CTC Northampton

The local group of the Cyclists Touring Club aka CyclingUK www.ctc-northampton.org.uk

CTC Northampton

Ride report – Sunday 29th April

Phil Letts led this ride and writes:

Sometimes it’s nice NOT to have to ‘battle’ against the traffic, ever watchful of the discourteous close passers, speed kings, the cycle abusers and the like. So it was that the four of us who turned out for today’s mostly off-road ride enjoyed avoiding all that and had fun in the sun (NOT!) But we did admire Pete’s nice, shiny new looking gravel bike – definitely the machine to be on for this route compared to our mucky old MTBs!

Yes cold, damp and almost wintery it was but pleasant along the NR.6 cycle path to Sixfields then the canal path and Hunsbury Green lane. I always enjoy riding through Grange Park en route to Salcey where we met Elspeth for coffee and cake.

It’s a good firm route now, despite the rain, through Salcey to Piddington and we soon re-joined NR 6 at Great Houghton for the return to the Canoe Centre.

Good ride -good company and good coffee-what more could a cyclist want?

And all those off road miles without being abused by a motorist once! That must be a club record!



Off road ride to Salcey Forest – Sunday 29th April

Phil Letts is leading this ride and writes:


Start time:  9.30 a.m.

Meeting point:  Canoe Club, Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA

Distance:  30 mls

Refreshment stop:  Salcey Forest Cafe

Pace:  Moderate

Time Expected Back:  Around 1.30pm



An off road route using the cycle paths from the Canoe Club to explore some of the lesser known parks in the area.


The ride follows the canal path in Northampton, then Green Lane up to Hunsbury Hill and then from Grange Park to Salcey Forest.


Return is via Piddington and Brackmills CPK.


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  07867 388592


Ride report – Saturday 21st April

Peter Bayles led the Brisk Group and writes:


Eight riders set off from East Hunsbury library (sorry Chris, near the library) on Saturday Morning in wonderful warm, sunny weather, which stayed with us throughout the ride.

The group split into brisk and moderate groups and headed off around the pleasant and quiet roads to the West of Northampton.

I can report that we did manage to say “no” to the tea rooms at Canons Ashby and successfully negotiated the hills before and after Everdon. I say successfully, but it was noted that the Brisk Group, with no regard for loyalty, let alone friendship, summarily dropped yours truly on the last hill. Something to do with the rate of my pie consumption, I’m thinking.

Anyway, any feelings of bitterness were quickly swept away at our stop at the Old Dairy Café, where we were delighted to meet up with Elspeth again. Life doesn’t get much better than chatting over coffee and cake in the sunshine. Everyone ordered cake with the exception of Viki, who nearly managed to start on James’ flapjack instead, when it was presented to her by mistake. Viki, we all checked our wallets twice on leaving !!

The riders’ return from the Café to the starting point was enjoyable and uneventful, with the riders progressively peeling off towards their respective homes as we neared East Hunsbury. Brian was keen to get back and immediately play an afternoon of tennis. Wow.

Thanks go to all for joining the ride, Brian for leading the Moderate Group, but the biggest thanks go to the organiser of the weather. What a pleasant change from the rain and cold that seems to have dogged us most of the winter.

PS; Milton, I am still are confused as to how you managed to get chain marks on the outside of your legs……

