Social Routes

All of our social routes fall into 3 categories – Gentle, Stretching and Strenuous. Route details are further down this page.


Between 16 and 22 miles in distance, our Gentle rides have easier climbs, usually on quieter roads so you can wobble and walk. We take frequent stops so you can admire the view (get your breathe back!) and are a good ride to start with.


Between 20 and 28 miles, the Stretching rides have more hill climbing, often on quieter roads. There are stops at the top of hills to admire the view (and appreciate your increase in fitness!)


Between 25 and 30 miles, Strenuous rides take in the biggest hills possible. There are fewer stops unless the group becomes too stretched out and needs to regroup. A good ride if you are thinking about B Section rides next!


Social Series Categories

Our Routes:

Gentle Rides

Ideal starter rides


This gentle mainly flat ride goes on the back road towards Bolton Abbey and then we walk over the footbridge to Addingham. If it is a nice day we will have our café stop at the Fleece Deli in Addingham but if it is full (it is only a tiny café) we will stop at Ilkley on the return ride. There are some short sections of main road on this route but it is a lovely gentle route and an ideal introduction to social cycling!
Option: divert to look at the Stepping Stones at Burley in Wharfedale, there is a short section of rough bridleway but it is a nice break from the road


Usually the Fleece Deli but it is currently closed due to a fire in 2015 and so the café stop will be in Ilkley for this ride until further notice)


Our Gentle ride will set off along the Pool Road which can be busy but is flat for about 3 miles. We will then go up Creskeld Lane. This is steep in places but there are plenty of stopping places to enjoy the views! There is another busy stretch of road until we reach the back roads of Eccup. We will go up to Eccup reservoir to admire the views and then return on the back roads to the Donkey Sanctuary. There is a small café area and you can spend some time with the donkeys! The return to Otley will go via Bramhope and then a long descent into Otley to finish at the Fleece


The Donkey Sanctuary has a café and toilets


This is a perfect “Introduction to Otley Cycle Club” ride because it is relatively flat and will take you on roads that you are unlikely to have been on before, including the fantastic bridleways at Harewood. The route goes out from Otley along the main Pool Road, which can be busy at times but we will divert to take the “pointless loop” to the Fishing Ponds. At Pool we will break into smaller groups for the road along Arthington as this can be busy. We will then take a right hand turn to Weardley which is a quiet back road with a short hill climb. This leads us to Harewood Estate where there are (mainly tarmac) Bridleways giving us views of the valley and of deer and highland cattle. The return leg goes on the back roads to Otley, via Weeton and Castley


Muddy Boots at Harewood


There are a few climbs to North Rigton via Almscliffe Cragg but you will be surprised how accessible this route is, we take the hills in a very steady manner. Gentle Option A: 16 miles This is a lovely route which goes along the back roads to Huby and then goes up Gravelly Hill to Almscliffe Crag, with plenty of stops on the way. After Almscliffe Crag there is a downhill stretch to the pub. We return to Almscliffe Crag and then take a right hand turn so that we can descend on the back roads to Otley.

We will sometimes do this route in reverse

Gentle option B 17 miles: This route follows the same course as Route A but the return leg has a diversion to the Trout Farm to provide variety if the group have done this route before and are more experienced on the gentle ride and wanting a bit more a stretch on the return leg

Gentle Option C : 19 Miles This takes the same route as option A and then adds in an extra loop via Weeton, so if worth using if the group are more experienced gentle riders and would like to test out their riding legs a bit more!

