Five riders set off from East Hunsbury on Phil’s “mainly off-road” route. The conditions certainly lived up to the wet and muddy prediction so much so that one rider decided to inaugurate his own mini-triathlon with an impromptu fall in to the canal followed by a quick run to warm up before resuming cycling. Maybe water wings should be added to the list of essentials on future rides.
“Chapeau” to the water baby for insisting on riding on, despite everyone’s concern lest exposure set in. The lure of an open fire at the Boat Inn at Stoke Bruerne proved a stronger draw than an instant abandonment.
Suitably warmed and refreshed with flapjacks and cups of coffee we decided to stick to the road and forego the planned canal tow-path to Cosgrove. Our return via Ashton, Hartwell and Salcey Forest was a welcome anti-climax to the morning’s trials.
Despite its diminutive 16 miles, this was a ride that will live long in our memories (if falling in to the canal wasn’t enough excitement for one ride we also suffered multiple punctures, with our leader accumulating a winning total of three) and one that has reminded me of a couple of things:
If you’ re going to fall off your bike, it’s best not to do so alongside a canal!
Hawthorn hedge trimmings & liquid mud do not make for a good bike riding surface!
At 9.00 a.m. the prospects of a morning ride were a bit grim. Phil J was down with a cold so had asked me to lead the ride. The previous week I had been in the same situation and Phil L had stepped in to lead what had been a pretty wet ride. Was this to be my chance to enjoy the rain?
It was bucketing down so I decided on the easy option – to put the bike in the car and drive to this morning’s meeting point East Hunsbury given the chance that nobody would venture out in this rain. By 9.25 a.m. it was still raining and no sight of any riders. By 9.30 a.m. I thought that was it but decided to go and have a quick look in case anybody was sheltering in the underpass. At this point James turned up having having cycled over in the rain! We had a quick discussion. The rain stopped at that point, so we decided to go!
Luckily the rain had stopped for good that morning. But ten minutes into the ride I had a p*nct*re. A change of tube and we were off again on a busy road to Wootton and then on to quieter roads to Quinton and over to Cogenhoe and Whiston. We decided against a coffee stop at Castle Ashby and headed for Denton. When we reversed the road to Quinton in the late morning, blue sky appeared and we decided to extend the ride to Courteenhall and on to Blisworth. From here we had warm sun on our backs and a tail wind all the way back to East Hunsbury.
The forecast had been for rain at 9.00 a.m. followed by a clear spell later in the morning. This turned out to be correct but it was cutting it a bit fine to get a ride in, free of rain and with comfortable temperatures!