GRAVEL ALLIANCE: Katherine Moore - Heading North
Gravel Union On
16 April 2020
Following a radical change to the year’s plans, Shimano Gravel Alliance member and bikepacking enthusiast looks forward to a return to adventure with ambitions further north.
Words by Katherine Moore. Images by Forthehellofit
It goes without saying that the 2020 season is in chaos. My giant A2 wall calendar is a scrawled mess of once-organised scores of spring and summer trips crossed out with lashings of black biro ink.
I have denied myself a whinge and a moan, as there are so many in worse situations than I face, working night and day on the front line to keep us safe. Yet when it feels like the one thing that you really live to do is taken away from you, it can be hard to keep your chin up. Especially now the sun is shining and the trails are delectably dusty dry.
Dangling a carrot
Rather than dwell on the missed opportunities, I’m now spending some time planning future trips, whenever they may be, as something to look forward to. Funny, isn’t it, how you can appreciate all the things you perhaps once took for granted once they’re taken away?
A rather spontaneous life-change last autumn yielded a late season attempt on the Second City Divide bikepacking route, from the city of Manchester up to Glasgow, with two great friends of mine. Six days of straight sunshine across the North and into Scotland - we were spoilt rotten with incredible vistas and dreamy gravel trails and singletrack from the golden Pennine Bridleway to the roman roads of the Dales, Lancashire’s hidden gems and up into the Scottish Borders forestry tracks.
It was over these first few days through parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire that I vowed to spend more time in these parts in the following year, with the kind of chunky, should-probably-be-on-a-mountain-bike riding that I really relish on drop bars.
Yorkshire Dales 300
Despite realising that racing isn’t my bag, I still love organised gravel and bikepacking events. Researching these for a 2020 calendar, I stumbled across my new ambition. Enter stage left; the Yorkshire Dales 300.
A creation of Skipton based bike mechanic Stuart Rider, the 300 kilometre off road route promises to take in some of the finest riding in the region, from wide golden gravel roads to steep and techy singletrack. Having ridden a few of the trails included on the loop on the Second City Divide, my appetite has certainly been whetted for this challenge. Can it be ridden in a single weekend?
Whether it’ll go ahead as usual with a mass start from Stuart’s workshop in August after a night sleeping on his floor, or a small group attempt at another time, I’m really looking forward to exploring this part of the country more. I’m a huge advocate of exploring closer to home, whether that’s literally riding from your doorstep or discovering more in your own country without excessive travel, so this one is right up there on my to-ride list, when we can.
komoot Collection (Yorkshire Dales 300)