Distance: 823 metres, Ascent: 109 metres, route map
The residents of Bank Top are a privileged bunch. Not only are they surrounded by countryside and have impressive views all around; they are also only a brief freewheel away from the delights of Halifax. A quick scoot down Southowram Bank and they have retail outlets and supermarkets at their feet and the centre of Halifax is just beyond.
These lucky people don’t even need to use the state-of-the-art gym that nestles at the foot of the slope. All they need to do is to try and cycle their bikes, now laden down with groceries and consumer durables, back up the slopes of Southowram Bank. A few trips like that should satisfy any gym bunny.
As you may have guessed, this ride starts on a retail park. It feels incongruous because these temples of commerce were designed to be as car-friendly as possible and that can be quite daunting on a bike but you soon put that all behind once you leave Bank Bottom and Charlestown Road.
Quite suddenly you’re in old Halifax with stone walls by the road and mills in the valley below you. Southowram Bank carves a very defined route up the escarpment to Bank Top and maintains a consistent gradient all the way. The inevitable cobbles (this is Halifax we’re talking about) appear on the last quarter of the roadway but even then they don’t cover the entire width of the road. There’s a car’s width of tarmac down the middle which you can use if it’s not too busy or if you’re feeling particularly assertive.