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A Dent-ish Appointment

Updated: Feb 27

A first Dent-ish Appointment. We'd go again...

Late February in the Cold Dark North can be a particularly dicey time to predict the weather for a bike ride. Yes it is often awful out there, but in recent years we've seen a regular pattern of at least one “unusually” warm week in the mid to late part of the month... the first flushes of Idiot's and then Fool's Spring. The first feeling of warm winter sunshine and blue skies above, ahead of perhaps one more bitter hit of winter that's the precursor of the actual spring we’re all hoping for. It was during a particularly warm Idiot's Spring that we enjoyed the Wild West Ride back in 2019, so we have form when it comes to an Idiot’s Spring ride.

Our last attempt at an “unReliability Ride” in 2020 was beset first by cancellation due to flooding from two named storms and then the rearranged date fell in early March, around the time of the infamous Cheltenham Festival. Not to mention that when we did get it on, one rider slipped on a cattle grid and broke their hip. So when the forecast for our 2024 unReliability Ride showed outside chances of ice in the high parts of the Western Dales, we were a little nervy in the build up to the ride.

What is an “unReliability Ride”, you ask? 

If you’re not sure what a Reliability Ride is, you can read up on their idiosyncratic history here. Our ride was not a reliability ride. We planned a more chilled, more inclusive thing. Reliability Rides are great, if that’s what you want - but we wanted folks that don’t want that to have a tough early season alternative.

What is the Dent-ish Appointment?

The idea came as our Tobes was out riding his bike last year thinking about the ridiculous quality of each of the climbs in the Dent Valley - it wasn’t long before he was planning a route to take in the “best” of each of the five ways into and out of the Dent Valley. For him, it had to go up Dent Head Viaduct, over The Coal Road (from Garsdale Head), up White Shaw Moss and back via Barbondale. Once you’ve been in and out four times, you might as well do “the other one that isn’t a climb at all” around Rash. 

So he’d planned it, given it a silly name and told folks that we’d be riding it on 24 February 2024. Free to ride, the call was to join us, if they wanted to. And 25-30 riders did. There was plenty of speculation of ice and frost in the build up to the ride but we kept the faith and set off into the Yorkshire Dales from Dent on a beautiful, cold, sunny morning.

Here’s a photo Diary of what we saw…

Pre-Dent, Dent, Newby Head and Hawes

The Coal Road and White Shaw Moss

Kingsdale, Barbondale and Rash

Here’s the Route - if you’d like to ride it for yourself: (or you can download the GPX file here)

A few notes on the ride itself:

Start/Finish at the Public Car Park in Dent: 

Dent, Sedbergh LA10 5QJ

Grid ref: SD 7033 8707

Parking is about £5.50 for the day.

Cafs/Resupplies/Public Toilets: There are public toilets in Dent, Hawes, Ingleton, Barbon and Dent (again). The route takes us into Hawes to allow for a quick Spar resupply for anyone that needs it at 22km and then it’s a fairly long section with two big climbs to get to Ingleton where there’s an off route resupply option at 57km (Seasons Bakery is ace!) or you can resupply in Cowan Bridge at the Village Store (67km). The best possible lunch stop is at the Church Mouse in Barbon (or you can use the Barbon Inn in the village too) at 74km. After that, it’s all the way to Dent for a final caf at the Heritage Centre if needed.

These are the main climbs on the route:

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