Ride report, Sunday 30th January

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.



Ride to Banbury, Sunday 30th January

PhilJ is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting Point: Hunsbury Hill library, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury NN4 0RZ
Distance: 46 miles
Pace: Steady (around 12-14 mph)
Café stop: Barn Farm Plants, Wardington, Banbury

This Banbury ride might have my name associated with it, but it has been kindly rerouted by BrianT from its original destination. The café at the Hillier garden centre in the middle of Banbury is no longer available and instead, we’ll be going to the Barn Farm Plants Garden Centre in Wardington. We’ve done it before and it’s a great alternative to the original venue. The ride out covers much of the original route which heads towards the A5 at Pattishall followed by Canons Ashby, Moreton Pinkney and Thorpe Mandeville. Then a change in direction gets us to the lovely café in the quaint village of Wardington. Once refreshed, it’s quite a few miles before Brian puts us back on my original route. Eydon and Adstone forming part of the ride back to familiar territory. Either way, this is a lovely ride over the Oxfordshire border to a seldom visited rural café. Let’s just hope Brian comes along to back me up!

Hope to see some of you there.


Sign Up: Group Rides 

GPS route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/38289660

Ride report, Saturday 22nd January

Brian T. led this ride and writes:

In planning winter rides there is always the uncertainty about icy conditions. Thursday and Friday were close to freezing and the forecast for Saturday was only 2 deg at 9am. Decision, decision should we cancel the ride. However Saturday morning dawned and just after daybreak the temperature was a balmy five degrees. The roads were damp but not slippery. Despite the few sign-ups, 11 riders assembled at East Hunsbury and we split into two groups. James led out the brisk group of six riders leaving just five for the moderate pace group. 

The routes split at Bugbrooke, the brisks going further north to Weedon Bec and around to Everdon and Preston Capes before dropping almost due south through Maidford to Silverstone and on to Whittlebury Bakery where we all met up for coffee and cakes. Their route had a few challenging hills but they made good time and met up with the moderate group at Maidford. From Bugbrooke the moderate group worked its way through Litchborough and Farthingstone before joining the other route at Maidford. This route was not short of a few well spaced out hills and on the road from Farthingstone to Maidford, the highest point on the ride, the sun came out and we were treated to some great all-round views over the countryside.

We were well dressed, and with the temperature rising and little wind, it was really a great day to be out on a bike. Sparse traffic was an added bonus. The brisk group were probably overdressed and at the café they were cooling off, having their coffee and cake outside when the moderates arrived. At about midday we were all truly watered and fed (what a selection of cakes and pastries !!) and each group set off for the short journey home. We enjoyed the closed road between the A5 and and Stoke Bruerne, where they were repairing bridges but still allowed access for pedestrians and cyclists. The Moderates made EH by just after 1pm. For a January morning it was great conditions to be out for a ride and in such good company.  Thanks again to James for taking the brisk’s lead at short notice.

Brian T

Ride to Whittlebury, Saturday 22nd January

Brian T is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Hunsbury Hill library, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury NN4 0RZ
What3words: == linen.pines.zones
Distance: 39 miles / 33 miles
Refreshment stop: Whittlebury Bakery
Pace: Brisk / Moderate
Choice of two rides at either a Brisk pace (14mph+ average) 39miles
or Moderate pace (12-13mph ) 33 miles.

Both groups meeting up at the Whittlebury Bakery Café for coffee.

The ride is mainly on quiet roads in rolling countryside. From East Hunsbury the route is out through Bugbrooke and Weedon Bec, Everdon, Preston Capes. From there we loop back through Maidford, Blakesley and Silverstone to Whittlebury and the café (At Bugbrooke the Moderate pace group takes a shorter route through Litchborough to Maidford and then Whittlebury ). After that it is a short ride home via Stoke Bruerne and Blisworth to EH.
Ride with GPS route links below.

Please sign up via CTC Northampton: Group Rides (signupgenius.com)
or use (https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4da5ae23a3fdc61-group)

As always we will keep a watching brief on the weather and may not ride if it is icy.
More details from Brian on 01604 622073 or text 07722 055149

Do join us.

Brisk 39m

Moderate 33m



Ride report, Sunday 16th January

Milton Led this steady ride to Culworth and writes:

The best weather of January so far blessed our trip and quiet (albeit dirty) roads made it a splendid way for 12 of us to spend half a day. We travelled along the Nene, and then the canal until Banbury Lane and from there we headed to Blakesley via Pattishall. Then it was Woodend, Plumpton and Weston before making Culworth in good time. A log fire was indeed burning and sausage rolls, pasties and scotch eggs were available as well as excellent coffee. A difficult place to leave in bad weather, but today, the sun shone and we were raring to get back on our bikes ….ish!
The route back was even more rural going through Eydon and Little Preston, Maidford and Litchborough but not much else until we headed for Bugbrooke and the big smoke, Northampton itself!
We got to the Canoe Centre by about 1.30, so it wasn’t a long day, though we’d managed something in excess of 45 miles. Great to see you all, and, as ever, there’s another ride next week!

