Upgrading the Brampton Valley Way cycle path

The Brampton Valley Way (BVW) is being upgraded in at least two places in Northampton: where it crosses the A5099 near “The Windhover” pub and where it goes under the Northampton-to-Rugby railway line to the north of King’s Heath.  The BVW is a “linear park” that follows the disused railway line connecting Northampton and Market Harborough.  It forms part of National Cycle Route 6 (NVR6).

Here’s what was happening today at the A5099 crossing:

IMAG0201IMAG0202IMAG0203IMAG0204One of the workmen confirmed that the intention is to widen the cycle path and provide a tarmac top.

Rides Programme – January to March

Compiled by Iain Dawson, our Rides Secretary, here is our programme of rides for January, February and March:

Day/Date Time Miles Rating Type Start Route/Destination Stop(s) (if known) Leader/ Organiser
Sun Jan 20 9:30 45 B Club CC Nene and Ouse – From one to the other and back Olney Iain Dawson 07909 992468
Sat Jan 26 13:30 17 D Leisure BVW Guilsborough   Brian Tunbridge 01604 622073
Sat Feb 2 9:30 35 B Club BVW Brisk morning ride via Dodford, Newnham, Litchborough and Kislingbury   Phil Letts 07512 425957
Wed Feb 6 19:30 Rides Planning Meeting FOLLOWED BY Committee Meeting Iain Dawson 07909 992468
Sun Feb 10 9:30 20 D Leisure EH Towcester Cycle-Jumble
Towcester Bill Simpson 07736 600858
Sun Feb 17 9:30 50 D Club BVW Into Leicestershire – just! Saddington (pub) Ian Macsporran 01604 843894
Sat Feb 23 14:00 20 D Leisure MCP Ecton and Earls Barton Beckworth Emporium Iain Dawson 07909 992468
Wed Feb 27 19:30 Social Open to all Park Ave. Methodist Church Illustrated Talks featuring Classic Tour de France Passes, the Giant’s Causeway Sportive and Hamburg to Dresden on the Elbe Cycle Path.Suggested Donation: £3 Iain Dawson 07909 992468
Sun Mar 3 9:30 53 B Club CC Melchbourne Milton Ernest, Wymington Brian Tunbridge 01604 622073
Sat Mar 9 9:30 35 C Club EH Canons Ashby NT Canons Ashby Philip Gray 01604 720522
Sun Mar 17 9:30 50 D Club SIX Farthingstone Farthingstone GC Iain Dawson 07909 992468
Sat Mar 23 14:00 18 D Leisure CC Gayton Gayton Brian Tunbridge 01604 622073
Wed Apr 17 – Tue Apr 23 CTC Northampton visits ADFC Aachen (Germany) – please email if interested. Iain Dawson 07909 992468
We aim to run every ride as advertised above.  Any changes or, exceptionally, cancellations will be advertised on our Yahoo e-mail group, our website and our other social media.  Check for messages or contact the leader a day or two before the ride for any updates!

For insurance purposes, these rides are for CTC members but we welcome non-members on a trial basis for up to three rides.  Special events are open to all.

KEY

RATING
A = Advanced (typically over 60 miles, 14+ mph average riding speed)
B = Challenging (typically 45-60 miles, 12 mph average riding speed, or shorter-and-faster)
C = Moderate (typically 35-45 miles)
D = Leisurely (typically 10-30 miles)
E = Easy/beginners (typically 10-20 miles)

TYPE
Club = steady ride
Tourist = includes historical or other visit
Leisure = short distance, easy pace
NMK = ride run by CTC Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes
National = CTC or other national event
Evening = Evening ride to a social meet
Social = Social meet without a planned ride

START
BVW – Brampton Valley Way, Welford Crossing NN6 8AA
EH – Hunsbury Hill library, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury NN4 0RZ
MCP – Moulton Co-op NN3 7TB
CC – Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road NN4 7AA
Maps are available for start locations here.
We aim to cater for a wide range of rider abilities. On C, D & E rides we will wait for the last rider. On A & B rides, riders are expected to meet the average speeds indicated or be able to make their own way home.

