Belles Go To Dalby Forest

A Weekend in Dalby Forest with the Belles May 17 - 19 2024

The pre-trip forecast looked good for North Yorkshire, with reports of warm sunshine and dry weather for the rest of the week – so the Bingley Belles were buzzing for their weekend away at Dalby Forest.
The 8,500-acre forest, situated south of the North York Moors National Park, offers multiple bike trails for all cycling abilities. Its trails are graded Green (easy), Blue (moderate), Red (difficult), Black (severe) and Orange (extreme!) So on Friday 17 May, armed with bikes, gear, snacks, booze and tea-towels, the Belles descended upon the sleepy village of Lockton, near Pickering, ready for a weekend of biking, banter and bliss.

Those who arrived early in the afternoon were lucky to explore the local area, find the nearest pub and tearooms and get a taster of the Dalby route to come. As the rest of the group arrived, old and new members were treated to a tapas-style shared supper, drinks, dessert and introductions.
The itinerary for the weekend was as follows: On Saturday, the large posse of Belles would split into two groups – those who preferred a gentle, leisurely ride on the green Adderstone trail, with options of travelling 8 or 12 miles, and the fearless mountain bikers who wanted to test their skills on the challenging red trails, featuring highlights known as Temptation, Bomb Holes, Fossil Canyon and Oblivion.

A café stop for lunch would also be included. Then back to the base (YHA hostel) for relaxation, more drinks and dinner.
After a good night’s rest in the dorms and a hearty cooked breakfast, the Belles were ready in good time to hit the trails. Despite a couple of mishaps, the Belles eventually made it to the Visitor Centre via a very steep and rocky downhill track, and enjoyed their first café stop of the day.
Once sated and fully equipped, their first real test of grit and endurance began. To reach the start of the green trail from the Visitor Centre, the 18-strong leisure cyclists, would have to navigate a windy, rocky ascent, with switchbacks more suitable for experienced mountain bikers, certainly not for novices or riders of heavy e-bikes. Nonetheless they were undeterred and finally, in searing 20 degree midday sun, the intrepid Belles commenced their ride, heading straight towards the nearest café (just a mile away) for a nice spot of lunch.

At this point, the group divided again with four plucky members continuing to explore the extended green route and test their mettle on some of the more technical blue and red trails.
Regardless of difficulty level, the Belles enjoyed serene woodland, excellent tracks, and some stunning views of the surrounding valleys and moors, and convened at the main café a few hours later for well-deserved ice creams and a short rest before the gruelling return to Lockton. Kudos to the ladies who relied on pure pedal power for that last climb!

The evening was spent as planned, relaxing and reflecting on the varied experiences of the day over beer, wine and a delicious home-made curry. Many of the Belles were scheduled to return home the following day via the Solar System cycle route from Selby to York so an early night was welcome after a strenuous yet satisfying day in the glorious North Yorkshire sunshine.

Many thanks to the cooks, kitchen helpers, organisers and ride leaders – thank you for making the weekend such a success and for bringing together such a diverse and supportive group of wonderful women, it was truly a top-notch weekend! ?

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