PhilJ led this ride and writes:
A perfect storm window gave us a great day’s riding in sunny conditions today. Storm Malik had cleared, and storm Corrie held off for our eight riders on this rerouted Banbury ride to Wardington. Good to see my neighbour IanT out with us again. PeteB had quite rightly expressed concern about this morning’s frosty conditions, but sunrise quickly gave me the confidence that we would have a good ride without incidents. This was BrianT’s rerouted ride of mine and unfortunately, he had pulled out of joining us at the last minute. But with so many navigation devices at hand how could we possibly go wrong!
Well, once we regrouped at Gayton with ChrisD having returned home briefly, we inevitably missed the left turn near Eastcote heading towards Pattishall. It is a regular point of failure this one for some reason. Too many Garmin’s fighting it out maybe. Anyway, a quick U turn put us back on track and we began to enjoy some stunning vistas in the glorious morning sunshine. Little traffic hampered our progress, and we were soon at the Adstone crossing – centre of the entire figure of eight type ride.
Now back on the original route we passed Canons Ashby with Moreton Pinkney and Thorpe Mandeville to follow. Pete and Hartley were following the main group which included myself. We failed to spot the ‘not obvious’ right turn for Wardington as soon as we entered Thorpe Mandeville. Our subsequent arrival at the end of Banbury Lane meant just one thing – another U turn. GaryH expertly navigated us back on the route to a country lane in far better condition than I had remembered last time. No farm mud now and smooth tarmac for the run in to Wardington, although no village signs confirmed this at the time.
But there it was. The Barn Farm Plants Garden Centre. Not surprisingly Pete and Hartley were already there, confounding our embarrassment! A bit ‘Tortoise and the Hare’ if you will. We picked outside seating and enjoyed excellent table service. As fast as any we have experienced in fact. Bacon baps for most went down well. BrianH and I refusing to be swayed from the classic cake options.
Leaving the Greenhouse Café, friendly locals told us to ‘enjoy the hills’ and even jested about Snowdon or somewhere, which sounded ominous but turned out to be quite correct as it happened. The hills through Eydon looked familiar. From about two weeks ago when Milton gave us a bit of a shock exit out of The Forge at Culworth. The climbs split the group a bit but not as much as it did a little later. Somehow, two groups were now on separate routes. ChrisD suggested his Garmin was not providing him with any idea of which way to go. Pete had no doubt taken the correct course, but we lost sight of him instantly.
After some deliberation five of us headed for Canons Ashby and Adstone where we’d pick up the official route again and hoped to regroup with Pete, Hartley and Gary once more. But after some time, I concluded that with three navigation devices between them they’d make it home at their own pace quite easily and we pressed on towards Maidford. The steady now became a brisk steady, powered on by the aforementioned IanT. Back to Banbury Lane for the final few miles and with all three of us living there not even any reason to go back up Hunsbury Hill to the start.
Thanks to everyone who came out today and all the navigators for finally getting us home.