Challenge Rides


Challenge Rides

Five Events Available

£40per personper ride £239+per person per weekendsat & sun rides + B&B
Check Weekend Availability >
20th May 2017 - Book Now
17th June 2017 - Book Now
8th July 2017 - Book Now
12th August 2017 - Book Now
23rd September 2017 - Book Now
To check weekend availability, please complete our booking form.

“A thoroughly enjoyable day and one that I would recommend to all keen cyclists - much better value than a sportive!” Tony Leighton from Solihull


One Saturday each month from May to September we are hosting a fully supported ‘challenge ride’. The routes are incredibly varied with each one having its own very distinct character to show off the wide variety of terrain and scenery in the Yorkshire Dales and the South Pennines.

The rides are an exclusive individual guided and supported experience similar to a ‘sportive’ ride in that there is a set route, but are not timed. What you get over and above a typical sportive is a pre-ride bike check, a support vehicle and team mechanic, the benefit of riding in a small group with your own dedicated ride leader and a top café stop. The rides are a great way of exploring new territory in the safe hands of YVT and will be of interest to local riders as well as visitors to the area. We guarantee to give you an epic day out that will stay long in your memory! If you are concerned about running out of energy on the ride, there are up to 4 spaces available in the support vehicle, so you can hop on board if necessary.

The start and finish is at the Wheatley Arms in Ilkley and off-street parking and toilet facilities are available for riders. The Wheatley Arms are also offering full breakfast @ £6.95 if required.

Ride departure is 9:30am, registration and bike checks from 8am. Rides should all return by 5pm where hearty food and drink is available at the Wheatley Arms.

Maximum of 32 riders on each ride, so book early to reserve your place! Up to 4 ride groups, with the options of a faster/slower group to suit the pace of riders.

Weekend Package

Why not make a weekend of it and stay with us for two nights? Arrival Friday night, ride the Challenge Ride event and enjoy a Sunday morning ride with one of our ride leaders before heading home in the afternoon. We have a number of accommodation providers, including the Wheatley Arms, the Craiglands Hotel and the Riverside Hotel. There is a high demand for accommodation in Ilkley at the weekends during the summer period, so please contact us as soon as possible if you wish to make a reservation.

What's Included?

Energy Energy Flapjack, bananas, gels
Café stop Visit to carefully chosen (tried and tested) café
Drinks Water and energy drink whilst out on the road
Check & Tech Pre ride bike checkby Cytech qualified mechanic
Ride LeaderAt least one experienced local ride leader per group (typical group size 8,max 10 riders)
Map of routes
GPS files of routes for use with Garmin etc
Support Support vehiclewill carry water, spares (tubes, tyres etc). You can also deposit items, eg clothing options, in the vehicle and gain access at certain points on route. Space in the van for 4 people / 4 bikes.
MechanicA qualified (Cytech) bike mechanic will accompany the ride (in the support vehicle) to provide mechanical assistance and repairs. The mechanic will also be available before and after the ride.
Not Included InsuranceWe do not provide any insurance for you or your cycle, so we advise you take out suitable cover
Food & Drink Food and drink at café stop is not included in the price.

Event Dates

CR 120th May 2017Lancashire and Wharfedale / 76 miles / 1,829m ascent

Ride Grade 2

Key Climbs: Cocking Lane, Carleton - West Road, Blacko - Gisburn Road

Most people think of Yorkshire climbs as short and steep, well this ride will prove you wrong! Three major climbs feature on this ride, all before lunch. They are characterised by Alpine like gradients of 5-9% occasionally creeping into the lower teens.

The route heads over to Silsden, Cononley and then Carleton for a climb of 4 miles long that takes you over the Lancashire border to Colne. Shortly after Colne the next gradual climb of Gisburn Road out of Blacko allows you to hit a comfortable tempo on the consistent gradient of around 7%. After the descent, you will enjoy some gently rolling country lanes and villages taking you back to Ilkley via Airton, Hetton and Burnsall.

“Our weekend outing with Ilkley-based Yorkshire Velo Tours was memorable for all the right reasons” See review of this ride in 2016 by Vamper cc

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CR 217th June 2017The Bronte Cobbled Classic / 55 miles / 1,800m ascent

Ride Grade 3

Key Climbs: Cocking Lane, Thwaites Brow, Shibden Wall, Gibb Lane, Haworth Main Street, Priest Bank

The pros start their season with cobbled classics, so it’s only right and proper that we do likewise! Our expert on this region, Mel Hartley, devised this unique ride featuring 3 of Cycling Weekly’s top 14 UK cobbled climbs. Although not long in distance (and it is no disgrace to walk the steepest sections) the combination of cobbles and gradient provide a real challenge.

