Ride report – Saturday 23rd April

Brian, our Secretary, went on this ride led by Iain D, our chair, and writes (in poetical mood):

It was good to see ten riders assembled outside the Co-op in Moulton.  Despite the glorious sunny morning there was a distinct absence of shorts given the cool wind.  This was both St George’s Day and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.  As we had a Welsh ride leader, with a Scottish actor on board, the rest of the group showed great restraint in not shouting as we left Moulton:

Straining upon the start.  The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry “God for Harry, England, and Saint George!” (Henry V)

The plan was to ride to Holcot as a group and then let riders decide how to group to continue.  We easily agreed three groups: Brisk (3), Steady (3) and Moderate (4).

We had been promised some hills en route which we duly encountered.  Most were down then up as we dropped into the many river valleys around this part of Northamptonshire, with fast descents giving a bit of help on the ‘up’.  We soon navigated Hannington, Pytchley, Broughton and on to Great Cransley.  The entrance to Green Trunks Garden Centre for the café stop was well hidden down a gravel track.  Although the restaurant was being refurbished we were given a warm welcome and some “cyclist-size” mugs of tea.
Suitably refreshed we continued in our three groups to Loddington and on to Orton where we turned for home.

Up until now we had been riding into a somewhat icy, northerly wind.  But all this changed as we rode on with a tail wind, sun and blue skies.  We sailed along quiet roads (some single track) via Mawsley and Old to Brixworth, then back to Holcot across the reservoir and on to Moulton.  Given the opportunity for some short cuts, all three groups managed to meet up at Moulton within 10 minutes or so at the end.

Suitably dressed it was a great morning for a ride. Thanks to Iain for planning the route and leading the charge.

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Riding the Transcontinental

Last night, local CTC member John Weller gave us a talk about his experience of participating in the 2015 Transcontinental Race from Belgium to Istanbul.

John raced 2,600 miles on a bicycle in one of the toughest endurance events in the world of cycling. There was no support along the way!  And no official route: a start line in Geraardsbergen (Belgium) and a finish line in Istanbul (Turkey) via four checkpoints – Mont Ventoux (France), Strada dell’Assietta (Italy), Vukovar (Croatia) and Mount Lovcen (Montenegro).

Transcontinental-route-web

Rather than a report, here are some photos of John and his bike!

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Cockpit view

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Dynamo and converters for charging electronic gadgets

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Saddle (Gilles Berthoud)

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What John wore and carried (1)

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What John wore and carried (2)

The evening raised £110 for the Cyclists’ Defence Fund.

Ride report – Saturday 16th April

Rowan, our Ladies Rep, went on this ride and writes:

It was a damp and grey start to the inaugural “moderate” series of cycle rides but that did not stop four riders congregating at the Brampton Valley Way meeting point bedecked in rain legs, overshoes and warm cycling attire.  Brian and I met with two new riders Andrew and Brian (another one!) at the start and were met later at Brixworth by a second Andrew (on a Sully complete with touring kit) who hoped to make this the first of his two CTC rides this weekend!

We cycled steadily, initially through Chapel Brampton and then along the Pitsford Road, over a few “bumps” passing Sedgebrook Hall, towards Harrington in rather damp conditions – but by the time we reached our coffee stop at the Buddhist Centre in Kelmarsh the sun was peeping through and we could appreciate the new spring growth in hedgerows and a myriad of daffadils.  After digesting the centre cafe’s excellent cheese scones and cakes and putting the world to rights, we rode home along a more challenging route, roller-coasting through the Cottesbrooke estate and Creaton, towards Teeton and Holdenby.  By the time we reached the Brampton Valley Way, our final destination, it felt like a different weather day and we rode our separate ways home rather overdressed and hot!

Thanks to Brian for leading the ride and setting the route. I tried out the “Tail End Charlie” job for the first time.  Any feedback would be welcome!

Our next moderate ride is entitled the “Bluebell Ride” and will visit Stowe Dairy Farm Café on Saturday 14th May.  See you there!

