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 !