Ride to Preston Capes – Saturday 21st April

Peter Bayles is leading this ride and writes:
Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Hunsbury Hill library, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury NN4 0RZ
Distance:  33 mls (Brisk) or 31 mls (Moderate)
Refreshment stop:  Old Dairy Café, Upper Stowe
Pace:  Brisk or Moderate
Time Expected Back:  Around 1.00pm
  • We have two shortish rides on Saturday starting at 9.30am from East Hunsbury Library.
    Unlike the hollow promises oft given by Milton, this weekend really does look like balmy weather, hopefully offering the opportunity of dispensing with the thermals and donning suntan lotion for the first time this year.  So plenty of white legs will be on show.
    The Brisk Ride is 33 miles at a pace of around 15 mph, with the Moderate Ride probably being a self led group, 31 miles, depending on the riders turning up, and will be around 11 to 12 mph. Cake stop is around 24 miles at the Old Dairy Cafe at Upper Stowe.
    We will leave East Hunsbury, riding generally West, through Milton Malsor and Gayton, then negotiate the climbs into Patishall, where we cross the A5.
    From there we will follow Banbury Lane, past Cold Higham and Foxley, turning North to avoid roadworks, and on to Maidford.  The Moderate group can continue riding directly to Preston Capes, whereas the brisk group will ride through Adstone and on to Canons Ashby.  Hopefully at this point the Brisk group will resist the allure of the Canons Ashby NT cafe, instead turning North again and on to Preston Capes.
    Both groups will then ride towards Falsley before turning Eastwards through Everdon. Again, roadworks are to blame for another route change to the original published plan, but, fortunately, the long hill climb just after Evendon remains accessible for our enjoyment.
    After the climb it’s only 3 miles of plain sailing, down to our planned cafe stop at Upper Stowe, where we can relax, hopefully outside, scoffing cake and guzzling coffee.
    The ride back is a comfortable 9 miles, passing through Nether Heyford, Bugbrooke, Kislingbury and Rothersthorpe, before returning to our starting point at East Hunsbury.
    Thanks go to Justin, who couldn’t resist having a pre-ride and hence found the roadworks before we did.
    It’s a relatively short ride in, hopefully, good weather, so barring unforeseen punctures, we should return home by 1.00pm, possibly earlier.
    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 Peter Bayles.
    Brisk Ride Route:
    Moderate Ride route:



    Posted by: Peter Bayles <fatgadgi@yahoo.com>

    Reply via web post Reply to sender Reply to group Start a New Topic Messages in this topic (1)

    Have you tried the highest rated email app?

    With 4.5 stars in iTunes, the Yahoo Mail app is the highest rated email app on the market. What are you waiting for? Now you can access all your inboxes (Gmail, Outlook, AOL and more) in one place. Never delete an email again with 1000GB of free cloud storage.

    Show original message


Ride report – Sunday 15th April

Milton led this ride and writes:

It was at the café in White Mills Marina that we became a round dozen when we were joined by Elspeth who had cycled from home to join us and to show off her ever improving knee. She did take her husband away afterwards, reducing our number to 10, but it was worth that tiny loss to see her looking so fit!

John W was soon to leave us too.  We started the second half of our journey by cycling just too close to his home, and he was unable to resist the siren call of its many small comforts.

So, to the start  …  11 of us, including very welcome newbie Chris, (another Scotsman I’m afraid – what can you do, they’re everywhere) set off on Sunday morning on an overcast and coolish day for our recently revised trip, (the BikeBus being shut for the day)  looping south through Salcey forest and skirting the western fringes of Olney to reach the new café at White Mills Marina in Earls Barton. After the stop there was a second loop, this time north of the Nene, which took in Mears Ashby, Orlingbury and Hannington before touching Mears Ashby again and returning to the start point at the Canoe Centre via Ecton.

It never did get  too cold and was in fact a lovely day to be out on the bike. 54 miles passed quickly in excellent company and the new (to us) café proved to be likeable in every way – efficient, fairly cheap and big enough to absorb 12 of us and then another 14 cyclists from Northampton Social Cycling group who arrived just after we had been served. The staff had thanked me earlier for e-mailing our pending arrival. In fact it was the aptly named social cyclists who had the grace to pre-warn the café not us. Still, I didn’t let the café know that, so points to us!


Ride report – Saturday 7th April

James Holden led this ride and writes:


Four gentlemen departed Brampton Valley Way on Saturday’s brisk ride out to The Willows Café in Barby. Going by the colour of the sky – a shade of bruised grey – and the forecast for an all day downpour, it seemed as though cycling gods had forsaken us on this particular occasion. However, as it turned out, our trepidation was unfounded: the rain held off, the temperature remained pleasantly mild and the sun even attempted to make a few (weak) appearances.

Our outward route passed through familiar territory: Harlestone, Althorp, Wilton, etc., and whilst there were a few ‘upward’ bits there was nothing especially troublesome to either legs or lungs. The range of cakes and savouries on offer at The Willows was up to the usual high standard with the paninis, in particular, proving popular. The only blight being Giles’s disappointment that the cafe no longer had its little bicycle windmills on display.

