Ride to Earls Barton – Saturday 27th April

Tim Howell is leading this ride and writes:
Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ
Distance:  36 miles for the Moderate ride, 42 miles for the Brisk ride
Refreshment stop:  Boathouse Café, White Mills Marina
Pace:  Moderate (11 – 12 mph), Brisk (14+ mph)
Time expected back:  1.30 p.m.

We have a pair of rides with a shared tea stop this Saturday (27th April).

Both rides head out from East Hunsbury towards Salcey Forest on the Quinton Road.  The Moderate group turn left at Salcey cross-roads taking a familiar route via Stoke Goldington, Olney & Yardley Hastings then on to Grendon where the hill is descended (for once) en-route to our tea stop at the Boathouse café at White Mills Marina. Meanwhile the Brisk group have an extra six miles to cover as they loop through Hartwell, Pindon End & Hanslope before re-joining the Moderate group’s route on the road to Olney where they will need to work hard if they are to overhaul the Moderate group and bag the best seats at the cafe.

Both groups head home via Chadstone, Denton & Horton. However while the Moderates take a cunning (and less steep) deviation past Castle Ashby ponds the Brisk group head straight up Whiston Hill, atop which the two routes meet.
I’m afraid to say that Milton appears to have depleted the sunshine meter on his Easter Monday ride to Tugby, so we may have to deal with an April shower or two.

The proposed routes can be viewed (and downloaded as gpx files) from the CTC Northampton account on RideWithGPS:

Tim will be leading the Moderate ride, but the Brisk ride will be self led (so please ensure you download the route to your bike computer if you are planning on attending the Brisk ride).

Any questions please contact Tim on 07749 477231.

Ride report – Easter Monday 22nd April

James Holden went on this ride and writes:

For once,  Milton’s promise of a ride under warm sunny skies was kept. Soaked in factor fifty – or chip fat – seven of us congregated at Moulton for a bank holiday jaunt out to Café Ventoux at Tugby. Anyone who’s done this ride before knows that this is one of the more ‘undulating’ CTC routes – particularly when we cross the border into Leicestershire. With this in mind, special kudos has to be awarded to Geoff who rode it on one of his ‘fixies’
– no mean achievement given the 17% inclines that cropped up from time to time.

Heading out through Walgrave, Old, Harrington and skirting Desborough, Milton’s routing exposed us to a variety of terrain ranging from the smoothest tarmac to the kind of pitted surfaces usually associated with heavy bouts of aerial bombing. After Stoke Albany the swooping descents and thigh-burning short punchy climbs came thick and fast – as did the desire to stop for an ice cool beer in one of the many pub gardens that seemed to appear with increasing frequency. Arriving at Ventoux – popular as ever with the cycling community – we eagerly consumed a variety of cakes, baguettes and drinks. Of particular interest to everyone was Chris D’s choice of beverage (milk), which led to various confessions of dairy allergies and the unpleasant side effects that even looking at a glass of the white stuff can have for some of us.

The other topic of conversation was, of course, the ongoing saga of Milton’s battle with the 21st century in the form of his attempts to master the fine art of using a Garmin without thereby depleting 70% of its battery life within 45 minutes. Various solutions were considered – ranging from checking to see if he had the wifi enabled to making sure that the signal wasn’t being drained by interference from his pacemaker. Sadly none of this seemed to help, with the result that we left Ventoux with our ride leader’s GPS unit displaying low battery status, which, predictably, led to the inevitable missed turn and a nice little bit of extra mileage through exposed fields and a delightful headwind.

Aside from such minor mishaps, our route back was almost car free in places and took us through some lovely villages, none of whose names I can recall, and evermore enticing beer gardens. After passing through Braybrook it was back to Harrington, Old, Walgrave and, finally, Moulton once again. Many thanks to Milton for organising and leading what was a fine ride and the perfect ending to a bank holiday weekend.

Ride to Tugby – Easter Monday 22nd April

Milton is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Moulton Co-op, Stocks Hill, Moulton, NN3 7TB
Distance: 55 miles
Refreshment stop: Café Ventoux , Tugby
Pace: Steady
Time Expected Back: Around 3pm

Easter Monday is traditionally a time to spend with children, partners, parents etc, so I’m expecting a large turnout for this 55 mile trip to Tugby in deepest Leicestershire.
We set off from Moulton to Walgrave and Old, then cross the A14 to Harrington. We then skirt the eastern fringes of Desborough and go up into Leicestershire to Medbourne and on to Hallaton and reach our destination, Cafe Ventoux, at Tugby. It’s a fantastic cycling café but they do say there will be “limited” hot food available on Easter Monday. I take that as a warning that if you think you will need more than coffee and cake, you should bring it with you.
The route home is a beautiful and very rural way. We do skirt the edges of Market Harborough, but, in the main, it’s a quiet trip through Glooston and Welham before we reach Braybrooke and our own beloved Northants again. Then it’s Harrington once more, and, in a slight change from this published route, we shall miss out on Old and head down the single lane direct to Walgrave and from there it’s Holcot and Moulton to the finish.
The forecast is excellent so I haven’t paid a fee for the usual ‘enhanced weather’ and I expect we’ll be back at Moulton by 3pm at the latest.
I look forward to your company for the Trip of a Lifetime! ….. well, a nice cycle ride at least.