For contact on the ride (e.g. if you miss a turn or have a problem at the back of the group), or need to contact the group at the start of the ride, the following are regular riders’ mobile phone numbers:
Secretary – Brian Tunbridge 01604 622073
Rides Secretary – Iain Dawson 0790 999 2468

Mobile phones must not be relied upon but are there as a secondary means of communication on the ride in the event of a problem.

Riders must be prepared for foreseeable problems such as punctures.

Please contact the rides secretary if you would like to attend the Rides Planning Meeting. You are also welcome to forward any suggestions prior to the meeting.

Ride to Olney – Sunday 20th January – CANCELLED

Today’s ride is cancelled. Iain writes: Due to the current road conditions, and the weather for Sunday, the ride has been canceled.

Apologies to anyone planning to ride but it really isn’t safe and that has to be my primary concern.

Hopefully conditions will improve during the week. And the ride will be added to a future programme.

Iain Dawson, our Rides Secretary, will be leading this ride and writes:

Weather permitting, we’ll be riding out Sunday morning from the Canoe Centre on Bedford Road for a 45-mile-ish loop down to Olney and back, visiting the delights of Salcey Forest and the northern edge of Milton Keynes en route.

We should be back comfortably in daylight but, as with any ride at this time of year, it would be sensible to bring lights, at least ‘be seen’ lights, with you.

We will be keeping an eye on the weather!

Hope to see you there Sunday morning, 9.30 a.m.

Gold in the Velodrome vs Economics

Iain Dawson, our Rides Secretary, writes:

What have economists got to do with Team GB’s haul of Velodrome gold in the 2012 Olympics?

I don’t know either but tonight (Wednesday 16th) on Radio 4, Tim Harford is apparently going to tell us.

For those of you around this evening, it’s on at 8.45 p.m. For everyone else (and you if you listened to it live and then want to hear it again), it should be on the iPlayer via the link above.

I’ve set the recorder.

Report – Ride on Saturday 12th January

Iain Dawson, our Rides Secretary, went on this ride led by Philip Gray and writes:

On a chilly, but ice- and snow- free morning, eight of us (Hi Alex, Hi Kieran) gathered outside the Co-op in Moulton for the first ‘brisk’ ride of the year.

Our leader, Mr Gray, had planned us a route that he said didn’t involve too many hills but the lack of hills didn’t really matter as we were soon getting our exercise thanks to a stiff easterly blowing straight into our faces. Oddly, it seemed less of a wind when it was behind us.

Having made it up to Broughton fairly easily, and from there past the old airfield at Harrington to Kelmarsh, we hit slightly lumpier territory climbing out of Kelmarsh (no stopping for tea!) and down to Maidwell where we regrouped. From there, back roads through Draughton and Scaldwell took us over a few more lumps before we crossed Pitsford on the causeway to make the J-Gallery in Moulton in good time for a coffee.

Thanks to Philip for planning such an inventive route, and to Phil Letts for keeping watch at the back of the group. Hopefully we’ll see more of you on the next rides, including Phil Letts’ brisk ride on February 2nd.

Brampton Valley Way mudhole is no more!

Phil Letts writes:

Members will be pleased to know that the infamous Brampton Valley Way (BVW) mud-hole is no more!  Did I hear cheering?  The mud has gone under the railway bridge and a two-level concrete cycle/pedestrian path rolled through.  It looks as though the engineers have conceded that it will always flood under there but during dry times there is a big wide solid path through but then during the times it’s flooded there’s a higher-level but narrower concrete path above flood level which is walkable pushing a bike.  (It will be possible to ride through on that but the ‘roof level’ is lower.)

They have also put down a black-top surface linking the underpass back to the farm track at the back of the Kings Heath sports field.

Notices say the BVW is closed from the underpass back to the Windhover pub for ten weeks from 10th January to effect path repairs.

So hopefully that should solve the problem.

Ride on Saturday morning – 12th January

Philip Gray will be leading this ride and writes:

Join us at Moulton Co-op at 9.30 a.m. for a 30-mile ride in the general direction of Broughton & Market Harborough. This will be a “brisk” ride but sensibly paced for the time of year. There will be a few hills but the aim is to avoid too much sweat. Any lost fluids will be replaced afterwards at the J Gallery in Moulton.

Hope to see you there

Group Bike Rides – Led by Women for Women

Northampton Breeze Rides

Easy led circular routes for novices on cycle paths and trails to local coffee shops.

