Ride to Leamington Spa – Sunday 1st July

Phil Johnson is leading this ride and writes:


Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: TGI Friday’s, Sixfields, Northampton NN5 4EG
Distance: 60 Miles
Refreshment stop: White Lion pub, Radford Semele
Pace: Steady, average of 13 mph, 16 to 18 mph on the flat


This Sunday’s ride is a extended excursion towards Royal Leamington Spa – ‘the happiest place to live in Britain’ according to a recent report. Radford Semele which sits close to the town is our destination and refreshment stop. This will be provided by the very friendly staff at the White Lion pub with a menu of traditional British dishes and a family-friendly vibe.
Once through plenty of familiar roads as we head West from Northampton we’ll cross into Warwickshire and country lanes that we probably haven’t encountered before. The ride hasn’t actually been ridden yet and we’ll be Garmin lead to a fair degree. So if you’re looking for an adventure then this could well be it.


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

Hope to see you there.




Ride report – Sunday 17th June

Brian Tunbridge went on this ride and writes:


The skies were distinctly overcast as six riders met at EH for James’ challenging 60 miler. With Garmin in charge we set off in a general south westerly direction into a stiff breeze.

After crossing the A5 at Pattishall we turned south onto quiet lanes to Blakesley and then the southernmost point Helmdon before turning north to Sulgrave. A quick visit to the village shop was chosen instead of a coffee stop at the Manor, followed by a short section on an agricultural single track.

We stopped at the end to check that Ken, our visitor from Lancashire on his 20inch wheel folding bike, had not been swallowed up in the potholes. After this we made good time to Woodford Halse at 30m for the coffee stop. We refuelled on beans on toast etc.

Two riders had Father’s day commitments and planned to take the direct route home whilst it then dawned on the remaining four that we were only half way and still had 30m to go.  We noted the wry smile from our leader James.

A brief light shower at the Equestrian centre spurred us on our way and we did a pleasant loop back to Northampton through Priors Marston (the hill!) and then via undulating quiet roads with a tail wind most of the way.

The weather was actually very comfortable for cycling.

Many thanks to James for planning a really good route on what were exceptionally quiet roads through some lovely open countryside.



(PS Ken had converted a Raleigh Chopper into a serious racing TT bike so keeping up with us on a folding bike was not a problem for him. Not to be recommended for the average cyclist though.)


Ride to Woodford Halse – Sunday 17th June

James Holden is leading this ride and writes:


Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Hunsbury Hill library, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury NN4 0RZ
Distance: 60 Miles
Refreshment stop: Sulgrave or Harley Equestrian Centre
Pace: Steady, average of 13 mph, 16 to 18 mph on the flat


Starting from East Hunsbury we’ll head out in a circuitous fashion towards Fosters Booth. Then it’s on to Woodend, Helmdon, Sulgrave, Culworth, Hinton, Priors Marston – with a coffee stop at either the 20 (Sulgrave) or 30 (Harley Equestrian Centre) mile mark – depending on the state of riders’ legs!


We head back on the Charwelton Road via Preston Capes, Little Preston, Farthingstone, Litchborough, Bugbrooke, and Gayton. Ignore the reference to Whilton on the rides calendar as that was my error – as was citing the original distance as 75 miles: I put it down to failing eyesight…


The weather promises to be cool and dry, whilst the route itself is pleasantly undulating on quiet roads. All welcome.




Ride report – Saturday 9th June

Phil Johnson led this ride to Draycote Water and writes:

A day of drama on the day out to Draycote!
Just two day-trippers booked a place for their annual outing. Dave Upton & John Winn.

Without rolling an inch from the start we all heard that awful sound emanating from John’s tubeless tyres. A puncture in his rear tyre.
John spun the wheel to get the sealant working and gave it some air. Reasonably inflated John agreed we should roll. At least for the time being.

We hit the road proper on Harlestone Road and it wasn’t long before Dave and I lost sight of John so we pulled over in Duston. This time it was nothing more than a chain mechanical but it wasn’t looking promising for the rest of the ride with only a couple of miles under our wheels.

