Riding The Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride

If Maserati made bikes, they would be exquisite, stylish, high-performance machines.

The Italian firm hasn't (yet) diversified into the two-wheeled world; yet they have created a bicycle ride experience that reflects the passion, heart and values of the brand.

The Maserati Tour of Yorkshire ride was a beautiful day on the bike...

'The Heart of Cycling'

At the Press Conference for Le Tour de Yorkshire, Christian Prudhomme said that for him, 'God's County' is the "heart of cycling". When the Tour visited here in 2014, the region's reputation for its incredible passion for the sport shone bright and strong, and that has continued to this day.

Despite having ridden all over Europe, I have previously never visited the Yorkshire Moors or Dales on a bike. This year, I decided that needed to change; I wanted to see and experience the legendary climbs and crowds.

Welcome to Yorkshire

My Yorkshire experience began the day before the Maserati Tour of Yorkshire Ride; on the roadside of the 'Cote de Lofthouse'. I cheered on the Wiggle High5 Women's Team, as the race was blown to pieces by the savage unrelenting gradient.

After travelling down to the Peak District in the afternoon, I was treated to an evening of wine and fine food. Seated on the right hand of David Millar, we engaged in interesting and diverse conversation; a true privilege, having previously reviewed both his books here on the blog.

Pre-Dawn Departure

The sun had yet to rise as I rolled out at 04:45, on the morning of the Maserati ride. Golden light was soon spreading across Derwent Water though, as I made my way back over the border between Derbyshire and Yorkshire, towards the start in Stocksbridge.

The scenes on the Cote de Lofthouse had already demonstrated it to me, but Yorkshire was fully geared up for the Tour de Yorkshire arriving later in the day: bunting, barbecues and tents adorned almost every cottage garden.

Porridge and fresh Italian coffee awaited me in Stocksbridge. Then, fuelled up, I pinned on my ride number and made my way to the start line.

The Ride

From the start in Stocksbridge, the gradients came thick and fast. Dry roads and scenic backdrops made for great riding though; the Yorkshire countryside shining in the early morning light. 

Kilometres ticked by. My ride partner Jack and I chatted happily about anything and everything. Two Isle of Wight riders, enjoying the northern moors. 

Leg shocking climbs began to punctuate the route more frequently, as we headed into the latter stages of the ride. I left Jack to set his own pace on the challenging ramps, and pushed on towards the finish.

By 11am, the sun had brought enough heat with it to warrant stripping off my Sportful Stelvio Jacket. I clicked down the gears as we approached the final loop into Stocksbridge, and the punishing grades reminded me of the challenging climbs that feature in the '9 Roads to Nowhere' route. 

Rolling onto the crowded finishing straight, a feeling of pride came over me: pride for the incredible welcome that Yorkshire had set up ready for the Pro race arriving later that day. This was enthusiasm for cycling, like I had never seen it before.

I finished the ride in 03:39hrs for the 100km route. 2,000 metres of climbing, on beautiful roads.

My attempt to #BeMoreMike

Many will have heard of the tragic death of endurance cyclist Mike Hall in the coast-to-coast race in Australia last month. Mike was an inspiration for thousands of long distance cyclists; setting records both on and off-road, on iconic routes like the 'Tour Divide'.

Since Mike's passing, riders from all over the world have been attempting to #BeMoreMike - by engaging in abnormally challenging long distance rides. I decided that as Mike was a Yorkshireman, I should attempt to #BeMoreMike on this ride.

For that reason, after refuelling up on lasagne, tiramisu and coffee in the Maserati hospitality area, I headed back out into the lanes...

I rode back up on the challenging finishing circuit that the men would race on later that afternoon. Another loop around Strines reservoir, and then over the Tops; I retraced my tyre tracks from the early morning start, and headed deep into the Peak District. 

In search of up, I took a right hand turn at Derwent Water; taking in the ascent of Snake Pass. It was a headwind home for my final circuit, but I eventually unclipped after 8 hours of riding. 

211 kilometres. 4,100 metres of climbing. #BeMoreMike

I watched the finish of the men's race from the bath... in awe of the speed at which the Pro's raced up the same gradients that I had strained on earlier in the day. 

Another very pleasant dinner (including a Bakewell Tart for dessert) was had; and then an early night, for tired legs and mind. 

If Maserati made bikes, they would be exquisite. They don't (yet); but a day in their company, riding bikes, was as fine a day as you could hope for. 

Yorkshire loves cycling. Cycling loves Yorkshire.

Welcome to Yorkshire - the land of tea, pies and bikes

Open moors and dry stone walls. "You're in Yorkshire, Lad"

Kit selection for the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride

Deserted twisting lanes

Every tea shop, butchers and bakers seemed to by supporting the Tour de Yorkshire

Afternoon sunshine

Barren moors and glistening lakes

'A Grand Day Out'

Yorkshire delivered on its promise of great riding and enthusiastic hosting. I'll definitely be back.


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