Events in April

Sunday 1st April – Day ride to Dunchurch & Draycote Water

Meet 9.30 a.m. at “The Windhover”.  50 miles.  Stops at Whilton Locks (elevenses) and Grandborough (lunch).  Leader Philip Gray (01604720522)

Saturday 7th April – Brisk morning ride encircling Northampton

Meet 9.30 a.m. at “The Windhover”.  35 miles.  Elevenses at Salcey Forest.  Return by lunch.  Leader Phil Letts (07707 118389)

Saturday 21st April – Leisurely ride exploring “Connect-2”

Meet 2.00 p.m. at the Canoe Centre, Bedford Road.  15 miles.  Leader Iain Dawson (07909 992468)


Sunday 1st April – Ride to Dunchurch & Draycote Water

Philip Gray, our Chairman, writes:

This Sunday’s ride is a 50-mile, medium-paced ride into Warwickshire, to check the levels at Draycote Water – where we should see some sailors if there is any wet stuff left … !

There will be a teastop at Whilton Locks Garden Centre and lunch at a pub near Draycote.

Meet at the Brampton Valley Way, Welford Road crossing (near “The Windhover”), at 9.30am.

The current weather forecast for the weekend is a few degrees cooler – but still no rain …!  Hope to see you then!

Philip can be contacted on 01604 720522.

Ride report – Saturday 24th March

Chris went on this ride to Maidwell and writes:

Thank you, Brian, for a pleasant pootle around the environs of North Northants., if that is not tautology?  Wasn’t the Brampton Valley Way dry & dusty? Combined with the sight of Pitsford Reservoir so low, we are in for a drought summer, if our wonderful weather can be relied on.

Peter adds:

And thank you from me, too! Apologies for cutting out towards Holcot – legs getting wobbly, and time getting on. But what a wonderful day!!  Pitsford Reservoir certainly looks far too empty!

Report on Audax at Stevenage – Sunday 25th March

Ian Macsporran took part in this event and writes:

I was tempted by Iain Dawson’s report last July – about how good Stevenage & South Hertfordshire CTC’s ride was when we were invited as a group over for a Sunday ride – to enter Sunday’s SSOSS Audax.  [SSOSS = Stevenage Start Of Summertime Special]

It was really enjoyable!  I chose the shortest of the three routes (62k) – there were 110k and 200k routes as well.  It was a very interesting rural route to the east of Stevenage with plenty of ups and downs.  The printed route directions were excellent.  We began and finished at Fairlands Valley Park (which, for early morning arrival, is well signposted from the main roads in Stevenage).  The checkpoints were well chosen: the first was outside a café which served all day breakfasts – and the second was at a village hall which served home-made sandwiches and cakes.

Everyone – the volunteers at the start/finish and at the checkpoints, and all my fellow riders – was very friendly.  And, of course, it was a glorious weather all day!

My route is here at Endomondo – – if you want to see it.

And, no wonder that Stevenage CTC is Group of the Year.  Paul Boielle, the organiser, told me that they had over 600 riders on the three routes!

I’ll be looking out for Stevenage’s End of Summertime Audax – the Emitremmus!

Saturday afternoon ride to Maidwell – 24th March

This ride on 24th March starts at 2.00 p.m. near “The Windhover” at the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) (map ref SP 736 653).  Brian leads this ride and writes:
This is a ride of 18 miles.  The first part of the route is mainly on road through Pitsford, Brixworth, Scaldwell, Lamport and on to Draughton where we will join the BVW near Maidwell. The first section has a few hills as we climb out of the valley up to Brixworth but when we get to Maidwell it’s all downhill back to the start point (where we will probably stop for tea).
The roads are generally quiet although there will be traffic through Brixworth. BVW is a gravel surface as is the short path around the end of Pitsford reservoir.
More details from Brian on 01604 622073 or 07722 055149 on the day.

Ride Report – Youth Hostelling weekend, 10th & 11th March

David went on this ride and writes:


We started out from Sixfields Football Stadium about 10 a.m.  It was overcast and coldish.  The first stop at Catthorpe was reached at 11.30 a.m.  Further north we cycled through Kirby Mallory and then Market Bosworth was a welcome break for me, having run out of water.  The cafe was hidden at the end of a courtyard.

