Posted on Mar 01, 2016 at 14:42 PM
Welcome to Todmorden and the ‘Lanes above the Den’ road ride. Firstly you are probably thinking just over 30km is short for a road ride, however appearances can be deceiving and this route has a sting in the tail with over 700m of climbing on offer up some of the steepest gradients in the area.
The route starts in Todmorden outside the old cinema building and heads west with Centre Vale Park on your left. At the far side of the park you embark on the first climb of the ride up the woodland road behind the park before traversing onto open moorland and Flower Scar Road. At the summit of the climb take the opportunity to look back down the Calder Valley.
From the summit the route descends down a twisty narrow road that can feature a number of loose stones from running water, so please descend with care. Back in the bottom of the valley you link up with the A646 and briefly head in the direction of Todmorden before turning onto Calderdale Road Climb 38 (Pudsey Rd & Shore New Rd). This climb is by no means cuddly like the bear, in fact the complete opposite, firstly its long covering 1.2 miles and features an average gradient of 10%, to make things even tougher the road ramps up to 18.9% at its steepest point.
At the top again appreciate the view in both directions as you are unlikely to see the landscape on a return visit look the same. The reason being the light and weather conditions dramatically alter the scenery, if possible aim to visit this part of the world at dusk or dawn.
The route continues along Long Causeway to Blackshaw Head and one of our personal favourite descents in the area. The road down into the village is open and flowing allowing your bike to coast and provides the option to apply the brakes as desired. Please reduce speed through the village as there are no pavements and pedestrians and horse riders move around the village.
The route descends to the New Delight Pub and the option to take on some liquid refreshment, alternatively just off route is the ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ in Mays Farm Shop that sells pretty much everything and will make you a quality cup of Yorkshire Tea. The shop is one of the areas hidden gems popular with both road cyclists and mountain bikers.
The area of Slack is situated on the outskirts of the historic town of Heptonstall, this route bypasses the town but there is the option to visit with those prepared to cycle on cobbles. The original route can be simply picked up by continuing through the village and linking back onto Heptonstall Road.
From Mytholm just outside Hebden Bridge you cycle in the valley floor and the flattest part of the route. Just after Eastwood you head to the hills for the final climb of the day that takes in the picturesque Mankinholes and Lumbutts with Stoodley Pike monument in the background.
The final kilometres of this ride are effortless as you descend to the outskirts of Walsden before taking the hairpin turn back to the main road and Todmorden Town Centre. Reward your efforts on the climbs by sampling what the town has to offer.