Liane Higham loves making bikes rides a breeze for women who aren’t confident on their bike.  Liane’s rides take place in and around Northampton along lovely circular routes along designated cycle paths and trails and finishing in the nicest possible way – with coffee, cake and a chat! (The evening rides in the summer have been known to start and finish at a pub!)

Breeze Northampton

The short , traffic-free rides are ideal for busy mums and anyone who hasn’t been on a bike for a while and would like to go for a casual bike ride with a small group of women from their area.  So, if you fancy an easy-going bike ride and a chance to meet new people and get some gentle exercise, contact Liane e-mail: breezenorthampton@yahoo.co.uk and Twitter: @HighamLiane.

Cyclists New Year’s Lunch – Sibbertoft – ride report

A splendid first ride of the year for CTC Northampton.  Five of us met at the Brampton Valley Way in damp but mild conditions for a ride led by Bill.  Having wished each other a Happy New Year, we went at a brisk but comfortable past north on the A5199 to Creaton and then onto country lanes through Naseby and Clipston before joining the A508 just south of Great Oxendon.  We soon entered the Waterloo Farm café and met up with Max and our friends from CTC Kettering.

After refreshment – bacon sandwiches went down a treat – there were only five more miles to Sibbertoft where an excellent welcome awaited us not only from our CTC Leicestershire friends but also from the ladies of the parish church committee!  This was the annual New Year’s Lunch in the Sibbertoft Village Reading Room.

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This room was erected before the First World War by the local lady of the manor, Elizabeth Mansel of Sulby, in memory of her brothers who were officers in the HIghland Light Infantry and the Durham Light Infantry.  (Sulby Hall was demolished over sixty years ago but the name lives on for students of the English Civil War – the parliamentary dragoons hid behind Sulby Hedges at the start of the Battle of Naseby in 1644 to emerge at a crucial point in the battle.)

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Today her reading room was set out with tables for fifty cyclists to be served lunch by the ladies who are responsible for Sunday afternoon teas in the summer. Brilliant: shepherd’s pie, apple crumble and tea/coffee.  And seconds, too!

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After a lovely lunch, it was a pleasure to cycle home.  Bill led us via Naseby and Cottesbrooke to Brixwoth (and the A508 south to Northampton) but by different lanes so that we completed a figure of eight.  Route here.

And there was a final treat of the day.  At an extensive hedge being layered at the edge of the Cottesbrooke estate we stopped and John gave us an extempore lecture on the craft of hedge layering.  The hedge we studied was typical of the “South Midlands style” and was clearly “bullock-proof”.  We could easily see its advantages over an adjacent hedge which had merely been strimmed.

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Big thanks to Bill for sorting out our route, to Max for reminding us about the event, to the Leicestershire committee for the organisation, and to the Sibbertoft parish ladies for their hospitality!  Splendid!!

Two views on Sir Bradley

One of our members, David, subscribes to the conventional view and writes:

Sir Bradley Wiggins receives Knighthood following Tour de France Victory, Olympic Time Trial Gold Medal and Sports Personality of the Year 2012.

Sir Bradley Wiggins described receiving a Knighthood in the New Year Honours List as “incredible” but said he would not be using the title on a day-to-day basis.

“In terms of recognition and an accolade, as a sportsman in this country it’s probably the highest honour. I may get used to it over time, and I’ll probably use it in a very comedy way but not in a serious way. I certainly won’t be taking myself too seriously with it, that’s for sure,” said the 32-year old cyclist.

I take a different view:

I’ll try (!) to leave my political view – that “honours” replicate a Ruritanian view of the past – to one side and ask, “What’s the point?”

A highly-paid professional sportsman wins a gruelling cycle race and is awarded the Maillot Jaune – hurrah!  Great!  Brilliant!  I love it.

He goes on to win the Olympic Time Trial gold medal.  Hurrah!  Great!  Brilliant!  I love it and I was standing about 50 metres from the finish line.

I couldn’t tell you who won the gold medal at Beijing just four years ago.  Or any of the earlier winners.

Sports Personality of the Year?  What’s the point?  And a “knighthood”?  What’s the point?

Aren’t the Yellow Jersey and the Gold Medal enough?