Ride Report – Saturday 23rdJanuary

Tim went on this ride led by Phil L and writes:

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!

6 thoughts on “Ride Report – Saturday 23rdJanuary

  1. Bloody hell!

    I’ve known people fall off; I’ve known people have multiple punctures (one outing with John C lives long in the mind); I’ve know people lose GPS units into canals; I’ve known people cycle deliberately into canals … but I’ve never known someone fall in!

    Chapeau indeed to him or her!

  2. Iain D writes:

    Fell in, rode on and later, having no more presta 26″ tubes between us, bodged a 700C tube into the rear tyre and rode it home.

    Eddy Merckx never had to deal with this sort of thing.

    Chapeau, as you say, indeed.

  3. Phil L, who led the ride, writes:

    You’ve heard of the ride classic “Hell of the North”? Well, this was the “Hell of the Towpath!” (the Hell of Northampton?). Couldn’t have taken any decent photos ‘cos he was shuddering with cold too much!

  4. Peter writes:

    The Waterways authority/charity have issues with hedge trimming. Some years back they used mechanical cutters that helpfully pulverised any thorns, blowing them back under the hedge. But after a fatality when an operator died when the machine ended in the canal, this was abandoned pending a H&S audit of each stretch of towpath. Now it’s a charity, I wonder if they have got around to assessing our local towpaths for suitability, or has it all been forgotten – at our expense!

  5. Iain D writes:

    Amidst all the shock and concern, I feel that I ought to mention the two window cleaners working where we first left the towpath for the road who, on hearing of our soaked companion’s tribulation, offered him a dry change of clothes.

    Bravo gentlemen!

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