Time: 9.30 am Meeting point: Nene Whitewater Centre (Canoe Centre), Bedford Road, NN4 7AA Distance: 48 Miles Pace: Steady – Around 13mph Average Café stop: Bike Bus, Bourne End Expected back: Around 2.00 pm
This Sunday’s ride is from the Canoe Centre on Brackmills to Bourne End.
The route out is via Cogenhoe, Bozeat, Harrold, Turvey and to our cafe stop at Bourne End.
The Bike Bus seems to have been closed a few times recently, always, it felt, when we wanted to drop in there. Brian’s ride (which this is a repeat of) in June found it closed, and we ended up detouring and stopping in Cranfield instead. It looks like it’s open this weekend, however. I hope.
Return route is via Chicheley, Olney and Castle Ashby.
As usual it is very helpful for our planning to follow this link to book a place on Signup: Group rides
Look forward to seeing you all as usual, and we are especially happy to welcome any new riders joining us.
Time: 9.30 am Meeting point: East Hunsbury – Overslade Close, near Hunsbury Hill Library, NN4 0RZ Distance: 39 miles Brisk, 35 miles Moderate Pace: 14+ mph Brisk, 12 mph Moderate Café: The Forge Café, Culworth Expected back: Around 1.00pm
This Saturday’s Brisk and Moderate rides are to Culworth, with our Café stop at the Forge there. The weather forecast is pleasant at the moment. We will meet near the Library in East Hunsbury at the usual time of 9.30. The route to Culworth will take us to the West of Northampton, following the pleasant roads through Pattishall, Maidford, Canons Ashby and to our café stop at Culworth, with the return leg via Greens Norton and Tiffield. The Brisk route adds an extra four miles to give the Moderates enough time to get the tables first and have their pick of the cake and sausage rolls.
As usual, it’s really helpful to use this link to the Signup Genius App if you want to join the ride – look forward to seeing you.
Another breezy day in the saddle for our ride through Naseby which included new rider Dave Anderson. Please make Dave feel welcome the next time you see him.
The ride was full of highs and lows. The highs were the lows, and the lows were high as PeteB decided to reverse engineer the main loop from Brixworth to Naseby to go in the opposite direction to account for the rearranged venue at the Buddhist Centre at Thornby Hall. It certainly puts a different perspective on any ride going in the opposite direction! You see things that you’ve missed on previous occasions.
The wind played its part in making all the climbs more challenging today, but we ticked them off slowly through the Bramptons and Pitsford to begin with. Recovering nicely through the Cottesbrooke estate, a lone rider approached from the other direction. It was our very own Chris Holt clearly doing the ride in the right direction!
There’s a rapid descent over the estate, which Chris would probably have done, and we were now rather fearing the climb up the 15% rise often used as QoM/KoM section on professional rides. Support came halfway up in the form of an elderly couple out walking, ensuring we didn’t stop until we got to the summit. ChrisD attended to a chain malfunction at the top before we all regrouped outside St Michaels church in Haselbech. The hands of the church clock were incorrectly showing midday when we got there but given our speed over the windy hills that would have been understandable.
Dropping into Naseby we swept by the Old Vicarage this time and headed for Thornby Hall instead. Cold Ashby turned cold as the sun went in whilst the wind got stronger on the run in to our cafe stop at the Nagarjuna Kadampa Meditation Centre.
The karma was calming, and the food and service matched it. JohnW also joined us there having been to the Old Vicarage first. As we were leaving the centre BrianT hatched an audacious plan to get us back to the Bramptons without encountering some of the exhausting elevation on my original route. At Teeton the diversion was followed by a gear cable snapping on JohnW’s bike. Concidence or not? Anway, once repaired John soon smelt more coffee at Brixworth and left us heading back to the Bramptons and back on the original route.
Back in Duston, BrianH expertly guided us around the roadworks he had informed me about and then departed for his own Duston home leaving five riders to complete the route.
Not as brutal a ride as it once was, and I think we’ll keep this version for future rides.