Gentle Option D – 16 miles – This will be an easy ride with some climbing but at a very gentle pace and plenty of stops for you to admire the great views. The route out starts on the Pool Road so you can get warmed up before the climb up to Armscliffe Cragg via Gravelly Lane before diverting off to North Rigton for Smarties at the Sq and Compass. After Armscliffe Cragg it is a very gentle climb to a road on a plateau with views of Harrogate and Otley. On the return to Otley this route usually goes up the hill to Farnley (with stops) so you can get used to climbing Otley hills, but you may also decide to go back via Pool Road, which is longer but flatter


Square and Compass at North Rigton


Option One

This ride takes a leisurely approach out of Otley, using a footpath (please dismount!) and then the road by the golf course. There is plenty of meandering around Menston and Guiseley and then slowly ascends up to the Chevin via Carlton Lane. The café stop is at the Britannia Hotel with a good range of snacks and drinks. The ride can be shortened after the hotel with a return to Otley on the main road if the weather is bad


Java Café at the Britannia Hotel (service was a bit slow last time so ring in advance to say we are coming)

Option 2

A very gentle ride that which uses the back road by the golf course onto Ellar Gill and then meanders round Menston and then continues up to the top of the Chevin by Carlton Lane, there is a pointless loop around Bramhope and then a return via Surprise View and down West Chevin.


Le Jardin (High Trees Garden Centre)

There is no cycle parking at the Garden Centre but plenty of places to lean the bikes. A full range of snacks and is open from 10.00

Option 3:

Via Guiseley 19 miles This is a slightly more demanding gentle route which takes in Burley, Menston, Guiseley and Bramhope. The route goes out past the Fleece and then on the old gated road to Burley in Wharfedale. A cunning route is taken from Burley to Menston, using a short section of footpath (please dismount!!) A tour of the High Royds estate gives us a break from the main roads. After the break in Guiseley the route climbs up the steady Carlton Lane to Bramhope before a steady descent back to Otley


Various options in Guiseley including Costa Coffee, Micks Grill or Morrisons. Our new café is “Everybody’s Social” (next to Morrisons)

Stretching Rides

For both experienced and new riders they offer a great way to see the surrounding area in a social group.


This option takes the flatter route to Bolton Abbey with a return through Burley in Wharfedale for variety!


Option A variety of options in Bolton Abbey including Cavendish Pavilion


This is a shorter ride to Bolton Abbey with the café stop at Bolton Bridge. This can be useful on a colder day or when the ride has been slower than usual


This is an interesting ride to explore the new Sustrans route to the centre of Bradford and to admire the newly designed city centre. The route is surprisingly quiet and avoids main roads until almost the centre of the city. Apart from one major hill climb on the outward and return legs the ride is relatively flat. The route map is not accurate because we are following a new off road tarmac track.


Various options in city centre


This is a shorter ride for the winter months. The ride has a tough Climb at beginning up West Chevin to Surprise View but once at the top the rest of the ride is gently stretching and includes a ride round to Eccup Reservoir on quieter roads.


Golden Acre Park


This is ride will really test out your climbing legs and it will feel much long than 21 miles! In return we offer you the glories of the “Yorkshire Lake District” with views across the reservoirs of Fewston and Lindley. This ride is particularly good in Autumn when you are treated to the autumn leaves. We start with the climb up to Farnley and then a sharp descent to the Trout Farm. A steady climb brings the route to the top of the ridge with views to Otley on the left and Harrogate on the right. The ride goes along Norwood Lane towards Fewston, this road can be very challenging in a head wind so is a good time for you to practice your “drafting skills” by riding in a compact group. After the coffee stop the route goes to the top of the Snowden Ridge via Timble village and then a lovely long descent back into Otley

The second route is an easier introduction to the Fewston area with a lower length, although similar amounts of climbing. This route was used for our ride with Cycle Weekly! The ride goes down to the Trout Farm, along the Gated Road and then takes the plantation road (unpaved) to Norwood Lane and then down to Fewston. The return ride uses Jack Lane and then climbs up past Lindley Reservoir to Farnley.

This is a Reverse route with the same cafe stops, but quite a few extra miles!:


Washburn Heritage Centre at Fewston Church.


