Starting on Good Friday from the coastal town of Arnside, cyclists in the Dales Divide Bikepacking race begin their gruelling 600km endurance ride across the southern Yorkshire Dales, through York, the Yorkshire Wolds and onto Scarborough returning to Arnside across the North York Moors and the Northern Dales. Now in its 5th year, The Dales Divide was started by Chris Ellison, helped by Alex Pilkington, after Chris successfully rode the 2,700-mile Tour Divide Race in 2018 from Banff (Canada) to the Mexican border and Alex won the 900km Highland Trail Race in Scotland.
The event is free to riders however each rider, if they can, gives a small donation to ‘do good back’. This money is then distributed to good causes, causes that are linked to the area and to help communities through which the race passes through.
This year the Dales Divide is supporting, among others, the new charity Access the Dales, which is striving to improve disability access throughout the Yorkshire Dales by providing all-terrain wheelchairs for people to use in different locations in the National Park.
Debbie North, founder of Access the Dales gratefully received a donation of £1,500 from riders, , on behalf of the Dales Divide. She said, “It is an absolute delight to receive this money and it will be used towards the purchase of our next all-terrain wheelchair.” She will be in Arnside on 7th April to see the start of the race and will be cheering the cyclist on Easter Sunday as they pass through Northallerton. Chris Ellison said “we are delighted to be able to contribute to Access the Dales because though their enthusiasm and hard work, they share so many of our values of getting people out into the countryside to enjoy the exercise and mental wellbeing that comes from spending time on peaceful bridleways and green lanes, especially in the Yorkshire Dales.”
Like backpacking, bikepackers must carry sufficient equipment on their bikes to support themselves. That can mean a tent and sleeping bag, cold and wet weather clothing, bike repair tools, food, and lots of water, meaning that the bikes can soon become a lot heavier and a little cumbersome with bags strapped to them, all over them. It is a sport that can mean very long hours in the saddle and is enjoyed by men and women from all over the UK
For more details about the race, please visit their Facebook page www.DalesDivide.co.uk