PhilJ led this ride and writes:
A clear ride of two halves today as the swift ride down to Banbury was a contrast to the slow punishing ride back.
Seven hardy riders started at East Hunsbury for a promising day of riding in unbroken sunshine on what was still a very cold day.
For a steady paced ride we soon got into a decent rhythm on the undulating stretch of Banbury lane up to the A5 at Pattishall. The ground was frosty and the air was cool. Cold Higham was cold.
The terrain levelled off thereafter and we were soon speeding along with a very useful tailwind behind us. We ticked off Canons Ashby and Moreton Pinkney in quick succession before Thorpe Mandeville and the approach to Chacombe on a busy run along the busy B4525.
A useful cycle path guided us into the Banbury Gateway retail park and all that remained was to run the gauntlet of the Banbury traffic into the centre of town. Once there the Hillier Garden Centre café was very pleasant and the service was excellent for our group of hungry riders.
Heading out was easier than the ride in as the wide cycle paths along the Southam road kept us safe from the Banbury chaos until our first village at Little Bourton. We did run into a severe headwind straight away that didn’t relent all the way back to Northampton. Great Bourton followed and then Cropredy where we passed a street simply called ‘Cup and Saucer’ – quaint. Still in Cropredy, Giles came a cropper with another puncture. His eighth in recent months apparently – and on new tyres!
We headed for Appletree and Woodford Halse where ice was still present on the road. The ride back became a more careful affair than the ride out. We battled on against the energy zapping wind until Gayton where Pete now punctured. On the move again and back at the start having taken twice as long to get back as it took to get there.
Great riding from all those who turned out today and thanks to Pete for the Garmin backup.