This ride starts on familiar roads with a gentle ride along to Weeton. After a slightly tricky right hand turn onto the Harrogate Road we go into the grounds of Harewood House. The delights of deer, highland cattle and red kites can be enjoyed. After the break at Muddy Boots café we go along the bridleway to Weardley (ok for road bikes but you may like to push for short sections) and then a hill climb up to Eccup which is a good challenge! Meet at the bench at the top of the hill for views and group photo opportunity!


Muddy Boots Cafe


Option A:

22 Miles This route goes up to Harlow Carr via North Rigton and returns on the main road from Beckwithshaw. The return leg has one significant hill climb but then is downhill with the return on the Pool Road making it ideal for tired legs!

Option B:

22 Miles This route climbs out of Otley on the Farnley Road before taking back roads to Beckwithshaw and then to Harlow Carr. The return leg comes back via North Rigton. There is some climbing involved but the reward will be found at Betty’s in Harlow Carr.

Option C:

22 Miles This route begins with a flat route along the Pool Road and then climbs on back roads via Braythorne, as route B. On the return leg a diversion is taken on the back roads to the trout farm which gives a quiet alternative to the main road but is more hilly as a result.


Betty’s at Harlow Carr


A gentle outwards approach using Pool Road to Creskeld Lane makes this a good warm up ride. After Creskeld Lane there is a climb up to Bramhope and then the route goes along the top of the Chevin to take in Surprise View and then follows the course of the Tour de Yorkshire down Buckle Lane and up to the Moor road climbing gradually to the Cow and Calf, from Ilkley we return via Asquith and the back roads. Our café stop is a later point than usual in the ride so bring snacks!


There are various options in Ilkley, the suggested option is La Stazione,


This route goes out via Almscliffe Cragg and North Rigton, there is a short section of the main Harrogate Road and then a turning to Kirkby Overblow. The return leg uses the back roads via Weeton, Huby and Castley.


The Shoulder of Mutton at Kirky Overblow or Village Pantry


Stretching option A 23 miles

A really lovely loop around the Wharfe Valley, with a climb up the hill from Asquith to the Snowden Ridge and then onto Fewston and then round to North Rigton (most of this ride is the reverse route of our Stretching Ride to Fewston) There are fantastic views of the reservoirs and you will see Almscliffe Cragg from all sides. The café stop is at 15 miles so you may want to take a snack with you to sustain you up the final hill climbs before coffee!


The Square & Compass


This is a very attractive route which starts off with the short climb to Farnley and then a descent and short climb along the back roads behind Lindley reservoir. This includes one of the hills climbs that our mini flyers now find is possible rather than impossible! The route continues on back roads, through the streets of Pannel and then onto the main road to the Garden Centre for our coffee stop. After the coffee stop the route is very gentle back to Otley with some long descents and a few shorter climbs. It is a great ride with fantastic views.


This is a very interesting route which will take you along roads you are unlikely to know in our quest to find you some fine snacks and coffee at Roundhay Park. The route begins with a gradual climb to Surprise View – with recommended stopping places to admire the views! From Surprise View you get a trip along Millionaires Row to see some quirky architecture choices! After the café stops the rides will return to Otley via Eccup reservoir and an exciting descent of Black Hill – make sure your brakes are in good order for this ride!


Either The Mansion House or the Tropical World Café


Our routes go to Sicklinghall (near Weatherby) to The Scotts Arms on a route that is straight out and back, using the back roads of Castley and Weeton. There isn’t a lot of climbing to do (in Wharfedale terms) and some great views from the top of Kearby Cliff if you choose option 2. We usually see lots of red kites and on a fine day there is no better view. There is a slightly tricky right hand turn off the main Harrogate Road to get to the Sicklinghall Road so you need to take care at this point. There is often a head wind on the return to Otley so do make sure you have enough energy in your legs for this challenge!

