The Route75km, 2200m of climbing, est. 5-6 hours of cycling time
Leaving the start at the Dog and Gun pub, it follows the gentle main road, slowly climbing up through Queensbury. Not the most scenic, but some good post-industrial landscapes of Bradford, and the York plain stretching out to the eastern horizon. This gives a chance for some easy riding before the first feature climb. This is The Shibden Wall, quite tricky, then followed by the under rated Trooper Lane on the steep hillside above Halifax. Back in to Halifax for the non-cobbled Gibbet Street climb. This overs a long gentle climb, before the steep drop into Luddenden. Old Lane is a fantastic little climb out of Luddenden ("Unsuitable for Motors"), which then continues before a drop down back to the Calder Valley. This is really the only bit of flat stuff in the morning's section.
Then we go up The Buttress. This is a challenging cobbled ascent out of Hebden Bridge. It might be optional as the bottom is very very challenging. From the top of the Buttress, it's a left then right to start the ascent up the Heptonstall Climb. This is a section high quality tourist pavé, which makes for a nice relief compared to the steeper, harder climbs of Shibden Wall and Trooper Lane. We then loop back down into Hebden Bridge.
The route then says farewell to the Calder Valley, before the long Category 2 climb to get us back to the Worth Valley. As a change from the short, sharp climbs, the this is a five mile continuous ascent from Hebden Bridge to Oxenhope. This is the closest the area has to an Alpine climb. It rises to well over 400m, with gradients sticking at a minimum of around 4%-6%, with some earlier sections a bit steep. At its worst, it is exposed to the winds, which came make it seem a lot harder than it is. This will take a good half hour of continuous up hill pedalling.
Back in to Oxenhope, there is the chance to head back up the Denholme road to the pub. This is a nice long climb, which ends with a summit finish at the pub.
The second half starts with around Haworth. The route starts by diving down to the station, along side the steam railway, and up the first cobbled climb of Butt Lane. This is a wide straight road, a reminder of the Edwardian heyday of the railway. Depending on how busy the village is, it may well be that we have to miss the longish set of well maintained cobbles in the the Main Street. It's best to do this early in the morning, at least, if you want to make any speed.
A punchy tarmacked climb up Tim Lane, follows a very sharp descent down Lord Lane; watch for the hairpin at the bottom, cutting out the old pack horse bridge. This is the Worth Valley!
The route then clips through Oakworth before heading out to Goose Eye. This is another nicely preserved industrial village. Pretty much as it was a couple of hundred years ago, except without the pollution. If we haven't had a café stop at Haworth, then the Turkey Inn would be a good place to stop. Again, no longer cobbled (traces in the gutters) a lovely ramp up to a couple of hair pins will make tired legs burn with delight. The route then loops down into Keighley, where the route picks up the only bit of flat cobbles, a reasonable section around the back of the railway station, before tackling the next two cobbled climbs. Both of these feature in the second edition of 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs. Maybe not as fierce as the early climbs, but your legs will be tired. These are long and unbroken. Thwaites Brow stands out, including the "alpine" switchbacks. It's not so well maintained as Hainworth Lane, but both are notable for the handrails to assist pedestrians.
Finally, the route dips back into Haworth before taking in the last 20+% climb and up a relatively under-used Strava segment, a good chance for a KoM on this one, if you have the legs! You are rewarded by the site of the pub at the top of the hill