Ride to Draycote Water – Sunday 4th March

Phil Johnson is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.

Meeting point: Hunsbury Hill Library, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ

Distance: 55 miles

Refreshment stop: Waterside Restaurant at Draycote Water


A delightful ride out to Draycote Water is on offer to anyone who joins us on Sunday for this 55 miler from East Hunsbury.

It lies South of Rugby near the village of Dunchurch in Warwickshire.

Harlestone and Althorp are the early points of call on this one before continuing towards the village of Whilton and the locks below.

The gated road at Norton then connects us to Welton and Barby and it won’t be long before we’re heading into

Dunchurch having crossed the county border. One last stretch on the Southam road leads us to Draycote Water and the Waterside Restaurant.

The return journey starts with another short stretch towards Southam which brings us to the village of Grandborough.

Willoughby and Braunston follow before arriving in Welton again.

The gated roads take us back to Norton and from there we’ll take a different route home on familiar roads.

We look forward to welcoming all riders, and especially any new riders who may wish to join the ride.  For any further questions, please feel free to contact Phil Johnson on 07927377191


Ride report Saturday 24th February

PhilJ went on this ride led by Giles and writes:

A lovely morning greeted the half dozen riders who came out to take on Giles’s ride to Towcester. No clouds in the sky to obscure the sun. Chilly for us though. Apart from Brian T who complained of warm hands apparently and started removing layers!

Anyway a combined ride was agreed and we set off at an easy pace into the valley. After some miles the signs for Towcester started to appear but Giles insisted that we follow him on his 30 mile training ride instead.

It was very much that. Full of hills and descents or ‘intervals’ as Giles would have called it. Farthingstone and Preston Capes quite noticeable for that. The countryside looked quite stunning at the top of the climbs in the morning sun. Some ice was present on the road in shaded areas but generally the roads were dry and this was very appealing to the group with thoughts of Spring on the horizon.

Some way out of Towcester the inevitable happened. Giles experienced another mechanical. Not another puncture as you may expect but a cable malfunction leaving him in the big cog for the rest of the ride.

Onwards towards Towcester we went, ticking off those picturesque villages in the process before the mad dash through Towcester high street and our arrival at the Ten Hands Café. Very nice it was too. The old Dolphin Café was now bigger and classier. Very artisan with teas like Mountain Mint and Grand Canyon.

The ride back was much shorter and quite welcome to the weary group. Shutlanger and Blisworth were on route before we got back to Hunsbury and went our separate ways.

A great route from Giles with the perfect café stop not far from home.
Thanks for devising the ride Giles

Ride report – Sunday 18th February

Brian T went on this ride and writes:

At 9am when I left for BVW it was a bit foggy, not quite rain but enough to dampen everything and mist up the goggles. However, by 9.30 when the 5 riders (4 on mountain bikes and one gravel bike) left BVW along the old railway track, it was clear and not too cold or windy.

The route climbed up Sandy Lane to Brixworth and continued across the reservoir and up into Pitsford village. A short stretch of road and then into Spectacle Lane. At a relaxed pace we meandered through the many water filled potholes and crossed a ford (well that’s what mountain bikes like!), before encountering the Jeyes family follies (buildings not Bergère ).

Another short section of road before we took a series of cycle paths though wooded sections, houses and parks all the way to the River Nene at Riverside. More paths up to Hardingstone and along to Hunsbury and the Drovers Arms, a small community café well hidden on Hunsbury Hill, where we enjoyed bacon butties and coffee, at around 11.30.

Cycle paths completed the loop around Northampton back to Kingsthorpe where went our various ways. The great thing about going off-road is to be able to ride and chat at a relaxed pace, traffic free. Thanks to Phil Letts for sorting out the 30mile route.


PS look out for the ride on RidewithGPS.

Ride to Salcey Forest – Sun 18th February

Phil Letts is leading this ride and writes:


Meeting Point Brampton Valley Way

Time 9.30am

Café Stop Salcey Forest

Distance          25 to 30 miles


A mostly off road, traffic- free route linking some of Northampton’s lesser known pocket parks via Pitsford Reservoir, Spectacle Lane, Bradlaugh Park and Salcey Forest.

Coffee stop at the Forest Cafe,

This ride uses mostly cycle paths or  roughish surfaces and therefore requires the use of a MTB or cycle cross type bike not the usual road machine.


