Four hardy riders gathered at 9.00 a.m. in Hunsbury on Sunday in what was already pouring rain: two Ians, Brian and our leader Bill. We offered each other excuses: “I’m enjoying this, actually!” and “I must be mad!”
We made a prompt start. Well, the sooner we started the sooner we would get to the dry A5 Rangers’ club-house in Towcester!
If the town had been wet, the countryside was flooded. Pleasant lanes had become quick-flowing streams. Every road was coated with leaves. Bill led us straight to the club-house; no meanders; just the hope that we wouldn’t arrive before it was opened.
Forty-five minutes pedalling and the club-house was open. It had magnificent wall mounted heaters. They were soon draped with wet gloves, hats, socks … only later did I spot the sign asking us not to dry wet items on the heaters!
The riders from Milton Keynes had tales to tell of roads closed by the floods. “Car-assisted” members had tales of being drenched in just the 200 metres walk from the nearest car-park. Hot drinks and cake were consumed with glee.
The AGM commenced promptly at 10.30 a.m. and our thanks are due to Richard Daniells for efficiently chairing the meeting and to Max Scott for providing a sixteen-page report. They were re-elected to their posts as were Eleanor Weller (Treasurer), Brian Tunbridge (Welfare Officer) and John Cutler (Registration Officer). The committee now includes members from all the local member groups.
At 11.30 a.m. the meeting ended but the rain had not. As our lunch was booked for noon at The Butchers Arms in Greens Norton, we were in no hurry to go back outside. Brian and one Ian set off back to Northampton and endured a pretty wet ride home. Bill and the other Ian set off for Greens Norton. It had been a pleasure to put on dried gloves and a warm hat! By the time we reached the Pegasus crossing at the A43 I was just as wet as I had been earlier.
The pub was welcoming (they’d expressed surprised earlier that twenty cyclists would make the effort). The Sunday carvery proved popular and an very social lunch was enjoyed by all.
The rain stopped and weak sunshine greeted the end of lunch. After farewells, Bill and I rode back to Northampton. We remained dry – but only from the knees up. Every lane was flooded; the water was pouring off the fields, through the farm gates, and at times straight through hedges. Roads became rivers. The A5 between Duncote and Caldecote was flooded with traffic at a standstill. And it was too cold and too wet to stop for photographic evidence.
Bill and I said our goodbyes at Milton Malsor to take different routes back into town. My thanks are due to him for leading this intrepid ride. Our route from Hunsbury to Hunsbury is here – 21 wet miles, and 31 wet miles door-to-door.
This was our wettest ride since Kelmarsh in March. Winter has arrived!