A cloudy overcast morning turned into a fine day’s riding for the eight cyclists joining me for a steady ride to destination Draycote.
This included Bob Hartley, a CTC member for two years out on his first CTC Northampton ride. Bob is a key figure of the Ride for Hope organisation which many of you will know and may have ridden with. Please make Bob feel welcome the next time you see him.
As restrictions allowed, we all rode as one group towards Althorp and Whilton Locks with hints of sunshine along the way. The gated road at Norton posed no problems and we were soon on our way towards Barby where layers started to come off in the rising temperatures amid stunning vistas.
Into Dunchurch the newly resurfaced cycle paths on National Cycle Network 41 kept us safe from the local traffic and once out the other side of the village we soon found ourselves parking up at Draycote Water which was already busy with day trippers.
Balcony seating in the Waterside Restaurant gave us great views over the reservoir whilst we enjoyed the food on offer. Gurj bucked the usual cafe stop trend and opted for fish finger sandwiches which looked delightful along with peppermint tea. Very decadent! Meanwhile, the rest of us tucked into various meals and cakes to fuel us for the slightly more elevated ride home.
Right out of the gate we encountered a surprising headwind which stayed throughout the flat lands of Grandborough and beyond. In and out of Braunston two climbs to test the legs and the heart followed by the two tiered rise back up the gated road and over the canal. Brockhall followed Norton and Flore followed that. A split at Kislingbury but pretty much all arrived back at Sixfields after a great days riding. Thanks to everyone who came out to ride today.
Start time: 9.30am Meeting point: TGI Friday’s, Sixfields, Northampton NN5 4EG Distance: 50 miles Refreshment Stop: Waterside Restaurant, Draycote Water Average Pace: Steady
We’re off to the seaside next Sunday. Well as close as you’ll get to it anyway. Draycote Water is a lovely location for a days riding and has great views overlooking the reservoir from the Waterside Restaurant balcony or the seating areas below. But before we get to sample their great selection of cakes, we need to cover around 25 miles through Whilton Locks, Norton, Welton, Barby and Dunchurch. None of it particularly difficult and all at steady pace. The ride back however is a little more testing including a climb at Bragborough Hall in Braunston. So, refuel well at the Waterside Restaurant before we head off for Grandborough on the return journey. Willoughby and Braunston take us back to where we came in at Welton which means a climb back up the gated road which you probably enjoyed on the way down! At Norton we’ll go through the village and eventually out on the A5. A short run and we’ll be off the road heading towards Brockhall and Flore. It’s plain sailing from there, on familiar roads back to Sixfields.
As far as I can see, the weather looks decent for next Sunday as does the selection of cakes!
We had another good turnout for our two rides to Carlton on 22 May. Twelve riders turned up at the Whitewater Centre with three more joining at prearranged points along the way. The slightly improved weather may have helped, even though largely overcast.
The Brisk group of five set off under Philip’s leadership. Peter B led the remainder, in a larger group than the six we’ve aimed for since restarting rides in early April.
After a few Northants lumps we entered the Great Ouse lowland around Harrold. The Brisk group diverted left through Odell and pretty Felmersham before reaching the reorganised Emmaus Centre café at Carlton. Shortly afterwards the Moderate group arrived for a convivial coffee break in the open marquee area.
On the way back the Brisks stopped for urgent sheep’s cheese supplies at the tiny Sheep Shop just outside Carlton. This led to a long slog to catch the break just before Yardley Hastings.
After Whiston, people gradually peeled off and a small Brisk group made it back to the start about 1 pm. We assume the Moderates also made it back OK!
Great to see so many out and revive some old acquaintances.
Start time: 9.30am Meeting point: Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA Distance: 34/38 miles Refreshment Stop: Emmaus Cafe, Carlton Average Pace: Moderate and Brisk
This Saturday’s Brisk and Moderate rides take us to the newly refurbished Emmaus Cafe at Carlton.
The Moderate route is 34 miles and more or less direct. The Brisk route includes a gratuitous but very pretty extra 4 miles via Felmersham.
