THIS month’s route is one for the family, or to share with your (otherwise) non-cycling partner.

It’s short and it’s flat and there’s plenty of opportunity for refreshments of various kinds along the way.

My main objective was to visit York Cycle Rally, and to arrive, appropriately, by bike. However, you can follow this route at any other time Many cyclists will remember the York Rally, an annual, weekend-long event, promoted by the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) since 1945.

Held on York racecourse over the third weekend in June each year, it was very popular in the 1980s when I regularly visited with my young family. I particularly remember camping on the Knavesmire and participating in the grass track racing.

The rally suffered badly from several years of poor weather which deterred visitors and exhibitors alike. This eventually resulted in its cancellation, with 2012 being the last event.

This year, a group of volunteers re-launched the rally, so on Sunday, June 21, I decided to go along and see how they’d done. Two bikes loaded in the car, we made our way to Rawcliffe Bar Park and Ride on the northern outskirts of York. I’m accompanied by wife Yvonne, on the strict understanding that we abandon if it rains.

Yvonne has been to the rally before, so she knows the drill and gets togged up in fleecy jacket and full finger gloves, even though it’s a bright and dry morning.

From the park and ride office, follow the path that runs away from the A19 at right angles (direction west) and which takes you down towards the River Ouse. Through a gateway to meet the Sustrans route No.65 at a T-junction. Take the left, signed City Centre 2¾. This area is known as Rawcliffe Meadows. We’ll take a closer look on the return journey.

There are a few gates along this part, and some mini cattle grids. The bars of the grids are quite widely spaced. If you are confident to take these at about 12mph you’ll be fine. Otherwise, those of a nervous disposition (or small children) should dismount and walk their bike through the gates. The path becomes well surfaced and emerges onto an area of land known as Clifton Ings, a wide grassed floodplain.

Apparently used as a racecourse in the 18th century. To your left you may notice a church spire. This is the chapel at Clifton Park Hospital, originally opened as The North Riding Asylum in 1847. My reproduction O.S. map from 1924 still bears the legend Lunatic Asylum. No political correctness in the 1920s then.

Across Clifton Ings, you approach an earth bank being part of the flood defence system. The Tarmac cycle path takes this in gentle manner, by swinging first left then right to reach the top. Go beneath the concrete Clifton Bridge across the Ouse, and pause at the Sustrans sign beyond. You are at the lower end of a small slip-way, which gave access the original ferry, pre-dating the bridge which was built in the 1960s. Continue towards the city centre, taking care now as pedestrians become more numerous.

We now reach Scarborough Bridge, so named as it carries the railway line from York to Scarborough. We will be crossing the bridge on foot, but if you, or the kids, fancy an ice cream first; go straight on towards Lendal Bridge in the distance (about ¼ mile and passing Museum Gardens on your left) to where you’ll find the Full Moo ice cream barge.

Retrace to the railway bridge and carry your bike up the steps and across to the other (south) side of the Ouse. Continue again towards Lendal Bridge, taking care to give way to any members of York Rowing Club. Various boathouses are situated on this part of the riverbank, and the York City Summer Regatta was in full swing on the day we passed.

Almost under the arches of Lendal Bridge, we find the Perky Peacock cafe handy for a sit down. Continue under the bridge and forwards onto what becomes North Street, meeting Micklegate at traffic lights. Over the cross roads onto Skeldergate and passing various new apartments, watch for the small fork off to the left (going under a pedestrian bridge). Follow this and pass beneath Skeldergate Bridge.

You are now on a wide path beside the river. However, it’s not actually a path, as it’s open to motor cars as far as a caravan site which is ahead to the right. So do watch out for occasional traffic.

Beyond the camp site entrance the path is quieter. Follow the marked route around to the right of the Millennium Bridge (the shorter route straight on is pedestrian only). Re-join the river bank path beyond and shortly the route takes a sharp turn right, uphill, away from the river. Engage low gear now. Emerge at the top onto Bishopthorpe Road, outside what was once the Terry’s chocolate factory; now offices and apartments.

The factory was in operation from 1926 until 2005. Built in Art Deco style, it was used during the Second World War to manufacture aircraft propeller blades. Left on the path for a few yards, then cross the road, and the route enters the confines of the Knavesmire racecourse.

This was the location for the (free) rally, where we watched some children’s races, viewed various manufacturers’ stalls, and I had a go on a three-wheeler recumbent.

At any other time of the year, the marked Sustrans route continues along the perimeter of the racecourse in the direction of Selby, with plenty of places to enjoy a packed lunch, alfresco. The return journey to Rawcliffe Bar is a simple matter of retracing, but I’ll add in a few new points of interest along the way.

When you reach Skeldergate Bridge (the first road bridge you come to) you might take a short diversion left to join Bishopgate Street, where you’ll find the excellent Swan pub, only a block away. Another block further, and you’ll find a similarly excellent bike shop, Cycle Heaven.

Returning to the riverside path, and retracing back through town, to leave the built up area behind you, make one final stop where the open spaces of Clifton Ings start to close in again. This more vegetated area is Rawcliffe Meadows, and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Look for a small pond and Interpretation Board, to your right, just through one of the many gates. Finally, retrace to the car park.

The map: Ordnance Survey Landranger. Number 105 York & Selby

The Pub: The Swan, 16 Bishopgate Street, York, YO23 1JH Tel. 01904 634968

The Bike Shop: Cycle Heaven, 2 Bishopthorpe Road, York, YO23 1JJ. 01904 636578

Cafe: Perky Peacock Coffee Shop, Wellington Row, York, YO1 6HU (under south end of Lendal Bridge)

The Bike: 2003 Cannondale Bad Boy. Running on 1.5” slicks.

Distance: 10 miles.

Car park: Rawcliffe Bar Park & Ride, Shipton Road, Yrok YO30 5XZ (free)