All the toughest climbs come in the first half of the ride as the route takes you out around Ilkley Moor, then onto Thwaites Brow in Keighley. From there the cobbled fun continues as you head towards Halifax and then over Withens Moor (the inspiration for ‘Wuthering Heights’) before descending into Haworth ready for the iconic climb of Main Street. The final part of the ride crosses the Aire Valley and after the sharp Priest Bank, made famous by the Tour de Yorkshire, you soon glimpse Beamley Beacon standing proud over Whafedale before descending back to Ilkley.

“An awesome bike ride, brilliantly organised”
"Beautiful Yorkshire countryside and some challenging yet very rewarding climbs" 2016 North Yorkshire Cycling Review

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CR 38th July 2017Upper Wharfedale Grand Depart

Option 1: 104 miles / 2,587m ascent
Ride Grade 3

Option 2: 85 miles / 1,714m ascent
Ride Grade 2

Key Climbs: Fleet Moss, Buttertubs (TDF cat 2), Grinton Moor (TDF cat 2), Cote de Cray (TDF cat 2)

To celebrate Tour de France month, the ride will follow a large part of the 2014 Grand Depart day 1 route. This is a real epic route and includes 4 of the most iconic climbs in the UK.

Option 1
The rolling route up Wharfedale to Buckden warms you up nicely for the first climb of Fleet Moss and the stunning beauty at the source of the River Wharfe. A quick descent to Hawes follows and at this then, after passing the hotel of the famous Top Gear ‘steak’ incident, it’s the majestic Buttertubs Pass. You need a pause at the top before the next descent as the view down to Swaledale is guaranteed to take your breath away! A much needed flattish section follows before the next climb of Grinton Moor and then the Cote de Cray before you coast back into Wharfedale and enjoy the pleasant amble back down the valley.

Option 2
The shorter route is the same but misses out Buttertubs Pass and Grinton Moor and instead takes in more of Wensleydale before climbing back over the Cote de Cray into Wharfedale

Video clip approaching Kettlewell

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CR 412th August 2017Malham & Littondale / 76 miles / 1,932m ascent

Ride Grade 2/3

Key Climbs: Malham Cove, Stainforth – Pen-y-Ghent, Langbar

The majesty of Malham Cove looks out over the Village of Malham and has been attracting visitors for centuries. For cyclists, it just happens that a classic road climb runs up the left hand side of the Cove. We have blended a visit to Malham with a loop back through the untouched gem of Littondale, the hidden valley.

The ride initially skirts up the Wharfe Valley and then through the Calendar Girls village of Rhylstone to Malham. The reward for reaching the top of the climb is sight of the impressive world famous limestone pavements. After crossing the bleak moor you descend to Settle for the café stop. After the welcome break you join the route of the famous ‘Etape du Dales’ and climb out of Stainforth past Pen-y-Ghent, one of the 3 Peaks of Yorkshire visited by the iconic cyclo cross race. A treat is now in store as the scenery to your right on the descent is majestic as you enter Littondale. You soon reach Wharfedale and head past Kilnsey Crag. To make this is a triple climb ride, the punchy ‘Langbar’ awaits near the finish, although those with tired legs can easily miss this out if they wish and head straight back to the Wheatley Arms.

“We experienced the full character of the Yorkshire weather today on our Malham and Littondale ride! Great company, great plum crumble and custard at Elaine's tea room at Feizor! - thanks for another terrific route” Comments from this ride in 2016

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CR 523rd September 2016Park Rash, Coverdale & Nought Bank / 78 miles / 2,500m ascent

Ride Grade 3

Key Climbs: Park Rash, Rigg Bank, Nought Bank

Finish the series on a blinder, this is one of our favorite routes.

An undulating 20 miles to begin with takes us to the foot of the infamous Park Rash, which we think is the toughest climb in the Dales! The reward for reaching the top though is a superb 12 mile descent to the town of Middleham and then on to a great cafe which serves the most wonderful selection of homemade food. Refuelled we catch a bit of the TdF day1 route and then head over to Pateley Bridge ready for the last significant climb of Nought Bank. Save a bit in the tank though as the final few miles are a bit more than rolling!

“Excellent guided ride with support vehicle/ mechanic. Super friendly”.
“Great opportunity to experience classic Dales riding and climbs --- a route which I wouldn't have attempted by myself”
“A really great day out!” Comments from this ride in 2016

Video clip of the approach to the base of Park Rash

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"Sunshine, showers and a rainbow in Yorkshire this morning!"