Stretching via Kirkby Overblow 27 Miles

This slightly longer route goes up via Kirkby Overblow so misses out on the challenge of Kirkby Cliff. 27 Miles

Stretching – up Kirkby Cliff 25 Miles


The Scotts Arms Pub at Sicklinghall


This route starts on the Ilkley road and then briefly joins the By Pass road to Ilkley before taking the old Otley Road to Burley in Wharfedale. It is routed in this direction to avoid congestion on the back road as all groups are going in this direction! The route takes you through Ilkley on a short stretch of the A65 and then up to Addingham Moorside on a lovely quiet back road which climbs to take in amazing views in all directions. You will take at least two stops on the climb to take photos and get your breath back! Once you reach the top of the climb it is an easy descent into Silsden and the café stop before retracing your ride back over the hill again and then eventually taking the back road to Otley. This is one of our more demanding stretching rides because of the hill climb over to Silsden, which is very steep in places.


Bilaluci Café Bar opens on a Sunday for us by request


This relatively flat 30 mile route goes through Pool, Bramhope, Eccup, Alwoodley, Shadwell, Thorner, Scarcroft and returns to Otley on a similar route as far as Eccup, but then descends Black Hill Lane and onto the Arthington-Pool Road.


The Dexter at the end of Wigton Lane (0113 203 4991) or Delectations (0113 289 3888) on Main Street in Thorner (if the weather is looking good enough to sit outside.) This cafe has a fantastic “hidden garden” to the rear with plenty of room for cyclists and their bikes, but there’s very limited seating inside (see


These rides are the most energetic of our half day ride options.


Option A via Langbar

This route goes via Middleton with a gradual climb up Langbar. We will stop to admire the amazing views and then a sharp descent down to Cavendish Pavilion should only be attempted by riders with brakes in full working order.. The return route takes the lower flatter road back to Otley.


Cavendish Pavilion

Option B: via Langbar and Storiths

This is a slight variation on the other Langbar route as it requires a right hand turn onto the main road and then a climb to the road down to Storiths. This offers an option of a coffee stop at Buffers rather than the Cavendish Pavilion.


Buffers at Storithes

Option C: via Storiths and Langbar (in reverse!!)

This route lives up to the “strenuous” name. It goes via Middleton and on to Buffers for a cafe stop before descending to Cavendish Pavilion and returning via a climb over Langbar and takes the lower flatter road back to Otley. This route is a challenging with great views, but not everybody will get up Langbar without stopping. The descents are very steep so should only be attempted by riders with brakes in full working order.


Buffers at Storiths


If you have never tried the café at Darley Mills then this is the ride for you! There are some beautiful views as you cross past over the Washburn Valley and the café will restore your energy levels ready for the return leg. There will be plenty of hills and as always there will stops to admire the views! Fantastic snacks and cakes are guaranteed!


Darley Mills


This route will join up two excellent hill climbs into one beautiful circuit. The route will go out from Otley via Asquith and then will take the “gentle” approach to Langbar to capture your first amazing views of our fantastic Yorkshire landscape. After a steep descent (do make sure your brakes are ready for this ride…might be time to pop into Chevin Cycles?!) there is tea at the delightful Strid Tea Rooms. The return leg will take you through Addingham before tackling the final big climb of the day – the Cow and Calf for another brilliant photo opportunity before the gentle return to Otley via Menston.


Strid Tea Rooms


This is the most challenging of all of our Strenuous Rides with a lot of hill climbing involved, the views are worth it though! This ride takes you to Thruscross Reservoir and a very challenging hill climb with some amazing views! The ride crosses over the dam at Thruscross which is a great place to take some photos of the amazing scenery of Nidderdale. The coffee stop is at the Farm Café with a good range of snacks. The return leg will take in views of Fewston Reservoir from Jack Lane (watch out for the gravel on this road) and the route takes a detour via the gated road to give you a very strenuous work out (a quicker return leg may be taken)


Upper Cobby Syke Farm Shop Café .


