Ascend the mountain before a glorious descent down Sticks Pass
There’s something dramatic about starting out from one of the largest lakes in the Lake District, looking upwards at mountains thrusting their way into the sky abruptly from the deep water.
Helvellyn is the third highest peak in the Lakes, but it’s the most rewarding to ride, and this route combines ascending the mountain with a glorious descent down Sticks Pass.
The route begins in the National Trust car park in Glenridding, cutting south-west along a climb that starts out gentle and becomes increasingly steep, rocky and technical. It’s wet here even in summer, so you will likely see the bike on your back after Ruthwaite Lodge.
Picking up the Helvellyn ridge at Dollywagon Pike, you’ll then stay high along Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn, Lower Man and Raise, always keeping the steep, precipitous crags to your right and the grassy hillside to your left.
Off the top of Raise is where the fun begins and some fast, open turns lead to the singletrack below. Smooth, sweeping corners are interspersed with rock gardens and numerous streams. The fast, smooth ride becomes more technical lower down, with a lot of loose boulders littering the trail, but it’s great fun and very rewarding.
Along the course of this ride you’ll ascend more than 3,100ft, so it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted and is one that’s best avoided in uncertain weather conditions. Make sure you’re prepared, be careful, and don’t take any unnecessary risks — but be safe in the knowledge that, if you can handle it, this is one of the greatest rides England has to offer.