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!)

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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.

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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?