Iain Dawson led this ride and writes:
With the unseasonably clement weather we’ve been having, it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see a couple of new faces at Hunsbury Hill but I wasn’t expecting five non-regulars to turn up, four of whom have never ridden with us before!
We left Hunsbury Hill more or less on time and the group split on the climb up to Milton Malsor with one of our newcomers deciding that country jaunts weren’t her thing yet. As she lived not far from our start and was used to cycling round town she elected to return before she was committed, as it were. Disappointing, but she did make the effort.
Further on, we discovered the reason for another of our group’s lack of pace – the bike was stuck in granny ring. Some swift maintenance courtesy of Mike Hart (and some air in the back tyre) and pace became less of an issue.
Chris Willey left us at Bugbrooke to go off and cook dinner.
And then there were eight, although, sadly, we said goodbye to another of our group in Nether Heyford, this new rider claiming to have overestimated their abilities and wanting to ease their way back home (not far) at their own pace. As you can imagine, spirits were not high at this point but both riders who left the group did so after consultation with some of the more experienced riders, and with the offer of an escort and assistance if they hit any problems. Thanks, guys!
The remaining seven made it on to Flore with no problems although, after Bill was discussing p*nct*re repairs over coffee, the inevitable happened on the return leg – Mike had to keep stopping to reinflate his tyre. The return route was adjusted to keep it as flat as possible for our newcomers so we ended-up passing the Cobblers’ stadium just after chucking-out time. We had to navigate our way round cars being driven up the wrong side of the road to get out the car park(!) but that just added more interest to the ride. We finally made it back to Hunsbury Hill just after 5.30 pm (I had promised we’d be back 5.30 latest) but those of us who made it seemed to enjoy it.
I did check with the two newcomers who’d left early – both got home safely and both were glad they’d tried the experience so not a total loss. Ahem. And I’m hopeful that we’ll see one, maybe two, of these riders again.
I am grateful to the regulars who made it out to Hunsbury Hill to swell the ranks and provide assistance and guidance: Chris, Mike, David and Bill all of whom did a sterling job keeping spirits up and ensuring the group felt happy and comfortable (although the sight of a girl on a mountain bike trying to keep up with Bill on a dual carriageway will live with me for a long, long time).
Footnote from your blogger:
I’m one of the few Cobblers season-ticket holders who travels to matches on a bike (a folding Brompton). No jokes, please, about there being plenty of room in the stands for folding bikes because attendances are so low.
So it was “Chucking out time” – and you didn’t pause to commiserate with me? Cobblers had just lost 1 – 2 to Port Vale.