Peter B went on the ride and writes:
Sixteen riders took part in the Guy Barber Memorial Ride to Oxford this year, with CTC members from St Albans, Milton Keynes and Northampton – a great turnout and a wonderful opportunity to meet up again.
We try to organise the Guy Barber Memorial ride every year, and always to either Cambridge or Oxford, which were two of Guy Barber’s favourite destinations. For obvious reasons we were unable to organise the ride last year, which was a big disappointment, and so it was especially nice to have so many riders join us this year.
The first six riders set off from Northampton for the longer route at 8.30 in fine drizzle, which remained on and off all morning, but did nothing to dampen the riders’ enthusiasm. Actually the ride was billed as 99 miles, but was, in fact, 100 miles after adjustments had been made to avoid road closures.
Alex S had the first problem of the day, and found a slow puncture on checking the bike before setting off. This was repaired and he easily caught up with the group up after only a mile or so. After another few miles, Philip G, riding at his usual brisk pace, joined the group as well. Unlike Alex, he had no real excuse, simply preferring a slightly longer sleep-in.
A couple of miles before arriving at our second meeting place at Buckingham, Peter S also suffered a puncture and needed to stop to repair it. At this stage, the group decided to split up, with two riders continuing to the Buckingham starting point and to the rest of the riders waiting patiently for us. Because of (my) over optimistic planning, we still arrived late, but fortunately Viki had taken the registration in hand and had all the names and donations collected and neatly bagged.
It was great to see rest of the riders, unphased by the drizzle, and to thank Gary H in person for helping to plan around the roadworks. But Gary, it didn’t go un-noticed that you didn’t share the less hilly route with me!
From Buckingham, we split into smaller groups to ride to our morning stop at the Green Dragon Cafe, where the riders were able to sit out of the rain and chat in comfort before tackling the next leg to Oxford. Apparently the sausage rolls were a great hit.
All but two of the riders, who had chosen the shorter route, continued on to Oxford and, having braved the continuing rain and the pretty poor road surfaces, on to the Adria Pizzeria for lunch. At this point, amazingly, the rain stopped and the sun came out, which meant that the majority of the riders were able to sit outside and enjoy pasta, pizza and focaccia, which was a popular choice.
The rest of the day remained dry for the ride home, with even an occasional glimpse of blue sky. The riders split again on the route back to their starting points, without any issues that I’m aware of, other than continued complaining about the stateof the roads. I didn’t think that I would ever say that the roads in Northampton would be in better condition than those in Buckingham or Oxfordshire, but they are, and it was a relief to get back to them.
We collected £120 between us, which I have donated on-line to the British Heart Foundation.
Thanks to everyone for donating for such a good cause, and also thanks go to Peter S, who stuffed additional notes into the collection. Not sure I should thank Philip G, however, as he off-loaded all of his small change with a rye smile, lightening his wallet and weighing me down for most of the ride.
It was a great day out with wonderful company, so many thanks to you all for joining and for making the day so enjoyable.
Hope to see you next year !!