Ride report – Saturday 13th April

Chris Duff went on this ride and writes:

Milton’s pre-ride hyperbole brought out the spring riders and 12 set off from the canoe centre. Spirits lifted by the lovely sunshine, the light wind and only a slight bite to the cold as a reminder that winter was now well behind us. A series of easy bike skill tests – like crossing roads – brought us past the new university, whilst looking good it also reminded us of the dangers of ‘big talk’.

Then on by commuter canal paths to Banbury Lane where we increased to 13. Twelve  riders could be smug in their superiority that they had not slept in. Suddenly the laid back mood changed and as Jekyll is to Hyde Milton became a man possessed with the need to get to the café before the moderate group. The route was excellent and the countryside around Nether Heyford and Flore felt a little like an exploration in a previous age.

Aided by a reassuringly resurgent James out in front Milton masked his mission well when ‘waiting’ for the rest of us faster group but still put in a slightly unrestrained final spurt before the café allowing pride to be maintained. He was, however, heard saying that the faster group had waited politely for the other group earlier in the ride. Humour can be a double edged sword?

Very good service, basic fayre and even slow toilets at Whilton Locks maintained the high energy levels and good spirits and whilst tired legs complained on the way back up the hill, the group had the confident knowledge that the second ‘shift’ would be easier. Althorp House has always been a relaxing route, especially with the wind in your favour, although now we remind ourselves what dark things can happen, especially on those ‘easier’ sections.

Past the antique atmospheric village of Upper Harlestone and on, faster now, towards Duston. Mishap due to inattention crossing a side road was narrowly avoided, a sobering reminder that cyclists need to be able to think, speak and watch the road all at the same time and that some of us still need to practice this modern practice of multitasking. Down the lane past Upton and we were soon back to the Canal. The group splitting with cheerful goodbyes. The route and the day as good as the pre-ride ‘positive’ description.

Thank you Milton and especial thanks to Brian for ‘looking after’ the moderate group.

Ride to Whilton Locks – Saturday 13th April

Milton is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA
Distance: 30/34 miles
Refreshment stop: Whilton Marina, Whilton locks
Pace: Moderate/Brisk
Time Expected Back: Around 1pm

It’s a simple ride this Saturday and not at all challenging and should serve as a reminder of the pleasures of riding our bikes without rushing.

We travel along the river from the Canoe Centre, heading past the two new bridges, and out to the west of the town and then we go for a short while on the path of the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal (tarmac all the way) before reaching our first proper road, namely Banbury Lane. We’ll still be in one peloton by this time, but now the ‘Brisks’ will set off to hurry towards Bugbrooke in the west by climbing the hill up to Gayton in the east. They’ll soon descend back onto the main route, but they will have done an extra four miles by the time they do.

From Bugbrooke, it’s a direct route through Nether Heyford and then Flore before the lovely gated road through Brockhall that will lead us to our coffee stop at the café in Whilton Locks. Well led, the ‘Brisks’ could expect to arrive at the stop at about the same time as the ‘Moderates’. Led by me, as they will be, they can expect to arrive about fifteen minutes later than the moderates. Ah well …. lions led by donkeys and all that.

It’s only about 10 miles back to the Canoe Centre via a lovely road to The Bringtons and then Upton, returning back along the Nene for the last two or three miles.
The sun will be shining (as it does) with temperatures expected in the range of 25-30 Celsius, so shorts and sun lotion will be the order of the day. It’ll be good to see you all.


http://ridewithgps.com/routes/29461806 moderate led by Brian

http://ridewithgps.com/routes/29461872 brisk led by Milton

Ride to Farthinghoe – Sunday 7th April

Tim Howell is leading this ride and writes:


Start time: 9.30 a.m.

Meeting point: Overslade Close, East Hunsbury NN4 0RZ

Distance: 48 miles

Refreshment stop: Limes Farm, Farthinghoe (at approx 25 miles)

Pace: Steady (approx 13 mph)

Time expected back: approx 3 p.m.

This Sunday’s ride takes us out on mainly quiet lanes to the South West of Northampton. It is an often undulating rather than an especially hilly ride but nonetheless there is a hill or two to negotiate just before & after our lunch stop at The Limes Farm in Farthinghoe.

Our route out to Farthinghoe takes us through the villages of Tiffield, Bradden, Wappenham and Helmdon before circumnavigating the northern outskirts of Brackley. Coming back we pass through Weston, Blakesley, Pattishall, Gayton and Rothersthorpe.

The current forecast is dry for Sunday, but as we are in April it shouldn’t come as too great a surprise if the weather forecasters are outflanked by a surprise shower or two, so maybe pack that waterproof just in case.

 The proposed route can be viewed (and downloaded as a gpx file) from the CTC Northampton group on RideWithGPS:


Any questions please contact Tim – 07749 477231.