”

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The combination of history, people, and landscape makes the region very inviting, Mr Stitz said.

“You could take each of them out by itself and it would be really interesting, so if you look at the connection of Bram Stoker’s Dracula with Captain Cook, Tolkien was inspired to write the Hobbit,” he said.

“There are significant events in history that have happened here.

“Landscape-wise, I think there are some really stunning places, fascinating areas. Flamborough Head, Bempton Cliffs, those steep rocky cliffs are absolutely stunning.

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“If you go further north, Robin Hood’s Bay, Whitby, Runswick Bay, you would be hard pressed to find anywhere in the UK where you’ve got a village nestled within the cliffs and the moors as well.”

Mr Stitz offered some tips for those who would like to attempt the cycle routes.

“Whenever I do projects like this I really see this as an inspiration for people to go out and do their own thing, I think that’s important,” he said.

“They can follow the route mile by mile, but I would also encourage them to find out what they like to do and come up with their own version.

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“It will showcase the area and also to encourage people to be adventurous and get out there.

“For people who live here I think this is giving them the opportunity to rediscover their own area, because loads of people just want to cycle during the weekends.”

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