Hampsthwaite is the burial place of Joshua Tetley and also the burial place of a two and a half foot woman apparently! This ride takes you out along Norwood Edge and then through the various Kettlesing villages to Hampsthwaite. The route returns via Beckwithshaw and North Rigton. It is a hilly route with some great views and some interesting back roads to explore.


Sophie’s at Hampsthwaite


HAREWOOD VIA EAST KESWICK 28 OR 30 MILES This ride takes us out of our usual territory out into East Keswick via Eccup reservoir. This is a good choice of ride if you want to explore a different area and are confident on main roads. The hill climbing is less on this route than many of our strenuous routes. Most of the climbing is early in the ride and there are some more gentle slopes towards East Keswick. There is a short section of main A Road (Harewood Avenue) on this route which will require confident riding in single file in smaller groups (no more than 6 in each group) You may want to bring a snack as the break (at Muddy Boots) is towards the end of this route.

East Keswick Option: This route includes the Harewood Avenue

Wyke Option; This route uses the A61 instead of Harewood Avenue.


Muddy Boots


This route goes via Fewston and Penny Pot Lane to Harrogate, providing a real test of your legs before you get your break! Come prepared for plenty of hill climbing on this ride but also some lovely views and interesting roads


Variety of options in Harrogate


A beautiful route which features some of the loveliest of the back roads of the Wharfe Valley. The route leaves Otley via Farnley and then to the Trout Farm, with a steep climb up to a plateau road. You are then mainly descending for the rest of the ride, with gentle sweeping descents to Burn Bridge and then Pannal. The route then diverts onto the main Leeds road to our café stop, which is a hidden gem – tucked away at the back of a garden centre and then returns to Otley via Kirkby Overblow and then down towards the river through the village of Kearby before returning to Otley with the climb over Farnley.


Crimple Hall Garden Centre (Christian’s Café)


Option A

The Roundhay Park cafes are great and offer a range of snacks which is good ….because to get to the café stop on this ride you are going to climb up Black Hill! This was the finale ride on the Tour de Yorkshire and is a very challenging climb, another one to add to the local iconic climbs we do on our strenuous rides! There are stopping places on the climb for you to admire the view and no prizes for getting to the top first! So come with plenty of cash to reward yourself for taking on this challenge and enjoy the rest of the ride which takes in the beautiful Eccup Reservoir and the houses of Millionaires Row (watch out for the tasteful yellow house)

Option B

This option offers a return route which uses a bridleway at Elmete Lane. It is only recommended for small groups and should be tested before using


The Mansion House or Tropical World


Our Strenuous option is for those who prefer a bit of hill practice. The route takes you around Almscliffe Crag and Kirkby Overblow or it may be ridden in reverse so you can take on the challenge of the ascent of Kearby Cliff. Either option will provide you with some fantastic views and also help you to link up a variety of roads we use on different routes.


The Scotts Arms Pub by arrangement only


This is a good leg stretcher with a short warm up via Middleton and then the challenging climb up to the top of Silsden for amazing panoramic views. The strenuous route takes a left hand turn (signed West Yorkshire Cycle Way) and then a winding descent on steep, quiet back roads into the town. After the café stop we head back up another hill, which is very steep in places. We then take a left turn onto the main road from Silsden to Addingham. Our route takes us through Addingham and along the quiet back road to rejoin the A65 into Ilkley. This is a challenging ride but it is still a social ride so we will stop at the top of the climbs and take lots of photos of the views (allowing you to catch your breath!)


Bilaluci Café Bar, Silsden, by arrangement only


This is a “must do” challenge for all hill climbers! The ride starts gently out to Ilkley before tackling the challenging climb up to the top of the Cow and Calf. You may want to push on the final section of the ride so you can really admire the views! After the Cow and Calf the ride continues along the moor road to Hawksworth and take a speedy descent down Thorpe Lane into Guiseley. The return leg includes a climb to Surprise View before descending via Bramhope.


