Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goat rides are mixed ability social rides for members who enjoy the challenge/fun of cycling hillier rides. We have two really simple rules that help to make these rides fun for everyone:

  1. The first to the top of the hill gets to take photos of the beautiful views for the rest of us to enjoy later.
  2. No moaning about the hills, the route, the café, the other riders…just chill and enjoy being out on our bikes! 

We have regular rides and a monthly hill climb competition.

Will I Be Fit/Fast Enough (WIBFE QUESTION)

  • If you are a complete beginner then you will find these rides too challenging because there is a lot of climbing involved so your lungs and legs will need to prepare physically. We have a couple of 10 mile circuits close to Otley which are good practice rides and you should be able to complete 10 hilly miles without needing to stop.

  • Speed is always difficult to estimate. Our rides are not fast rides because of the hills involve so we plan timings based on a 10mph average but that can be 30mph downhill and 3 mph on a steep climb! Our faster riders go ahead on the big climbs and wait at the top, taking photos and encouraging the rest of us.
  • If you are not sure if you are fast enough/fit enough then come along on a ride where you know how to get back home so that you can choose to return early if it feels too much for your fitness level at the moment, this is totally fine!
  • If the hill is too steep and you need to pause for a few moments then this can be all you need to complete the climb and very occasionally you may need to walk up the steeper part and that is fine too. 

Mountain GoatsHow Long are the Rides?

The Saturday rides vary between 35 to 50 miles, and sometimes in the summer we will do some longer rides or plan away days to tackle some of the special Yorkshire climbs. Midweek rides (traditionally on Thursdays) tend to be shorter – 25-30 miles 

Is there a Coffee Stop?

Always! The mountain goat rides are socially focused rides so we like to sit in a café and chat as part of the ride experience. We try to use independent cafes where we can.

Where do you ride?

We have a huge collection of rides – you can find them by searching Ride with GPS and using “OCC MG” as your search term. A good mountain goat route will:

  • Involve plenty of hills, and occasionally we will put in a pointless hill climb which we might climb and then descend again just so we can see the views (Langbar and Keighley Road)
  • Take you on tiny back roads that you did not know existed
  • Make use of car free tracks – eg the Cullingworth and Thornton Railway viaducts, the Harrogate Greenway and sections of the Canal
  • Have spectacular and unexpected views!

Where and When do you Ride From?

We are still getting back to normal post Covid restrictions on club riding but hope eventually to get back to a regular Saturday and midweek ride from Otley. We sometimes set off from other locations eg Cononley, Skipton, Grassington or plan trip with a bike bus so we can go further afield

Who Leads the Rides?

We do not have official ride leaders. Our club members offer to “host” a ride which means that they plan a route and a café stop and help us get moving safely together on the day but we all take shared responsibility for the ride. We hope that everyone who rides with us will at some point take a turn in hosting a ride, that way we keep the rides fresh and interesting.

Many of our regular ride hosts have not been able to help out during the Covid pandemic so we are slowly getting back to fitness and to having the time to host a ride and we expect that activity levels will gradually increase over 2021

How Large are the Groups?

The maximum group size is 8 people, as we do not feel one ride host should have to cope with a group larger than this and the narrow roads and hills are best for smaller groups.

Who Comes on the Rides?

We have a mix of genders, ages and abilities and we welcome riders with ebikes. What we have in common is a shared love for hills, for pretty back roads and for being in a socially supportive group experience.

How do I know what is happening?

Most of the current communication is via the club’s Facebook account however we also use a Google document that can be accessed by request so any members without a Facebook account can see the rides and sign themselves up for a ride. 

The Hill Climb Competition

We started this during lockdown when we could only ride local routes on our own or in a household. Each month there are 3 hill climbs identified and the first person to complete all 3 wins the competition and gets to set the challenge for the next month.

We do not record timings and you can do the climbs on 3 days or combine them all in one ride. The list of hills is on our Google document, and you just sign your name when you complete one of the climbs