You can’t leave that there son…

Posted by on 22, Oct 2023 in 2023 - Sicily and Italy, Europe, Tilly the Tandem, UK, Western Europe

You can’t leave that there son…
Tilly the terrorist
Our saviour…
The cycle path crosses York racecourse…wouldn’t want to do that on race day !
Back in the northern canals
Bradford town hall
Impossible to get through without removing our rear handlebars ☹️
Sheffield town square

York Minster, probably the busiest Cathedral we’ve arrived at. York is permanently heaving with tourists and the queues to get in wound across the road.

We parked Tilly up outside the disabled slope and I went and asked the ticket girl controlling the queue where we could leave Tilly.

She was completely thrown by this, but to her great credit she really tried to help, but couldn’t. She was told on her radio we couldn’t leave Tilly anywhere near the Cathedral. We could leave it in the bike racks in town, which would at least mean we could then get the train home as she definitely wouldn’t be there when we got back.

I ask her to get a manager, who said the same and then the police turned up. Where can we leave it I asked? ” Well, you can’t leave it there” was the best I got. Again he was quite nice about it, but kept saying the Minster was a high risk Terrorist target and we could get an awful lot of explosive into the panniers, so she couldnt be brought inside or left there as it was a major security risk.

I’d don’t really get this, surely a terrorist could have left it there and set it off there and then. What made it worse was they said if we’d contacted them they could have arranged to put it in the staff car park. But they couldn’t do this now. Why?

So we asked to see the cycling champion – which every cathedral should have. They didn’t. Presumably he quit as he couldn’t park his bike near by.

So we asked to see whoever was in charge at the Cathedral that day and hey presto, the lovely Dean turned up, walked us down to the left luggage store in town, which made Harry Potter’s understair cupboard look big, and sweet talked them into storing our bicycle and panniers free and completely blocking up their building.

He then gave us a private escorted tour of the Cathedral including into the chapter house which was closed and told us all sorts of stories about the cathedral. Including showing us where Peter Tatchell accosted the Archbishop, when he was preaching, about the churches attitude to gay people. Our guide was very pro Peter! He also revelled in the story of the first woman being ordained in the cathedral and a dinosaur of a priest standing up to object and being told in no uncertain terms to sit down and shut up! We loved him! By the time our tour had finished and we’d squeezed Tilly out of the storage place, it was again peeing down so we holed up in a vegetarian friendly chippy in the hope it would ease up…it didn’ it was a very wet 15 km ride onto our hotel that night…

Our next stop was in Leeds which was another party central city with some lovely buildings and were asked by more than one person if we were going to visit the Catehdral there. Strangely, although the Bishops seat is there, it doesn’t have a cathedral with that being located at the much smaller Ripon. We also met Imran, a extremely interesting and nice guy who had cycled all over the world. He’d even cycled up the steepest hill in the world in NZ at 38%! With panniers !Incredible and the video on YouTube is well worth a look.

Our next Cathedral was Bradford and to be honest we weren’t really looking forward to Bradford, lots of hills to get there and the city itself doesn’t have the appeal that say Paris would, but when we arrived we were really impressed. The Cathedral was another promoted Parish church, but if Disney had to design a small Cathedral, then this would be it. We really enjoyed looking around and the city itself was also very impressive with its imposing buildings in Little Germany to an amazing town hall and square. Despite the rain people were thronging there and enjoying the view and the fountains. Hardly lot up north that when it’s freezing cold and raining your kids still go off and play in the fountains …

Sadly this area is a real nightmare for a tandem. There are loads of great cycle routes and we followed lots of the Trans Pennine Trail or Trial as we came to call it. It just has hundreds of those narrow topped cycle barriers that stop us getting Tilly’s rear handle bars through without removing them. The best cycle accessory for here is a battery angle grinder and when we exited yet another of these barriers to find some throughtless idiot had parked their car on the dropped curb adjacent to it and we couldn’t get Tilly around without hitting the car, she was just too long to turn. So unfortunately (!) Tilly left her signature on the paint work. Maybe they’ll think twice before parking that way again.

We’d not cycle here again, the hills are fine, but you really lose your mojo if you’re constantly off and on the bike, taking panniers or handlebars off and on and it really really slows you down and isn’t much fun.

Whilst there are still loads of these anti cyclist cycle barriers this area undoubtedly had the highest ratio of them per km and it didn’t look like they were being removed – unlike elsewhere as they are now considered by Sustrans and The River Trust to be illegal and discriminatory as they prevent various users from accessing the path.

These lovely barriers accompanied us all the way down to Sheffield our next Cathedral where Tilly again was invited inside. That’s a hilly town! Naturally our accommodation was on one hill the other side of the main town and even the walk from one to the other was like mountaineering!

Again though, the town hall was magnificent, though the city itself didn’t quite live up to that.

With the weather turning warmer we decided to camp again and had a fab night on a small quiet camp site and woke up to thick fog!


  1. When I lived in Bradford I didn’t really like it much but I would still defend it folk who knocked it. So happy to read you thought it was ok.

  2. You really should make these blogs into a book more people need to enjoy them ????

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