Ride to Café Ventoux – Sunday 16th October 2016

Ride Leader James Holden writes:

Departing Moulton Co-op (NN3 7TB), 9.30 am on Sunday, for around 60 miles in total.

Whilst this ride is probably at the more challenging end of the spectrum, the effort is well-rewarded with quiet roads, impressive scenery and, of course, my company. An added incentive is the fact that our lunch-stop – the renowned Café Ventoux in Tugby – serves a fine array of cakes, coffees and ultra thick sandwiches that will re-energise anyone with fading legs. They also stock the latest range of elite Boardman road bikes so the opportunity is there if you feel like draining the credit card and riding home on a different bike to the one you set out on…

The first leg of the ride takes us out through Old, Harrington and the outskirts of Desborough. We then follow the B669 towards Leicestershire and Stoke Albany, whilst all the time attempting to enjoy the increasingly ‘undulating’ scenery. It’s then on to Medbourne – where we link up with National Cycle Route 64 – and finally, Tugby where, after journeying along the delightfully named Crackbottle Road and crossing the A47 we arrive at Tugby Orchards, home of . Incidentally, the car park surface at Ventoux is laid out with the names of famous riders from the past. Yes, it’s a minor novelty but it does provide you with the chance to pretend you’re a proper Tour cyclist.

The return leg of our journey provides us with some proper Rutland hill climbing – most notably in the area around Goadby and Horse Hill. Still, what goes up must come down and there’s a rather exciting descent which a road sign marks out as nine percent. This section of the ride is notably quiet given that some of the lanes we follow are closed to motorised traffic. Heading back through pretty hamlets like Glooston, Cranoe and Welham, we cross the Harborough Road soon after Great Bowden. The imposing HMP Gartree appears on our left as we cycle on towards Lubenham before rejoining the Harborough Road near East Farndon. Turning left we head through the Oxendons and then Harrington before linking up with the familiar route back to Moulton via Old, Walgrave, etc..

I’ve ridden this route a couple of times and, aside from the fact that on the last occasion I tore a calf muscle climbing Horse Hill (editor’s note: don’t do this on Sunday), I’ve always found it to be thoroughly enjoyable. The hilly bits are manageable and there are plenty of shops and cafés along the way should anyone require any additional refreshment or oxygen. Assuming there aren’t any major mechanicals or incidents then I predict we’ll be back at Moulton at around four-ish.

Please note new mobile number    07841 933046

Ride report – Brisk ride to Ashby St Ledgers, Sat 8 Oct 2016

Philip Gray led this ride and writes:
Seven riders gathered at Brampton Valley Way on Saturday 8 October in crisp Autumn weather for a brisk ride to Ashby St Ledgers, which turned into something of an “adventure cross” ride – with an unexpected bonus at the end.

Familiar roads took us through Long Buckby, which was busy with other cyclists out enjoying the morning, then north-west to Yelvertoft, and sharp south to Crick, on mainly good roads. After crossing the A5 we wound into historic Ashby St Ledgers and saw the famous room where the Gunpowder Plot reputedly was hatched.

We then followed smaller unclassified roads from Welton to Norton, and the disintegrating road through Dodford Lodge Farm, which involves opening and closing four gates, then slithering along half a mile of deep gravel.

Phil and Milton found this more fun than they could bear, and left us at the A5, mumbling excuses about family engagements…🙂 The rest of us continued on the pretty but dodgy gated road through Brockhall, as it started to rain.

Pop-up Coffee

Pop-up Coffee

After a further challenging surface from Whilton, we reached Great Brington. Here by serendipity we noticed some bunting and a “Pop-Up Cafe – Cyclists Welcome” sign outside a house, and swiftly agreed to stop. We were received very warmly by the purveyors of Great Brington Coffee who were running this “pop-up cafe” in their garden in aid of Scope. Not only were the coffee and the cakes excellent, but we discovered a shared interest in cycling with other guests, including a group of young women cyclists .

After this well-timed stop, it was a short ride back through Althorp and Church Brampton to the star for a round trip of 38 miles.

Thanks all for your company.

PS I set off afterwards for an extra loop, only for my rear gear cable to snap after a couple of miles – which made for an interesting limp home, with only two gears… At least it didn’t happen on the ride!

Ride report – Sunday 2nd October

Phil J went on this ride led by Ian M and writes:

Seven riders assembled at Brampton Valley Way on a crisp sunny morning for Ian’s ride north to Kilworth.  Milton showed off his new Titanium tourer in stunning silver before we left.  Once we departed, the Brampton climb gave the group a heart thumping start to the morning before we settled into an easy pace.  With time on our side before the first café was due to open, we ambled along without any great urgency and everyone enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.