Thanks to everyone who came out today and your assistance with the navigation.
Start time: 9.30am Meeting point: TGI Friday’s, Sixfields, Northampton NN5 4EG Distance: 38 miles Refreshment Stop: The Old Vicarage Café, Naseby Pace: Steady
Next Sunday’s ride heads over to Naseby.
The village sits in a commanding position on one of the highest parts of the Northamptonshire Uplands, close to the county border with Leicestershire.
This is quite an ‘up and down’ ride with some long climbs and fast descents as reward.
From Sixfields, The Brampton’s is the first test of our legs followed by the dip at Pitsford, the long haul to Spratton and then Teeton along the way. The road to Cold Ashby affords us some active recovery before the run in to Naseby and the Old Vicarage Café opposite All Saints Church. Most of you will have been here once or twice and know how great the food and service is from the ladies who run it so well.
The loop continues through Haselbech and the Cottesbrooke estate comprising of more elevation. With just enough time to get your breath back, the inevitable climb back into Brixworth awaits before our arrival back at Pitsford puts us on the route out which continues through the Brampton’s again. A different route at Harlestone for the last couple of miles home completes our ride into Sixfields.
This route is short of 40 miles so not on par with most of our Sunday rides but there’s enough climbing to contend with you’ll feel like you’ve been further!
As a last minute choice of venue, the Barn Farm Plants Garden Centre isn’t a bad one. Just make sure HS2 isn’t going to get in your way and spoil the party. A quartet of riders joined me on this quickly arranged ride to the village of Upper Wardington, just outside Banbury. BrianT, BrianH, JohnW and GaryH assembled in gloomy and unpredictable weather conditions this morning.
For a guaranteed heart thumping start to any ride, just go down and up Banbury lane to the A5, you won’t regret it! After a quick recovery of sorts, Canons Ashby and Moreton Pinkney then flew by. Not least because we were all shifting at a good pace with heart rates restored! Around Sulgrave, JohnW has hoping to go to Culworth for coffee but his hopes were quickly dashed by the others. Towards Thorpe Mandeville where a HS2 site is in operation we simply went through unimpeded. Shortly after, the tricky right turn as you enter Thorpe Mandeville still causes confusion but soon we were almost off-roading it for a little while on the broken tarmac towards our destination.
Back on decent tarmac, a swift run down in to the village was a welcome end to the outward journey and John could finally smell the coffee. Right on eleven o’clock we dined outside in a rather windswept area of the Greenhouse café. GaryH succumbed to my beans on toast regime whilst BrianT’s bacon and banana bread with yoghurt and maple syrup sounded quite exotic! The service was second to none.
On leaving the Greenhouse café we found our way to Cropredy passing the quaintly named ‘Cup and Saucer’ road along the way. JohnW then had a simple helmet malfunction to address before we regained our momentum through the village. At Appletree a familiar road closure for HS2 forced us to rethink again and after some deliberation of various options, pretty much decided to follow the yellow diversion signs with GaryH ensuring we were getting back on track. Or was it off track?
Anyway, we approached West Farndon from the opposite direction and headed for Woodford Halse. The ride wasn’t without its fair share of breeze today, usually whilst riding uphill, and that included the climb just outside Woodford towards Adstone. Some miles on another crossing of the A5 and a different way home through Eastcote and Gayton. BrianH suggesting we had now climbed above and beyond on this undulating course.
It was a slightly longer than expected ride today due to our HS2 diversion but on the plus side we avoided any rain and did have some sunshine at times.
Thanks to everyone who came out today and for your assistance with the navigation.
A trio of seriously looking riders joined me at Sixfields on this rescheduled ride to Draycote Water. PeteB, PeteS and ChrisD all undeterred by the lack of the promised foie gras on the original menu. Chris was hoping for a 2pm return and as it happened we didn’t disappoint.
