Saturday morning, six of us gathered in the rapidly-clearing mist in East Hunsbury for this brisk ride out to Whilton Locks. Two Brians and two Phils – an usual mix for our group.
PhilJ had obviously been doing his homework because once clear of Banbury Lane, I don’t think we hit an actual road again until we were nearing Harlestone Firs. Cycle path all the way (in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if part of that route gets used for a leisure ride next year, it was so pleasant).
While the mist had cleared at ground level, the cloud base was still below the top of the lift tower as we left town, when it also started raining, albeit only gently. It did seem to keep the traffic at bay on the Roman road out to Whilton though; it was very quiet for a Saturday.After meeting up with John Cutler at Whilton, the return leg promised to be a little easier on the navigation. It proved to be quite hard on tyres, however, one Phil complaining of a flat at the top the hill out of Whilton, the other Phil about 10 yards later.
Top tip of the day: to avoid p*nct*res, don’t be called Phil.
(One of those p*nct*res later turned out to be the result of a broken spoke so not the fault of the rain washing grit into the road).
The Roman road passed, as you might expect, a little quicker on the way back, being downhill and everything, although one of us did nearly come a cropper on the way through Harpole when a kindly motorist flung their door open without checking for traffic. (If you were that motorist, it pays to check… If you missed a group of highly-visible cyclists (and we were), you’d easily have missed a car and now be looking for your driver’s door somewhere down the road …). Fortunately, we were keeping our distance.
Without further incident, we returned from whence we came via the newly-christened “Mount Tesco”*, also known as “the Towcester Road”, completing nearly 30 miles of reasonably brisk riding.
Next time, Phil’s promised to take us to Draycote Water. I’m looking forward to that now.
* NB: Other retailer-based naming conventions are available.