The forecast is currently a little mixed. Thanks to the latest relaxations in Government rules, we can now go inside if required. But let’s hope that’s not necessary! (And please remember, it still makes sense to take care).
Start time: 9.30am Meeting point: Brampton Valley Way, Welford Crossing, NN6 8AA Distance: 52 miles Refreshment Stop: Fawsey Hall Average Pace: Around 13mph
Join me this Sunday for a ride to the aptly named Napton-on-the-Hill in Warwickshire. I can promise a stunning route with surprising vistas and a couple of “hidden classic” climbs – although overall this is a fairly flat and gentle ride of 52 miles.
The tea/ snack stop will be at Fawsley Hall (menu here) at 33 miles. Please note this isn’t the cheapest place, but I think it’s worth waiting for, and spending a few extra pence to enjoy the distinguished surroundings. You may wish to bring some snacks in case of half-way hunger before Fawsley.
Please remember you need to book with me either by email or on the Leaders’ WhatsApp group beforehand. Covid restrictions still apply, so we will travel in groups of six and ask you to socially distance, outdoors, at all stops.
I look forward to your company if you decide to join us.
James C is leading this mostly Off-Road ride and writes:
Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Hunsbury Hill library, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury NN4 0RZ
Distance: 32 mls
Refreshment Stop: Delapre Abbey (Courtyard) at 23 mls
Average Pace: To suit riders, but not especially quick
Time Expected Back: Around 12.30pm
Please confirm if you wish to join the ride by contacting James, or replying to this email.
“This Saturday’s ride will be a mixed on-and-off road route suitable for gravel bikes or similar. We’ll start at East Hunsbury Library and go straight off-road into the Penn Valley, only emerging on road again at the Toby Carvery roundabout. A short section of road and we’re back into Wootton County Park, Grange Park SuDS and Foxfield Country Park. Another couple of hundred yards of road and we make use of the Courteenhall estate’s bridleways which take us to the Quinton Green and from there it’s a short hop on road to Salcey. Here we do 2/3rds of the cycle path around the forest and end up in Pidington where we join the main road to take us to Great Houghton. Then it’s up to the surprisingly nice Brackmills Country Park, through Hardingstone and into Delapre Wood. We follow the woodland track alongside the main road and pop out at the entrance to Delapre Abbey, our food stop.
Delapre Abbey have closed their main Orangery café but are now operating a takeaway in the coachyard and there’s also a concession offering hot food. Once we’re finished here we can either head home or finish the loop by following the Nene to Upton Country Park, taking the new cycle paths through the floodplain to Kislingbury and returning on the gravel road back to Pineham, the Canal and Hunbury Hill to get back to the start.
This isn’t a technical route but a lot of it’s on rough surfaces with a mixture of loose gravel, compact gravel, grass, dirt and tarmac. The ideal bike would be a gravel or cyclocross bike but a mountain bike would also work (a bell is handy too if you have one). The route won’t be suitable for road bikes. We should be at the café at around 11:30 and won’t be going especially quickly”
Fourteen riders met at Moulton Co-op on a cool but sunny day. Pre registration meant we could set up three groups on the road, Milton leading the brisk, Peter B the briskish and me with the steady group. The first two groups opted for the longer hilly route which was out through Holcot, Old, Harrington and up through East Fardon and Lubenham before the big climbs up to the Laughton Hills. The single track road then dropped down (and up) to Naseby.
The steady group followed a similar route but split up at Walgrave into a steady and a moderate group, the moderates taking a turn to Naseby via Clipston. Unfortunately the steady group followed the longer route on their Garmin by mistake. The first group arrived at 11.30am on time at the Old Vicarage followed shortly by the other two groups. However, the last group arrived somewhat later ready for a rest and a much needed coffee.
The Old Vicarage at Naseby did us proud and we sat on a sheltered patio almost to ourselves in glorious warm sun enjoying a plentiful supply of coffee served with either home made scones and cream or bacon rolls served with all the trimmings. We were made very welcome which made for a very sociable break. This set us up nicely, ready to ride back in our various groups.
The weather was great, the roads were particularly quiet which made it a lovely ride though some of the best scenery in Northamptonshire. What better day to be out on a bike in good company.