Our destination – the National Forest YH at Moira, Derbyshire – was reached at 5.00 p.m.  Tired, an eco-shower was appreciated followed by a rest in front of the TV (Six Nations rugby) before ordering dinner.


The return journey involved cycling down the A444 to Shenton for our first break at  “The Gallery” Tea Room and Antique Barns, a short distance from where we were just in time to see the steam train leaving at Shenton station.

We cycled up to the battlefield at Bosworth (1485 – Henry Tudor defeated Richard III – “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!”) to see the commemorative flag.

The weather improved and the wind was behind us so our rendezvous at Catthorpe for 2.30 p.m. with other CTC Northampton members was on time.

A trip of 120 miles.

At the National Forest YH, Moira, Derbyshire

At the National Forest YH, Moira, Derbyshire

A circular ride to Buckingham and return – Sunday 18th March

Mike Hart leads this ride and writes:

A gentle circular ride to Buckingham and back, suitable for most types of bike.  The ride will include a coffee stop at Stoke Bruerne, a lunch stop in Buckingham and possibly a refreshment stop on the return leg.  The weather forecast looks promising although it may be cool.  Meet at the Canoe Club, Bedford Road, for a 9.30 a.m. start.

Local share of £15 million for cycle-rail and Sustrans projects reports that 68 projects in England will be sharing Department for Transport funding.  From what I can see in the full list, locally we should see:

  • £140,700 to London Midland to revamp or remove old cycle parking spaces and install new high quality spaces to increase, sometimes doubling, cycle capacity at 13 rail stations including Northampton and Long Buckby
  • £350,000 to Northamptonshire County Council to improve the Brampton Valley Way by resurfacing and dealing with flooding and access problems so that it becomes an all-weather all-year resource.

Let’s hope the latter improvements deal with the quagmire under the railway line just north of King’s Heath!


Extra rides this Saturday and Sunday – 10th & 11th March

On our programme this weekend is a two-day ride to the National Forest Youth Hostel at Moira.  Bill Simpson, who leads this ride, says that people who want to join in for just part of the route on Saturday and/or Sunday are very welcome.  He writes:

Should anyone wish to ride this Saturday, the group will leave Sixfields (the Cobblers Stadium as per Phil Letts recent charity ride) at 9.30 a.m.  You may like to consider riding to Cathorpe, our first stop en route to our youth hostel at Moira in Derbyshire.  You would then return from Cathorpe to Northamton at your leisure.

You may also consider riding on Sunday to Cathorpe when we return to the café sometime around 2.00 p.m. (as a rough guestimate). We can then join forces and return to Northampton.

None of these rides intends to be quick.

P.S. The Cathorpe rendezvous is The Manor Farm Shop & Tearoom, LE17 6DB.

Ride report – Sunday 4th March

Ian Macsporran went on this ride to Kelmarsh and writes:

No “unseasonably clement weather” today.  Just one leader (Brian – many thanks) and one follower (me – I’d sent Brian an email on Friday so I felt I had to turn up!).  We met under the garage canopy in Moulton.  Decided not to go to East Carlton Country Park but only as far as Kelmarsh where we could throw ourselves at the mercy of the Buddhists.

We went the scenic route to Kelmarsh – just over 17 miles.  It rained heavily all the time.  The downhills weren’t all that much fun – just wetter!  We chatted about all sorts of stuff, including camping on glaciers (an achievement of Brian’s; I gathered a lilo makes a reasonable insulator).

The kind Buddhists allowed us in ten minutes before they opened.  This was the dry and warm part of the ride.

When we emerged, it was snowing (it wasn’t lying when it hit the ground) and it kept snowing till we got back to Northampton.

I’ve been playing about with the Endomondo app.  My fingers were so cold by the time we got to Kelmarsh that I tapped the wrong part of the screen.  But our route is recorded as two routes: for out see ; for return see

It was cold.  And wet.  Even the pure-hearted Sir Galahad would have said, “Bugger this for the Grail!”