A steady pace out with some easy elevation quite in contrast to the return journey. Cloudy skies and breezy conditions providing the perfect temperature for the ride. The gated road at Norton was easily navigated despite the usual mix of gravel and cattle grids. The drop into Welton from the highest point on the ride is then a gentle reminder of the climb you’ll be doing on the way back! The scenic views along to Welton are always a pleasure and once through Barby, it isn’t long before the Dunchurch signs appear at the swift left hander which catapults you towards the village.
A busy Draycote greeted us with barely a seat on the balcony. But the guys were quick to put their helmets on the only free table available whilst we queued for food and drink. The jam and cream scones were being snapped up quickly but Chris had other plans anyway. With little encouragement we all doubled up with bacon or sausage rolls and scones or flapjacks. PeteS apparently eating his in reverse order. All of it ideal preparation for the extra climbs coming up. Conscious of Chris’s date with the Derry Girls at 2pm, we left Draycote and headed home.
At Grandborough PeteS and I discussed the size of the Draycote scones in detail. The conclusion being that they’re definitely smaller than they used to be. Anyway, there’s two quick climbs in and out of Braunston on the way home including one past Bragborough Hall to get the heart pumping. The return back up to the highest point follows soon after with the pace increasing to brisk steady once we conquered it.
Another short climb just approaching Nether Heyford completed the lung busters for the day. We pushed on through Bugbrooke and with all four riders resident in Hunsbury we diverted the ride off course at Kislinbury straight back to Hunsbury Meadows where we parted. All done by 2pm.
Great riding from everyone today, thanks for joining me.
Next Sundays ride was going to be stopping at the newly refurbished White Lion in Radford Semele which we visited three years ago on the day that it closed. Unfortunately its re-opened as a gastropub. The menu is far too high end for us. Hors d’oeuvres and fancy wines just isn’t our bag and it probably wouldn’t fuel us home very well either. You wouldn’t be getting much change out of £20 for the food alone!
Instead we’ll head in the same direction to Draycote Water just outside Dunchurch. We haven’t visited the Waterside Restaurant for some time. In fact according to the blog entry, the last ride there, we were deeply in Covid times. Added to that, we simply skirted the perimeter the last time we were in Dunchurch having used the Solstice café instead. There’s no running festival this Sunday at Draycote so we won’t be competing with any runners for the finish line as we did previously.
The route is a familiar one. Through Whilton Locks, Welton, Barby and Dunchurch. The return is through Grandborough, Willoughby, Braunston and Norton.
All things considered this ride seemed easy and quite breezy!
PeteB had shortened the length of both routes and included just one notable climb on our moderate route this morning. The brisks probably didn’t agree, with their extra climbs and extra mileage as the thermostat climbed ever higher. Otavio bravely joined the brisks sporting his new Italian Bottecchia aero superbike. Miriam and Philip joined at Gayton making it four riders in each group.
The welcome breeze kept us surprisingly cool along the way along with regular drink stops roadside. Enjoying the easy pace, we got on to the subject of mindful riding. Being in the moment. Ignoring speed and distance and enjoying the ride for what it was. Miriam was right on it and could have wrote the book. We enjoyed the ride, the company and just being outdoors.
Farthingstone hill was our only real challenge today. But the dust cloud from the tractor in the adjacent field made it a little more difficult to breathe in sufficient air for the effort up the rise. PeteB even suggesting that he was holding his breath part way up!
Once at the summit, the stunning views are the reward along the plateau to the dairy farm café. It didn’t seem too busy as we arrived but that was because most customers were inside the café enjoying the cooler temperatures. Only mad dogs and us were prepared to sit outside in what was now sweltering heat. Parasols went up immediately in an attempt to find any shade.
The brisks arrived shortly after with Otavio holding on admirably. The service at the dairy farm was up to the usual high standard as was the food and drink. Otavio then joined the moderates for the last leg home having earned an easier ride on the ride out with the brisks. The aero bike having done its job!
It’s not often we have an easier than usual ride but today was just that. Most welcome in the extreme heat we are experiencing.
Thanks to Pete for leading the ride and all who came out on this hot Summer’s day.