The first few miles towards Teeton really undulated.  One quick downhill followed by the uphill equivalent almost immediately keeping the ride interesting but the group together. Horses at the Teeton junction gave the group an impromptu stop before moving on through the village.  Milton tested the tourer on the downhills and it tested him on the uphills.

Creaton passed in a moment and it wasn’t long before we were meandering through the glorious Cottesbrooke estate anticipating the big climb at the end but Ian cleverly avoided that with a left turn through easier terrain.

Naseby beckoned and with a quick u-turn along the way the seven were back on track as we headed passed the majestic All Saints Church in all its splendour in the morning sun. Skirting the Cottesbrooke estate again gave us a bit of respite along flat roads that allowed the group to up the pace towards the first cafe stop at the World Peace Café at the Buddhist Centre.  Right on cue we arrived for elevenses in the tranquil setting with the sun shining perfectly.  Over tea and cake riders revealed how many bikes they owned.  Some going into double figures!

Leaving Kelmarsh there were six, with Milton going his own way home.  The rest of us doubled back and headed up the long haul to Sibbertoft and onto the Welford Road allowing the group to open up a bit on the open roads.  The gliding school alongside giving a lovely backdrop against the sunny skies.  Now Nick left us.  A perfect day for gliding and cycling for that matter!

At the next junction a plane flew low overhead towing a glider on a line on its way to the release altitude.  Perfect timing.

A country lane or two later we approached the urban road of North Kilworth before entering the more picturesque location of South Kilworth soon after and made our way swiftly through.  After Swinford we entered the impressive grounds of Stanford Hall. Roads that were made just for cycling through.  Just walkers and us.  Villages with names like Stanford-on-Avon and Clay Coton summed up the wonderful location we were riding in.  Purely Idyllic.

Wind turbines seemed visible from all angles in the distance and all moving steadily in the breeze.

The Red Lion at Crick was our next port of call and we were accommodated quickly by the friendly staff.  John Cuttler had ridden in and joined us for lunch too.  Roast dinners consumed and pints put away we were soon on our way again for the last leg of the ride.

Leaving Crick we headed for Watford – as in Gap not Watford Herts.  But not before long we were climbing into Long Buckby and out the other side.  A road closure some way along didn’t divert our ride and we breezed through it enjoying closed roads for a while.  Brington church then came into view and the mood changed with thoughts of the climb in mind.  Probably the hardest climb of the day was left to the end but everyone climbed admirably.  The long stretch at Church Brampton was the only rise left to do before turning back the way we had come and the finish at the Windhover.

A great days riding in perfect weather.

Thanks Ian.

Sunday 2nd October – A Kilworth Loop

Ian M, our Treasurer, is leading this ride and writes:

Start: 9.30 a.m.

Meeting point: Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road crossing, NN6 8AA – near “The Windhover”. There is a car park a short distance up Brampton Lane.

Distance: 48 miles

Pace: about 13 mph

Refreshments: Kelmarsh (15 miles) and Crick (35 miles)

This ride takes us through the north-west corner of Northamptonshire (and briefly into Leicestershire). We set off via Holdenby and then through Teeton, Creaton and Cottesbrooke to Naseby, the highest point of the day, and then via Haselbech to elevenses at the World Peace Café at Kelmarsh. We should be knocking on the Buddhists’ doors just before 11.00 a.m.

We go through Clipston and Sibbertoft before going briefly into Leicestershire and through the Kilworths (North and South). After Stanford Hall, we re-enter Northamptonshire and pass through Yelvertoft to our lunch stop at The Red Lion in Crick. The pub serves very reasonably priced roast dinners, other hot meals, ploughman’s lunches and sandwiches. (See their sample menu for Sundays.) We should be there at about 1.10 p.m.

After lunch, it’s just thirteen miles back to our meeting point, via Long Buckby and Althorn.  We should finish at about 3.15 p.m.

Insofar as one can rely on a weather forecast so far in advance, it may be light cloudy, with temperatures in the upper teens and a south-westerly wind.

The route is here on RideWithGPS.

All are welcome, especially newcomers. Any questions? Ian is on 07960 302095.

Sunday 04th September – Ride to Market Harborough

Apparently summer ends when August ends (let us hope the weather disagrees) so we return to an 09:30 start for this weekend’s ride out to Market Harborough.

