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Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goat rides are mixed ability, social rides for members who enjoy the challenge/fun of cycling hillier rides. E-bikes are welcome. Speed is always difficult to estimate.

Our rides are not fast rides because of the hills involved so we plan timings based on a 10 mph average Saturday rides vary between 35 to 50 miles, and sometimes in the summer we will do some longer rides or plan away days to tackle some of the special Yorkshire climbs. Midweek rides (usually on Thursdays) tend to be shorter – 25-30 miles. Start times and location vary so check ride detail carefully.

We have two really simple rules that help to make our rides fun for everyone:

  • The first to the top of the hill gets to take photos of the beautiful views for the rest of us to enjoy later.
  • No moaning about the hills, the route, the café, the other riders…just chill and enjoy being out on your bike!

Will I be fit enough?

If you are a complete beginner, then you may find these rides too challenging. You should be able to complete 10 hilly miles without needing to stop and can try the following 10.9-mile, hilly circuit on the Chevin, close to Otley, to test yourself. You'll be very pleased to note the route doesn't involve East Chevin Road.

Speed is always difficult to estimate. Our rides are not fast because of the hills involved so we plan timings based on a 10 mph average but that can be 30mph downhill and 3 mph on a steep climb! Our faster riders go ahead on the big climbs and wait at the top, taking photos and encouraging the rest of us.

If you are not sure if you are fit enough then come along on a ride where you know how to get back home so that you can choose to return early if it feels too much for you at the moment, this is totally fine!

If the hill is too steep and you need to pause for a few moments, then this can be all you need to complete the climb and very occasionally you may need to walk up the steeper part and that is fine too.

Is there a coffee stop?

Always! The mountain goat rides are social rides.

Where do you ride?

We have a huge collection of rides on the club website Ride with GPS link which can be found using “OCC MG” prefix. A good mountain goat route will involve plenty of hills, including the occasional pointless hill climb, take you on tiny back roads that you did not know existed, m Make use of car free tracks – e.g., the Cullingworth and Thornton Railway viaducts, the Harrogate Greenway and sections of the Canal and provide spectacular and unexpected views!

Who leads the goat rides?

Club members offer to “host” rather than lead a ride which means that they plan and post a route and café stop on the Ride App and help us get moving safely together on the day, but we all take shared responsibility for the ride. We hope that everyone who rides with us will at some point take a turn in hosting a ride, that way we keep the rides fresh and interesting.

How large are the groups?

The maximum group size is 8 people, as we do not feel one ride host should have to cope with a group larger than this and the narrow roads and hills are best for smaller groups.

Who joins the goat rides?

We have a mix of genders, ages and abilities and we welcome riders with E-bikes. What we have in common is a shared love for hills, for pretty back roads and for being in a socially supportive group experience.

How do I know what is happening?

Our rides should be listed on the Rides App. To check for up-to-date information, consider joining a message forum, such as the Otley Cycle Club Members Group page on Facebook or email / WhatsApp fellow riders.

The Hill Climb Competition

We started this during lockdown when we could only ride local routes on our own or in a household. Each month there are 3 hill climbs nominated and the first person to complete all 3 wins the competition and gets to set the challenge for the next month.

We do not record timings and you can do the climbs on 3 days or combine them all in one ride. The list of hills is on our shared Google document, and you just sign your name when you complete each of the climbs.