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.