Thanks go to David Bowie, from whom today’s headline is borrowed. I usually allow for the time of year and weather conditions you may encounter on a ride.

So in winter it’s generally a short low level ride, and in summer, perhaps longer and into the hills.

However, it occurred to me this month that maybe Spring was the time of year when non-cyclists may dust off their neglected machines and try a bike ride.

So I’ve picked a fine Spring day and gone for a gentle pootle, in the hope that it might inspire other budding cyclists to do the same.

The start today is at Rawcliffe Bar Park&Ride. From the P&R car park, find the flagged path at the rear of the office/toilet block and head away from the Shipton Road (A19).

This will take you through some trees, across a grid, and to a T-junction with the Sustrans cycle route (indicated by blue signage). Turn right here to head North, out of town. Approaching the A1237 which is raised above you, follow a (graffiti tagged) sign for Beningbrough left towards the river, and pass under the main road, to curve right again. Left at the next sign (still for Beningbrough) and through a gateway, to continue as before, parallel to the river.

At various points along this off-road section are sculptures and benches made from old agricultural machinery. Further on, we’ll even cross a miniature Forth Rail Bridge. Pay attention though, as it’s a shared path, and you’ll also encounter joggers, dog walkers and the occasional mum with push chair. Please treat other users with courtesy.

After half a mile of following the river off to the left, the path cuts to the right of some houses, and you’ll find a sculpture atop a long pole, depicting York as a planet with the Minster and other buildings in orbit around it. Well, that’s my interpretation anyway. Turn left here to pass in front of this terrace of houses, Rawcliffe Landing, and through a gateway ahead, to rejoin the river path.

The path ends at a T-junction with a small lane, marked with another sculpture. This time a cycling weather vane. Bear left, onto the single track road, (still signed for Beningbrough) and pass beneath the main east coast rail line. It’s nice and flat along here, as the route continues through the small hamlet of Overton, then crosses back over the railway line on a bridge.

You’ll see the main A19 road ahead, but don’t worry, as we bear left at a junction just in time to avoid it. Our route now runs quite close to the railway. Watch out for the old fashioned signals at The Sidings, a restaurant with rooms.

At a T-junction, turn left, over the railway, where the road curves to the right, roughly north again. Half a mile later, look for a junction to the left, and turn off here, following the blue Sustrans sign. In another mile, ignore a sign for Beningbrough (only) to the left. This goes only to the hamlet of Beningbrough, which is not our destination. Keep straight on for Beningbrough Hall.

Where the road bends right through 90 degrees, a gatehouse for Beningbrough Hall is now ahead of you. Go through the gates to find Home Farm Shop & Cafe off on the left.

The Hall runs an informal one way system for cars, so after a coffee, it’s best to retrace to the gatehouse and public road, where left, to continue as before, and a lovely narrow road into Newton on Ouse.

Pass some modern bungalows on the left to reach a T junction. Note the old Gothic style parish hall on your left here. Built in 1857 it was originally the village infants school and masters house. Turn left, still following Sustrans signs. Pass the village green, and Dawnay Arms, both on your left.

Leave Newton and continue towards Linton. Pass speed restriction signs approaching Linton, and look for the entrance to Linton Lock Marina & Camp site on the left. Turn in here onto a cinder & gravel track. Cross over a flood defence embankment and bear right through the car park.

Here you’ll find the Lock House, which is an excellent establishment; cafe at one end, pub at the other. I enjoyed a pint of Worthington and cheese salad sandwich in the sunshine, by the lock gates.

This isn’t a real ale pub as such, but trust me here, the beer is really nice. Maybe something to do with the bike ride in the sunshine?

David and Terri Hallaway, from the USA, had also ridden out from York that morning. I’d met them along the way and pointed them in the direction of the Lock House. Absolutely not beginners, as David says they have a shed load of bikes, back home in Rochester, Minnesota.

Retrace to Newton, where on passing the Dawnay Arms, turn right alongside (before) the village green.

We are heading back into the grounds of Beningbrough Hall. Ignore the Sustrans sign pointing towards York. Pass All Saints Church on the right, continue past a Dead End sign, and enter the Hall grounds through a double fronted gatehouse. Listen for any cars behind. The grass verge is wide and flat, so you can safely pull off if necessary.

Pass the Hall and then the cafe again on the right, to re-emerge at the gatehouse at the far end.

Retrace your earlier route as far as the rail bridge at Shipton. From here, you can simply retrace all the way to York, or do as I did and continue straight on from the bridge into Shipton village to meet the main A19 at a T-junction.

Go up onto the shared path to your left, then use the traffic island to cross the A19 safely to another shared path on the east side.

Left (north) for a few hundred yards through Shipton, to take a junction right, signed Wigginton.

The church of the Holy Evangelists (1849) is on the corner. In a mile and a half, right at a cross road to continue to Skelton. Look for the village green and St Giles Church (1247) on the right.

Continue through to meet the A19 again and cross at an island to follow single track road towards Overton.

In a few hundred yards, look for the cycling weather vane on your left, to rejoin the traffic free route back to York.

Date of Ride

Thursday 11 May 2017

The Map(s) Ordnance Survey Landranger No.100, Malton & Pickering, plus No.105, York & Selby The Cafe Home Farm Shop & Cafe, Beningbrough Hall YO30 1DB Tel: 01904 470562

The Pub The Lock House, Linton Lock Marina, Linton upon Ouse YO30 2AZ  Lunches served 11 till 3 except Mondays Tel. 01347 848844 

The Bike Classic 1971 Jack Taylor, Super Track model, built in Stockton on Tees.

Distance 21 miles

Car Parking Rawcliffe Bar, Park & Ride. Shipton Road, YORK YO30 5XZ (Free)