Everybody’s Social or Costa Coffee – Guiseley


This route takes us out of Otley towards Hawksworth and Bingley so is a great opportunity to explore roads that we do not often cycle along from Otley. There are plenty of steep hill climbs so this ride is perfect for developing your mountain goat skills both ascending and two steep descents into Bingley and on the return leg to Saltaire. The return for this is of course the fantastic views!


Lady B’s Café in St Ives (12 miles) /Stephen Smith’s Garden Centre in Wilsden/ KraveDeli – Wilsden


These rides involve mainly tarmac and some off road tracks that some riders may prefer to avoid. They can all be ridden on normal road bikes, you may find it more comfortable if you have slightly wider tyres (28mm plus) and a robust frame. You (and your bike) may get a bit muddy and there may be places where you prefer to walk for a short section. The off road element is only a small percentage of the ride so mountain bikes may find it more tricky on the tarmac sections


This is a great ride to explore a different area, we have taken road bikes on this route but just be aware that some of the bridleway can be bumpy so not ideal for your bike if it is very new and shiny! The mileage of this route is deceptive, it feels longer due to the hills and rougher road surfaces.The route starts with a climb up West Chevin and then into Guiseley for a descent down Old Hollings Hill into Esholt and a gentle valley route to Saltaire along roads and then the canal. After the café stop there is a climb up the side of the Saltaire Tramway and then onto Glen Road, with amazing views. The climbing continues onto Baildon Moor and then a rewarding descent to Sconce Lane. This takes us up to the busy Bingley Road (take care) and then down to Menston and back to Otley.


Various Options in Saltaire BINGLEY


Stretching, 29 miles (with a short section of bridle way and canal towpath, suitable for hybrid, CX or mountain bikes, there is a grassy stretch where you may prefer to push the bike!) A real treat for those of you with hybrid/CX and mountain bikes with some truly stunning views! This route heads over to Ilkley and up to Addingham Moorside, taking our time up this quiet back road with stops to catch our breath and admire the scenery. We then head away from the tarmac across Low Moor and Rivock Edge, passing the ‘Dew’ Stanza Stone before rejoining the roads and descending to Crossflats. After refuelling our engines at Five Rise Locks café, we’ll roll on through Roberts Park and then onto Baildon, returning to Otley via Old Hollins Hill for some well-deserved refreshments.


This ride goes up Snowden and then down a bridleway to cross a bridge and then onto Jack Lane and the Gated Road. It is a magical route and will be appreciated by many riders who are familiar with our usual routes. However It may be too muddy for road bikes in the winter and should only be offered as a Hybrid option for people who are happy to use a bridleway


The Square and Compass at North Rigton.


This route is mainly on the road but does include two short sections of bridleway. The first section is rough concrete and then a woodland path and the second section (after the coffee break) involves a short muddy section where you might prefer to carry your bike and a short uphill stony track where you will have to push the bike. Road bikes that you don’t mind get muddy will be fine, mountain bikes are probably unnecessary as it is mainly road! The route takes us towards Sicklinghall but with additional loops around the village of Kearby and then down a road and tarmac bridleway towards the hotel. Wood Hall Spa Hotel is a magical place, tucked away in the middle of beautiful countryside “you would never know it is there”. They will put on a special cyclist elevenses for £9 and we call agreed it was a special treat. After the coffee stop the ride tackles the tougher of the two bridleways and then onto a quiet back road into Sicklinghall and back to Otley via Kearby Cliff, and the backroads to Castley.


Wood Hall Spa Hotel – you must ring to book in for a group


A lovely route that goes round the edge of Harrogate following the blue Sustrans signs, using tarmac tracks. There is a short section in the Showground of rougher track where a slightly more robust bike will make for a more comfortable ride. After the coffee stop you follow a track to exit the showground and return via some back roads back to Otley.


Fodders, Yorkshire Show Ground, open 10.00