We look forward to welcoming all riders, and especially any new riders who may wish to join the ride.  For any further questions, please feel free to contact Phil Letts on 07867388592


Ride Report Sat 10th February

Brian T went on this ride led by Milton and writes:


Milton’s pre-ride forecast earlier in the week, of balmy weather for the ride, (“weather forecast is excellent – Mediterranean is the word being bandied about at the Met … trust me! ) was a complete con of course. Those more astute riders would have noted the red sky in the morning and the thermometer at a degree or so above freezing. However, the damp roads were not slippery at 9.30am when we met at the Canoe Centre; 7 riders in all , 3 for brisk and 4 for the moderate pace route.

We did a familiar circular ride towards Olney via Salcey and Hanslope on the way out and Castle Ashby on return. As we set off the vaguely sunny morning soon gave way to clouds and by the time we reached the café just after Olney, light rain had just set in.

We were oblivious of this as the 7 of us virtually filled the café and concentrated on the coffee and cake. All good things come to an end and it was out in the rain for the short trip home. Fortunately the temperature had risen significantly and despite the head wind conditions were remarkably good, so maybe Milton knew a thing or two when he made the forecast.

Anyway it was just the right length ride for the day and we all returned by 12.30.

Thanks to Milton for setting up the ride.

Damn lightweight helmets!

A slight helmet mishap on today’s ride as James C forgot to put it on over his skull cap. No matter it happens. It happened to me a while ago and then there’s my brother’s hilarious tale too. It could happen to you. Enjoy.

My older brother Brian commutes into London on the train from Northampton and often cycles down to the station on his bike. He had bought himself a new lightweight helmet. This particular evening on returning to Northampton he realised that he had left his new helmet on the train. He went over to the cashier and explained what had happened and that if anybody handed it in he would like to claim it back.
The cashier took one look at him and said ‘Put your hand on your head’. This Brian did and realised it was sitting proudly on his head all this time. He sloped off in total embarrassment hoping never to see that cashier ever again.

Not too long after this I managed to do something just as stupid myself.
I went out with my brother Brian on a lovely sunny Saturday morning for a long ride. We got to near Barby and came across a road cyclist walking along the road in cleated shoes carrying his bike on his shoulder.

We stopped to offer assistance and dropped our bikes, bags and helmets on the grass verge. A quick fix later we were all on our way again. Brian and I stopped a little way ahead at the Barby Garden Centre for a pot of tea.
Once refreshed I looked for my helmet but couldn’t find it anywhere. I concluded that I must have left it on the grass verge earlier on. I raced back to find it but there was no sign of it. I went back to the garden centre and suggested to Brian that we come back the same way later on and look again.
This we did and still couldn’t see any sign of it. By now we were blaming motorists, cyclists and even the villagers for taking it. We rode back quite bewildered at what had happened to the helmet in the short time it would have lay there.
I got home and opened the garage as usual. Sitting on top of the worktop was the cycling helmet we had been looking for!
I had forgotten to put it on in the first place and just rode out regardless!
Of course I blamed my brother for this as he didn’t say anything when I caught up to him down the close. Surely HE would have noticed I wasn’t wearing one. Mind you it was such a sunny day it felt quite liberating riding without one for a change.

Two peas in a pod is how my wife described us. Difficult to argue with that.


Ride to Yardley Hastings – Sat 10th February

Milton is leading Saturday’s ride(s) and writes:


Meeting Point Canoe Centre  Bedford Road, Northampton NN4 7AA

Time 9.30am

Café Stop Pastures Farm

Distance         Moderate  32miles / Brisk  38miles

Finish Time Around 1pm

Pastures Farm, our coffee stop, is fairly new and not yet well known to the cycling fraternity but it is a lovely café and well worth a visit. I have made this a fairly short route in the hope of encouraging out those who have been hiding indoors through the cold months.

Both groups set off from the Canoe Centre up the hill at Great Houghton and take the quiet and delightful road to Quinton. Heading past the café at Salcey Forest we take a right turn  through Hartwell and, just beyond  Hanslope the Moderate group turns left towards Gayhurst and onwards through Weston Underwood. Skirting the western edges of Olney, the road towards Yardley Hastings is where the cafe is positioned.

The Brisk group meanwhile takes a right turn in Hanslope going to Castlethorpe before heading north eventually reaching Gayhurst and from that point only differs from the Moderate group in taking a loop through the beautiful village of Ravenstone before skirting Olney and heading to coffee. It’s an extra 6 miles for the Brisks to reach Pastures Farm and they will need to put the power down a little bit if they are to meet with the other group in time.

From the stop we will all, riding together most probably, head through Yardley Hastings and Castle Ashby before the hill at Cogenhoe leads us back to the Canoe Centre via Little Houghton.

It’s not over challenging and should be an attractive morning out. I hope we’ll be back by around 1pm. The weather forecast is excellent – Mediterranean is the word being bandied about at the Met I understand. Don’t check it out … trust me! Please remember to bring lights, just in case.