Peter B was a Leader on this ride and writes:
It was always going to be a popular ride, being the first weekend this year that we were allowed to ride as a group again as the COVID restrictions, that had been in place since before Christmas, started to relax. In the event, 20 riders set off from the Canoe Centre (plus an additional rider joining part way) on the 27 mile circular route that took in Olney.
The number of riders meant we split into four groups, with Brian, Philip G, Milton and myself Leading smaller groups. It was great to see some riders who had not been out on the weekend rides for some time – clearly the pent-up frustration of lock-down was a big motive. We had two riders with e-bikes, which was great. We also had a couple of riders sporting injuries, but still determined to get back in the saddle; one rider was recovering from a recent operation, and another had a recently broken toe, which meant that she had to ride with one borrowed over-sized training shoe on the affected side. Keen or what ?
The weather was kind, being overcast and cold all day, but dry with a slight breeze. Because of the continued restrictions, most cafes were still restricted to takeaway services if they were able to open at all, and so we planned the route without a refreshment stop. Hopefully the Government’s expectation that cafes can open for outdoor food will allow our normal cafe stops to be resumed, starting from our scheduled ride on the 18th.
The more energetic riders joined Philip’s group and were the first to set off, maintaining a fast pace, and never to be seen again by the the other groups. I talked with one rider afterwards, who just told me “it was hard work”.
Milton took his group in the reverse direction to the plotted route. To be fair, this was Milton’s route, stolen from his famous “Turkey Buster” ride, so really it was the rest of us going in the wrong direction, not Milton. We passed Milton’s group near Olney and “waved” across the road.
Brian’s group and my group stayed fairly close to each other throughout the route, enjoying the ride and the countryside.
A great day, and fantastic to see everyone again. Thank you to everyone that joined the ride and look forward to seeing you again (James’s ride to Silverstone is this coming weekend).
Cheers – Peter