Ride Number 4

Distance: 1310 metres, Ascent: 129 metres, route map

In compiling the 50 rides part of my own challenge was to complete the cycling part of it within the year after my 50th birthday. At the start of that twelve months I was quite happy to slot the occasional hillclimb into a ride as and when they happened. As my 51st birthday approached the inevitable happened and I realised I was rapidly running out of time. So I started to plan rides that linked together as many climbs as I could. On one such ride this was the 4th on the list, hence the name.

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It’s quite an appealing climb too. It starts out in the sticks so you’ll have an enjoyable ride just getting to the start and then there’s much about the ride to commend it. It’s in a quiet corner of Calderdale, there’s a decent stretch of cobbles, it has enough gradient to get your blood flowing and it ends up in a hamlet that appears to be called Krumlin. Winner.

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To get to the start head out from the centre of Stainland down the side road of Coldwells Hill and follow the roadway down. It’s more straightforward on the ground than it is on the map as the road markings naturally lead you down Stainland Dean to the valley bottom near Black Brook and Firth House Wood. There should be some attractive housing to either side and a tall chimney and the start of a cobbled track back up the other side of the valley ahead of you.

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That track is Steele Lane and it’s waiting for you. You cycle along the flat with a high garden wall on your left towards the base of an old mill chimney where the cobbles start. If the cobbles are looking greasy or you’re feeling delicate then there is room to either side of them to cycle on a strip of tarmac but that seems a little unsporting. You should embrace the cobbles, metaphorically at least, because they may not be around for long.

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This first stretch soon disappears beneath a layer of tarmac but they briefly re-emerge later on to help you around a corner. Steele Lane continues steeply upwards past an impressive terrace of cottages on the right and onwards towards another cluster of buildings on the crest of a hill. The route here follows the hairpin bend round to your left into Bank Royd Lane. On the map this looks like a left turn but on the ground it feels like the natural continuation of the road.

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You’re still climbing but it’s easier now and there’s just a few hundred metres to the road junction where you can call a halt. There’s a hamlet here but it’s hard to tell whether it’s called Krumlin, New Laithe or Bank Royd or whether it’s unnamed. If you find out, let me know.

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