Posted on Mar 07, 2016 at 10:40 AM
This route takes in some of the best road cycling in Calderdale and also pops over the hill to explore what Lancashire has to offer. The route starts in Todmorden and heads to Hebden Bridge on the valley road before picking up the route of the 2015 Tour De Yorkshire heading up ‘Calderdale Road Climb 13’ Keighley Road (Hebden Bridge to Cock Hill).
This climb is very popular with road cyclists from both sides as it was also part of the 2014 Tour De France. This route follows the pedal strokes of the pros to the outskirts of Oxenhope before heading up a beast of a climb; this climb varies in gradient up to Warley Moor Reservoir. The views on a clear day are brilliant unlike the road surface which is rough and patchy for a short section, cyclists riding their best bikes may wish to take it easy through this section of the route.
From one of the high points on this ride the route descents to the village of Wainstalls before plunging into the Luddenden Valley, the descent is very steep and requires good bike handling skills on the cobbles above Jowler Mill, this descent ends in the valley floor before reaching the tiny hamlet of Booth.
From Booth you pass the cricket club and local farms before heading down the valley further to Luddenden Foot which is one of the lowest points in the Calder Valley. Your visit to this part of the world is brief as you immediately head up the opposite hillside on ‘Calderdale Road Climb 34’ that links to the area of Sowerby.
From Sowerby you sneak through the back roads and head towards Triangle and the valley road to Ripponden. At Ripponden you climb again up the A58, this climb is long but not that hard compared to what you have already accomplished. This climb is very much like a mini version of a mountain pass as you reach the summit and head down the other side to Littleborough.
At the traffic lights in Littleborough you turn right and follow the road almost back to the start. Riders that are feeling tired can simply keep rolling and head back to Todmorden. Those that have the determination to continue will next take on ‘Calderdale Road Climb 28’ Shade to Sharneyford. This might be one of those climbs you either love or hate, it starts off fairly easy and it heads up through Gauxholme. Leaving the houses behind you the tree lined road kicks up to Cloughfoot offering a brief rest bite. From here the climb can be open to the elements and the road kicks up to the summit.
From Sharneyford the route descends into Bacup and is very much up and down from this point in. You leave Bacup and head towards Burnley on a long steady climb towards ‘The Deerplay’ that was once a local pub. The next descent is great, you have a full view of the road ahead and the gradient is steep enough to carry good speed without being on your brakes constantly. Around 2km into the descent knock off some speed as you are looking for a left, then instant right turn onto Crown Point Road. This road is very scenic and traffic free following an up and down profile. The roads high point offers views over Burnley with Pendle Hill in the background. On a clear day you can see the 3 Peaks in the distance.
At the end of Crown Point Road turn right and then right again at the traffic lights. As you head down the hill you will approach a strange looking junction, from here follow the signs to Todmorden, 12km along the A646 you will be back in the town for some well-deserved food and drink, reward yourself.