In contrast to our outward journey, the return leg was – at least initially – on roads relatively unknown to us, traversing the county boundary into Warwickshire and places such as Hillmorton and Clifton-upon-Dunsmore. As well as being unfamiliar, this part of the route was also pleasantly flat, with some stretches looking ideal for a spot of  time-trialling. Alas, the lack of elevation became a distant memory as we crossed back into the county and headed homewards via Yelvertoft, Guilsborough, Teeton and Spratton Hill… The final stretch back to Brampton was – due to a routing error by yours truly – along the main Welford Road, which, whilst busy, wasn’t too hair-raising an experience.

Thanks to Giles, Peter and Phil J for coming along and ensuring this didn’t turn into a Cycling UK solo ride!

Ride to Earls Barton – Sunday 15th April

Milton is leading this ride and writes:

Depart from:  Canoe Centre

Time   9.30 AM

Type of Ride  Steady (12/13mph)

Coffee stop  White Mills Marina   Earls Barton

Distance  57 Miles

Return time  Mid afternoon (3pm [ish])


There’s a change to Sunday’s ride. The BikeBus is not going to be open on the 15th so I have devised another route for us which takes us to a new café on the Nene by Earls Barton. It’s not too expensive for either café and cake or more substantial lunch/brunch affairs. As you can see, the route is 57 miles, which is long for one of my rides, but if we are getting too wet, or bored, there are multiple opportunities for cutting it short whether to the cafe and/or to the finish. But, as the sun will be shining and the breeze light, and the day long, which of us won’t want to spend time on the bike?


Setting off from the Canoe centre we take the road up through Great Houghton to Quinton and then through Salcey forest to Hartwell from where we head to Hanslope, and Castlethorpe and then cut back to Gayhurst before heading to Olney via Weston Underwood. We skirt the western fringes of Olney and head towards Yardley Hastings, and from there to Grendon and, on the road towards Earls Barton but still south of the Nene, we find the cafe at about 32 miles into the ride.


After our break we double back to Grendon and set off towards Wollaston before heading north across the river to Wilby. From there it’s Mears Ashby, Little Harrowden and Orlingbury until we cross the A43 to Hannington and then Holcot. Now, on the home straight, we go to Sywell and skirt Mears Ashby again before we head down through the village of Ecton, cross the Nene, and reach the Canoe Centre via Little Houghton.


It should be a lovely day on the bike which, if we leave exactly on time and maintain a steady 19 mph will get us home for an early lunch. As we have no intention of doing any of these things, I hope we will be back by about mid afternoon having had a pleasant, relaxing, sociable trip rolling along at about 12mph.


GPX file of the route attached.


Ride to Staverton* – Saturday 7th April

James Holden is leading this ride and writes:

Start time 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point : Brampton Valley Way, Welford Crossing, NN6 8AA
Distance : Brisk 38 miles & Moderate 31 miles
Refreshment stop :  The Willows Cafe* at Barby Nurseries
Pace: Brisk about 14-16mph & Moderate about 12mph


This Saturday’s brisk ride is a suitably brief(ish) affair – coming in at around 38 miles. Leaving from Brampton Valley Way, we’ll climb across the Althorp estate and wind our way on towards Whilton Lock, famous for both its marina and carpet store. Once across the A5 we’ll forgo the joys of Norton and keep it rural as we head up Station Road. After a few more undulating miles across some rather exposed landscape, we’ll stop for coffee at The Willows Cafe* (located at Barby Nurseries – 17 miles). Sadly, given our ride is on a Saturday, we’ll be unable to take up the temptations of their renowned ‘Fish Friday’ offer, but the range and quality of dishes available should still be enough to quench the most demanding of appetites.


Suitably refreshed – and with bedding plants safely stored in our panniers – we’ll wind our way back homewards via Hillmorton, Clifton Dunsmore (more commonly referred to as Clive Dunn by the locals),Yelvertoft, West Haddon, Guilsborough and Holdenby, A shorter option (totalling 31 miles) is also on offer, which follows the same route out but returns home in a more direct fashion through Watford, Long Buckby, East Haddon, etc.


Neither ride is particularly demanding and there are ample points along the route(s) where people can stop for a breather/refreshments should they feel the need to do so.  All are welcome (though few are chosen).


See you Saturday – 9.30 sharp.



*The cafe stop listed in the Rides Calendar – The Skylark Cafe – no longer opens on a Saturday.