The route is just over 50 miles in total and does feature a couple of hills, although we shouldn’t be climbing as much as on the last two rides, and we have two stops for recovery (Kelmarsh and Waterloo Farm).

If you plan on riding skinny tyres, make sure they’ve got plenty of air in them. Some of the tarmac is a little broken and some of the route* is best described as “pavé”. Don’t worry, we won’t be hurrying over this bit and your tyres will be fine so long as they’re properly inflated. MTB tyres will not be required.

The planned route is here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/16229338 although, as ever, the Leader reserves the right to amend it on the day if (s)he sees fit. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

At time of writing, the weather is forecast to be dry with not too much wind and temperatures in the high teens (60s in old temperature). Almost perfect conditions!

Hope to see you outside Moulton Co-op, 9.30 am on Sunday.

* northern-most section of the Brampton Valley Way, which is cobbles sprinkled with a little light gravel. No big rocks, no mud, no need for fat tyres.


Saturday morning rides – 27th August – A Report

Milton went out on Saturday and writes

Ten of us met up at East Hunsbury for James’s 40 mile tour through some of the more rural parts of western Northants to coffee at Daventry Country Park. Six opted for the brisk ride led, in the absence of James through injury, by Giles, and four for the moderate paced effort led by Iain. On a showery day, only once were we soaked, on the outward journey, and that was by a short sharp downpour around Preston Capes. As ever it took me until the shower was over and I was drenched to find and put on my waterproof jacket. Are there Di2 versions for the likes of me?

The brisk group kept up a fine spanking pace until Newnham hill when some of us came as close as it gets to a wheezing halt without actually falling off. Thank you Giles and Chris for waiting for us at the top – could you look a little more knackered next time?

We were soon safely seated at the country park and after about half an hour joined by the moderate group who had also had a pleasant time until the hill. Can’t it be levelled somehow?

Coffee and cake and bacon and egg butties (7/10 from Giles)  and the brisk group were off to battle home on the lovely route through Whilton, Great Brington, Upper Harlestone and down through Upton to the river and home. We were only caught by another shower just as we got to our homes, although I understand the moderate group had a bit of a dousing along the riverside.

Good to have Chris out for his third run and to see Hartley for the first time in a while. Iain D sported a new machine which, on passing Leisure Lakes Bikes, was taken in for some minor brake adjustment (as in “I had no brakes!”, which they sorted without quibble or charge despite me not having bought the bike from them! So many thanks to the staff there – Iain). How many people conspire to have a mechanical outside a bike shop?

Thank you leaders both –  Iain and Giles, and we look forward to Giles getting the promised reading glasses so that he can see his Garmin better, although, as he hasn’t a clue how to work it, I can’t imagine what difference it’ll make!

Saturday morning rides – 27th August

James has organised these rides and writes:

Start: 9.00 a.m.
Meeting point: East Hunsbury(Overslade Close, NN4 0RZ)
Distance: 42 miles (brisk), 36 miles (moderate)
Refreshments: Daventry Country Park Café – Reservoir Café
Leaders: James (brisk), Brian (moderate)

Saturday’s ride is a straightforward affair taking us through some of the more salubrious slices of our wonderful county – discounting Daventry, of course.  Heading out via Gayton, we will ride on through Bugbrooke, Nether Heyford, Upper Stowe, Farthingstone and Preston Capes.  No doubt the lactic will start to rise as we reach Newnham Hill but, given that we’re all in peak condition after a summer of high intensity training and disciplined eating, I can’t imagine this causing anyone the slightest discomfort …

We’ll then cycle through Daventry’s town centre as fast as is humanly possible before making our refreshment stop at the country park.  The café there serves a range of cyclist-friendly cakes and ale – well, coffee – and there’s normally ample seating available.  Once Giles has digested his pig sandwich we’ll head home through Whilton, the Bringtons, Kislingbury and Rothersthorpe.

The route is picturesque (for the most part) and the roads are in good condition. For anyone not comfortable with riding on the A425/Northern Way in Daventry (the area close to the country park) there are some good, well-maintained cycle paths you can follow.

The brisk route is here on RideWithGPS.

For those in the moderate pace group we will take a similar route to arrive at the coffee stop at the same time as the others.  There is also a slightly shorter route home.

More details of both the brisk and moderate rides from Brian on 01604 622073 or 07722 055149.

The Mildenhall Rally is also on the published programme as some of our members will be cycle camping at the event.