I AM very lucky to have an outdoorsy group of friends and we have many adventures walking, biking, wild swimming and running in the stunning countryside both on our doorstep in this region, and further afield.

Wisely, I am not usually trusted with the navigation on these expeditions, directions not being my strong point, but one thing I have learnt from many years of bitter experience, is their ability to hugely underestimate the distance or time likely to be involved. Ten mile walks magically become 15 to look at a particular view, or find a special swimming spot, or we end up climbing an extra couple of fells because "we might as well while we're here".

And so it was on the recent bank holiday weekend, when, mindful that a couple of us were running Northallerton 10k on the Sunday, we set out on a "short" six-mile walk from Reeth, with plans to have lunch at the Dales Bike Centre back in Fremington afterwards.

The Dales Bike Centre at Fremington, near Reeth

I'd heard mention of calling for a drink at the Red Lion at Langthwaite as well, which seemed like a long way if the route was really six miles, but I bowed to the knowledge of those more familiar with the terrain and off we went up Fremington Edge.

It was a stunning route, and we did indeed call at the Red Lion for shandies and crisps, served by the remarkable landlady Rowena Hutchinson, before largely following Arkle Beck through the meadows of Arkengarthdale back into Reeth. But it was not six miles. Our various trackers put it at more like ten-and-a-half, and by the time we got to the Bike Centre, it was closer to teatime than lunchtime. Thank goodness for the pockets full of Haribo sweets.

My last visit to the Bike Centre, which sits beside the B6270 at Fremington, between Grinton and Reeth, was ten years ago when the Grand Depart of the Tour de France memorably rode through Yorkshire, and a group of us camped there for the weekend to make the most of the festivities.

A decade on, the centre is much expanded, and clearly thriving, buzzing with activity from mountain bikers, road cyclists, walkers and day trippers.

The cafe, which opens out onto a patio area with lovely bi-fold doors, offers a terrific selection of homemade cakes, all-day breakfast items, sandwiches, paninis and jacket potatoes, plus several specials, catering for those in need of a quick refuelling stop, or those wanting a more substantial feed.

By the time we got there, we were frankly ravenous, and I wonder if perhaps my enjoyment of our lunch/tea was skewed by how hungry I was, but I can only speak as I find.

The mozarella, tomato and basil panini at the Dales Bike Centre

We joined the queue to order, and I went for the Yorkshire bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich in a baguette (£7.25), plus a slab of carrot cake (£2.90), and my sister Claire ordered a tomato, mozzarella and basil panini melt in a toasted ciabatta roll (£7.40). The others in our group went for soup of the day – curried coconut – (£5.45), pulled pork sandwiches (£6.95), plus various side orders of cakes and pasties (yes, I might have mentioned we had worked up an appetite).

An outstanding BLT in a baguette

My BLT came with crisps, great fresh salad garnish and coleslaw and was absolutely delicious – perfectly cooked bacon and a light but crusty baguette. Claire's panini went down just as well, with a hearty portion of filling and good quality sides, while the pulled pork sandwiches and soup were rated highly.

The carrot cake was a triumph – moist, fresh and with just the right amount of sweet icing. By the time we had devoured the lot, and drank two rounds of tea and coffee, we were ready to walk another ten miles (well, maybe not, but at least we had a decent chance of surviving the 10k run).

A slab of much-needed carrot cake at the Dales Bike Centre

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Service throughout was personable and fairly swift, given the bank holiday busyness of the place – clearly a team who know their jobs inside out.

For my sister and I, the bill came to £22.15 (our two sandwiches, one cake and two teas) – wonderful value for the quality of food.

I doubt I'll leave it another ten years to visit again, and next time I'm walking in the area I'll check the mileage myself. But other than the glorious scenery and the good company, my abiding memory of the day was the benefit of knowing that when you (eventually) cross the finish line, there's proper, hearty food like the kind served up at the Dales Bike Centre, waiting for you.

Dales Bike Centre Limited

Parks Barn, Fremington, Richmond, DL11 6AW

01748 884908


Open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 8 Surroundings 8 Service 8 Value 9