Re-branding the Cyclists’ Touring Club

Concerned about our Club’s re-branding, I sent this e-mail – in a personal capacity – to our National Chair and our Chief Executive Officer:

To: David Cox, Chair of National Council, Cyclists’ Touring Club
Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive Officer, Cyclists’ Touring Club

Dear Sirs,

You have announced that you will be going ahead this week with the rebranding of the Cyclists’ Touring Club.

To do so would be profoundly undemocratic.

This is because you have received a petition – some weeks ago – signed by a sufficient number of members of the Cyclists’ Touring Club to demand a poll of the whole Club on this issue.

I therefore call upon you to:

  • cancel the rebranding, and
  • announce, via “Cycle” – the magazine of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, the arrangements for the conduct of the poll of the whole Club.

Yours in a spirit of democracy and transparency,

Ian Macsporran

Cyclists’ Touring Club Member 7137209

Ride Report – Sunday 3rd April

Phil J led this ride and writes:

Four riders undeterred by the prospect of a testing loop through Naseby joined me on an overcast morning at East Hunsbury.  Alex and Andrew joined regulars Brian and Ian M to make the foursome.  All of us were unaware of the drama to unfold later that afternoon.
Upton and St Crispin’s provided the urban backdrop to the start of the ride before reaching familiar ground through Harlestone and the Bramptons.  The climb through Church Brampton was the first real test for the group but we all pretty much arrived at the summit in unison.

Onwards at a leisurely pace we passed Sedgebrook Hall before reaching the A508 followed by another steep climb into Brixworth Country Park for a well-earned tea stop.  Milton was already there in the Spring sunshine and we duly joined him whilst one or two of the group looked in at Pitsford Cycles adjacent to the cafe.

On the move again, now six strong, we blazed down the steep gradient at the back of Brixworth where a slight breeze kept our speed down just a little.  It wasn’t long before we were in low gears again though as we grinded up the long haul to Spratton which splintered the group a bit.  Regrouping at the top we headed for another fast descent skirting Teeton before hitting another rise on the way to Guilsborough.  The roads then flattened out for a while and we all enjoyed the scenic views as we cruised along the quiet country lanes in the now glorious sunshine.

Once through Guilsborough we turned for Cold Ashby on more scenic roads and another fast downhill to enjoy.  Andrew headed the group and soon reported that he had hit a pothole that he was unable to see.  The rest of us avoided it.  A pinch puncture was the inevitable result and we all came to a stop although there are worse places to have a puncture than our picturesque location and nobody was in any rush to carry on!  The change of inner tube didn’t go as straightforwardly as it should have but with one or two tubes and a number of pumps to hand we finally got on our way again.

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Puncture repair? Or a chance for a rest in the sunshine?

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Our ride leader (left) demonstrates his ability with a pump after Andrew (right) suffered after hitting a pothole!

We reached Cold Ashby and the road to Naseby.  Or so we thought!  As we reached the main A road we spotted a large sign pointing us back a mile or two for Naseby and the battle site.  Having ridden the route before, I was sure we were going the right way despite the sign but, convinced by the group that I had taken a wrong turn, we headed back to the last junction and beyond only to see another sign to Naseby pointing in the opposite direction!  We headed back the way we had gone initially and Andrew realised that the large sign on the crossing had indeed been hit by something and was spinning freely.  He dismounted and pointed it in the right direction. Puzzle solved!

A couple of miles later we arrived in Naseby at the Old Vicarage right opposite All Saints Church.  Eleanor had already arrived and was relaxing in the lovely grounds.  We all sat down and enjoyed lunch together in the open air.

Andrew decided after lunch to make a beeline for home on a direct route whilst Eleanor joined us for the planned ride back.  Through Cottesbrooke we avoided riders and runners on a local triathlon event and made our way through lovely surroundings and onto the gated road for Brixworth.  The inevitable climb back was next before six became one as everyone except me headed for Holcot and their own way home!

I pushed on through one or two more climbs and continued on the route back home.  I called it a day at Hunsbury Meadows and avoided the last climb of the day back to the start.  A dramatic day – what with one thing and another – with plenty of climbs and impressive descending from all the riders.

Well done everyone!