We pressed on round Althorp and onto Whilton Locks with some anticipation of further problems. The gated road at Norton carried us towards Welton. On the second half we dropped swiftly over the canal and John took the cattle grid option rather than the dirt track at the bottom and paid for it with a second puncture. This time the front tyre had taken the hit and on inspection it looked somewhat worse than the first puncture in the rear.

Manual pumping and CO2 wasn’t inflating the tyre at all. We were at a bit of a loss to help John as neither of us had any real experience of the technology involved. Either way John decided to call it a day and ring home. Admirably he insisted that we continue the ride so Dave and I rolled on towards the outskirts of Welton.

Not long after, we crossed the county border into Warwickshire and utilised the National Cycle Network’s route 41 cycle paths along the busy Southam Road towards Dunchurch. Once through the town we were back on the Southam Road for real for the next couple of miles until we arrived at Draycote Water. Bicester cycling club were just leaving which gave us plenty of room to park up easily.

Whilst we were on the balcony of the Waterside Restaurant enjoying the largest jam and cream scones you will find anywhere, I decided to return to my bike. Once there I heard a voice next to me say ‘I made it then’. I was surprised to see that it was John parking up next to me. He had tubed his tubeless tyre and got going again. What a result and a lesson in tubeless tyres for us all.

The return journey had none of the drama of the outward leg. Peaceful villages with church fete’s in full swing. A number of climbs making it harder than on the way out. No road works at Brockhall and Flore which had diverted our rides sometime ago.

Dave and John rode superbly and whilst not exactly ‘day out’ weather I hope they enjoyed the ride.


Ride to Draycote Water – Saturday 9th June

Phil Johnson is leading this ride and writes:


Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: TGI Friday’s, Sixfields, Northampton NN5 4EG
Distance: 52 Miles
Refreshment stop: Waterside Restaurant, Draycote Water
Pace: Steady, average of 13 mph, 16 to 18 mph on the flat
Time Expected Back: Probably around 2pm

A delightful ride out to Draycote Water is on offer to anyone who joins us on Saturday for this 52 miler starting from Sixfields.

Draycote 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.

Hope to see you there

Ride report – Sunday 3rd June

Peter Bayles led the group and writes:

Five riders were up to the challenge of an 85 mile steady ride and met to follow an abridged version of the Womens’ Tour route from East Hunsbury to Daventry and back.

The last couple of rides that the author has written about have been in glorious warm sunshine and this ride was similarly blessed.

Phil was proudly sporting his new steed, which performed faultlessly, even though the initial signs were not good as he had left the original French tyres on.  The same type that Giles had multiple punctures with, sometimes on a single ride.

The route loosely followed a figure of eight along the mostly quiet roads to the West of Northampton.  The first cafe stop at Castle Ashby was a welcome sight, which came after 38 miles at a good steady pace and without a pause.  So with spirits high and legs still relatively fresh, we tucked in.

Of course, on leaving the cafe, Brian, with a wry smile, just couldn’t resist reminding the group that there had been few hills prior to this point, but that they were coming up very shortly.  He was right and the legs became increasingly tested until we hit Newnham Bank at just over 50 miles.

This was a hard slog for already tired legs, dropping into granny rings and gritting teeth.  But we made it, stopping at the top to allow ourselves a couple of minutes of well earned rest to replenish liquid and calories.

At this point Brian, very pleased with himself, let it be known that he hadn’t found the hill hard at all because he was riding his lightest bike, and that on examination he found that he still had one gear left.  This was not what some of the other riders really wanted to hear at that point, but were too out of breath to respond with an adequately robust reply.

Worse than this, however, came the revelation that Chris had sailed up in mid gear. Mmmm.

The equally steep drop down the other side made up for the climb and we were soon through Daventry and back onto pleasant roads again.

Near Catesby we skirted Arbury Hill, the highest point in Northamptonshire, before hitting a couple more sharp climbs and drops and, eventually, our second cafe stop at Woodford Halse.

We were just in time to attack the wonderful cake and have Dave and Chris explain the finer points of the Lancaster Bomber’s war time capabilities in response to having one fly closely past us just before the café.

From there it was an easier run back to the start for tired legs after a very enjoyable ride.


Thanks for all who joined and thanks go especially to Brian who planned the route, although, as he readily admitted, the Tour organisers had certainly done most of the groundwork for him !