I rode the trail with my son over Whitsun. The trail follows the old Scarborough to Whitby rail line and is popular and it is easy to see why. Two choices exist: to cycle northwards to Whitby or southwards from Whitby to Scarborough. It depends on what you plan to do i.e. complete a particular section or do the whole thing. For example some people prefer to do the section from Whitby to Hawkser around 7 miles - duration 1 hour. A lot depends on your fitness/targets as there are rewarding downhill sections butalso long gradual climbs. We planned to do the whole route to Whitby - around 22 miles (ideally stay overnight) then cycle back unfortunately accommodation in Whitby was full (advise arrange this well in advance in you plan to do this in the Spring/Summer).
We decided to do a bit of a 'Bradley Wiggins' and cycle there and back i.e. over 40 miles but fine as the weather was glorious. You can bring your own bikes though there are plenty of cycle hire companies. We hired 2 'hardtail' mountain bikes from a recommended outfit called Let's Bike (based in Scalby just outside Scarborough). The owner Pete was great he drove our bikes down and met us outside our hotel. He drove us back to Scalby to pick up the trail from there. Aside from the bikes the hire costs included a map, repair kits, spare inner tubes, locks and filled water bottles also we were given a contact number in case of assistance.
The route is superb passing through some fabulous countryside. I loved spotting the old railway stations/platforms though the highlight has to be having our packed lunch in Ravenscar on a bench on a cliff overlooking the crashing waves below also the magnificent view of Robin Hood's Bay from atop Ravenscar. The best thrill was the rewarding downhill ride from Ravenscar (after the steady climb) though CAUTION here not to get careless because it is steep you really do fly down even on MTBs. It needs to be pointed out this is a CINDER trail so MTB are essential and you have to either be an experienced and/or confident rider to ride sections of the trail as there is a fair bit of wear e.g. pot holes/protruding stones/dips, etc. I did see a couple of people riding tourers but given their narrow tyres and slick treads punctures and slips must be a certainty. I did meet one man who was walking with his bike who asked me the condition of the path were we had just cycled - he'd obviously dismounted as he was unhappy. I definitely would caution against taking young children unless they are riding specific short sections e.g. Whitby - Hawkser. At a very casual pace we reached Ravenscar for lunch in 1.5 hrs (10.5 miles) however the next stage was not so straight forward. The path deteriorated as we went along and we saw a sign warning of deterioration owing to weather i.e. rain had washed away sections of cinder. By the time we approached Robin Hood's on some sections we were bumping over the actual exposed rail sleepers! Progress had slowed to the extent I decided we couldn't do the final 6 miles to Whitby in order to start the return leg in time. We returned by road on the A171 and completed the 15 miles in 2hrs (slower MTB also some steep climbs and some dizzy drops!). I would start earlier if I did this again and definitely do the overnight Whitby stop. Definitely recommended - hope money can be found to refurbish as it is an excellent route.
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