Ride to Culworth, Sunday 16th January

Milton is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9:30 a.m.
Meeting Point: Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA
Distance: 45 miles
Pace: Steady (around 12-14 mph)
Café stop: The Forge Café Culworth


Sign Up for the ride here.

The cafe is definitely worth a visit. It has a lovely log fire and excellent coffee and homemade cakes etc and the trip there is a joy.
We set off along the Nene for about three miles and then, after a short, (tarmac-ed) section of the canal, we arrive on Banbury Lane and head south, (here I expect the “Dodgers of Hunsbury” might choose to join the ride as it will allow them to skip quite a few miles almost without guilt!) This is a lovely route on quiet roads which takes us through Foxley, Blakesley, Woodend, Plumpton and Weston before, at almost exactly the halfway point, we reach Culworth.

The return begins on some equally attractive little roads through Eydon and Little Preston, Maidford and Litchborough before reaching Bugbrooke. It is at this point we turn south east and meet up with Banbury Lane once more, (and again, the “D’s of H” might want to exit the ride!) to return via the canal and the river to our setting-off point at the Canoe Centre.

It being high January, I imagine we can be assured of balmy weather in the high 20’s….so dress appropriately please!
It should be a good day, I look forward to your company.
PS The café is quite strict about mask wearing, so please make sure you come equipped.



Ride to Sherington, Saturday 8th January

James C is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Hunsbury Hill library, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury NN4 0RZ
Distance: Brisk 41mls, Moderate 37mls
Refreshment stop: Emberton Park or Alban Hills Nursery Café
Pace: Brisk and Moderate
Time Expected Back: Around 1.00pm

This Saturday’s ride takes us over to Sherington starting from Hunsbury library.

From here we take the usual route to Salcey Forest where the brisks and moderates part company, the moderates taking a left through the forest towards Stoke Goldington while the brisks carry on towards Hanslope, Castlethorpe and Old Haversham before climbing to Little Linford, then enjoying both the downhill section and a view across to Tyringham Hall which we’ll pass on the way home.

Both groups then ride in the direction of Newport Pagnell but turn off towards Sherington, through the village up towards the main road to Olney. Here we check if Alban Hills Nursery cafe is open, if not then it’s another few minutes on the cycle path to the nearby Emberton Park cafe (run by the same people as Salcey Forest).

Leaving the cafe we again use the cycle path to Filgrave and enjoy the view across Beds as we ride to the beautiful Tyringham estate (where there’s a great spot for a group photo on the Vanburgh bridge)

From here it’s a simple blast back through Tathall End, Hartwell, Roade and Blisworth.

This is undulating ride but there are no serious hills and should be suitable for all riders. GPX files for your Garmin are attached, or if you’re a Strava user let me know and I can share the route through Strava.


Please consider the usual COVID precautions, and masks will be required in the cafe.

As usual it is very helpful for our planning to follow this link to book a place on Signup: Group rides

Ride report, Sunday 2nd January

ChrisD led most of this ride and writes:

Twelve riders came out for this first New Year ride including two new riders, Phil Brittain and Stuart Hughes.

We were soon joined near Gayton by Alex S.  Soon after, Peter, who was leading the ride was forced to pull out given the challenges of a chest infection, so luckily, we stayed at 12.  Chris D was nominated to take the lead role given that he had devised the route originally.  However, there is nothing simple about the new ‘esteemed leader’ since he immediately admitted that he would have routed it differently now.

The weather held all day and with sunshine on our shoulders the route was a ‘lovely one’ out to Thornby, Flore, the Bringtons, Long Buckby – all on quiet roads.  The hills were quickly despatched and the general feel was of a group glad to be enjoying the freedom and fresh air of a good day out on the bike.

The new ‘esteemed leader’ then ‘mucked it up’ by changing the last section before Thornby, taking the riders away from the comfort of their garmins through Cold Ashby.  This was a faster and much less hilly alternative and avoids duplication later on.  However, the ‘esteemed leader’ then went too fast and left a long tail of resentful cyclists in his wake.  Equanimity was restored at the Buddhist Centre Café, as always, efficient with great cake and great coffee.  The happy atmosphere led to some strange conversations including, sex, animals, paedophobia and paediatricians. Will the rest of this year be like this?

Three riders left to take a different route home.  East Hunsbury to Thornby was never going to suit everyone!   Then down through Guilsborough, past Coton Manor and through Ravensthorpe and East Haddon, then the Althorp Estate and the old Roman Road through to Duston.  A change of route again (the ‘esteemed leader’ was feeling brave) and back through the ‘French Quarter’ and Upton to Hunsbury without mishap.

There was a good steady pace overall at 13.2mph and the ride was finished in good time before 2pm. 

Thanks to Peter Bayles for getting us out the door this morning.  It was day that rewarded those who did with no rain, good company and some nice moments.

Big thanks to our two new riders, Phil and Stuart for coming out – their company and energy were much appreciated and we hope to see them again soon.

Happy New Year to one and all.

Chris Duff