Ride report: Sunday 17th December

Well I said this would be interesting and it was!

A Garmin lead ride of Pete’s route to the Skylark café at Staverton.
Four gathered at the start – Giles, Milton, Nigel and myself.
Nigel’s tyre was already bulging but we set off regardless.
At Gayton a sort of left/straight on turning caught us out and it didn’t look good for the rest of the ride if this was how it was starting.
At Tiffield confusion again and we decided to ignore the Garmin altogether and make our own way to the A5 where I knew we needed to be. We approached the turn for Duncote from the wrong direction but we were back on course at least.

Ice was an issue on the country roads and we all seemed to hit a patch at some point but miraculously stayed upright.
We ticked off the approaching villages one by one until another tricky junction at Byfield but the Garmin confirmed our position as ok when we continued over the A361.

Right on cue around eleven o’clock the rain came and so with it difficulty in even reading the Garmin. Wiping it clear of rain seemed to cause it to change screens and we suddenly lost our usual map for something different. One or two stops later and help from a kind local put us back on track although the gated road through Shuckburgh wasn’t on the planned route I’m sure.
Finally at the top of a hill there it was – the Skylark Café. The most welcome sight for four weary riders.
They gave us just 25mins to eat and drink as most tables were reserved. We were all cold and wet and understandably, Milton decided to call it a day and waited for his lift to arrive whilst we set off having reset the Garmin for the homeward journey.
Immediately, disaster struck. Giles got a puncture. Not ideal in the cold and wet conditions. Two pumps and a co2 canister later we on our way again but not for long. The slow puncture required regular topping up at regular intervals but we battled on.
Everdon gave us the hardest climb of the day but the tarmac seemed better than usual which was very welcome to our tired legs. Through the Stowes we went and onwards to Bugbrooke where Giles now decided to call it a day at the Five Bells pub after one final inflating of the flat tyre and waited for his lift home.
Nigel and I continued and split at Kislingbury to make our own way home.
My thanks to those who turned out today for a tough ride in cold conditions.
PhilJ

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