Ride report, Saturday 21st May

Chris Holt led this ride and writes:

Moulton had the bunting out for the 14 who gathered at the start, with Brian, leading the moderates, informing us of the presence of both coffee and a beer tent.  Eight started with the brisk, though two dropped back to the moderates, probably because they knew about the café stop. 

The route took us north over roads that varied in quality, but overall, fairly quiet, traffic wise.   We passed two riders waiting to join the moderates at Old, though I don’t think they had long to wait.   From Loddington, we headed through Rothwell towards Pipewell, and past what turns out to be the smallest church in Northamptonshire.  Apparently, it was also at Pipewell that the moderates, having made quicker time than expected, considered extending the ride to follow the route taken by the brisks until Graham mentioned the Ashley Alps. 

Whilst there were a few stiff climbs on the route, I think it would be safe to call them cheeky rather than vindictive. The A427 contributed a short stretch, fortunately slightly down hill, before we turned off to Middleton.  Dropping into the Welland valley, the relatively flat road started to climb upwards towards Ashley, and then climb even higher as we headed towards Wilbarston and the Milking Parlour Café, where we discovered the moderates already gazing in awe as the rolls, cakes, coffees and teas they were being served with. I now understand why Otavio and Geoff swapped to the moderates. The staff at the café were exceptionally accommodating, bringing additional tables and chairs out into the courtyard for us to enjoy more time in the sun. 

Fortunately, the route immediately after the café was downhill as we headed south.  Skirting Desborough we headed along a short stretch of lightly graveled trail, before tackling Harrington Hill after which we were rewarded by great views over the valley.  I think the pace quickened as we headed back to Moulton where the village festival was in full swing. 

Overall, a lovely route treating us to stone cottages, fields, red kites, and weather that was just right, even the occasional headwind was not a trouble.

Ride to Wilbarston, Saturday 21st May

BrianT is leading this ride and writes:

Start time:9.30am
Meeting point: Moulton Co-op, Stocks Hill, Moulton, NN3 7TB
Distance: Brisk 43 miles Moderate 37 miles
Refreshment Stop: The Milking Parlour Café at Wilbarston
Pace: Brisk 14+ mph average : Moderate 12+ mph average

This new route to Willbarston cafe takes the Brisks up to the river Welland and then returns via the cafe stop. The ride out is via Old, Loddington, Pipewell, East Carlton CP, Middleton, along the river valley to Ashley and south to the coffee stop at The Milking Parlour Cafe at Wilbarston (seating and bike parking in the courtyard ). The mods will cut short before East Carlton, direct to the cafe.


We return, skirting Desborough to Harrington Hill, Walgrave and then Moulton, by about 1pm.

As you can see from the RWGPS profile this is a moderately lumpy ride.

More details from Brian on 07722 055149

You are welcome to sign up on  CTC Northampton: Group rides (signupgenius.com)
This will help planning.

Brisk route https://ridewithgps.com/routes/39356107

Moderate route https://ridewithgps.com/routes/39356140

Ride report, Sunday 15th May

PhilL led this ride and writes:

Well we escaped!

What, from Northampton, Westminster, congestion? I hear you ask. No from the rain despite the forecast that we were to endure a morning’s rain. But the five of us who set off for the off-road ride to Cosgrove this morning stayed dry and had an enjoyable ride mostly without crossing paths with impatient motorists.
We did however cross paths once or twice with Phil Gray’s Hope group plus Miriam, Ann et al which was good to see, once at the start then again at Long Street. The group seemed well supported so chapeau Monsieur Gray.

As we approached Cosgrove Park there was a lot of gunfire from the range over the hedge- understandably we assumed it was local police deterring cyclists from riding the central lane of local motorways…..
Once in Cosgrove Park we soon raised our cycling to the level of the aqueduct mostly by shouldering the bikes and climbing some pretty steep stairs – it was pretty clear at that point who amongst us were cycle-cross riders – (not me for sure heaving an electric bike up there!)
And so to the Barley Mow pub for coffee – at which point my status as ride leader took a beating as the manager informed the group that if we’d been a tad earlier they were doing bacon sarnies and full English as part of a promotion – 9am-10.30 on a Sunday. Just what off-roaders like – sorry boys poor preparation on my part.

Much of the route back was along the canal bank with pretty rutted and corrugated surfaces switching sides every now and then. And nobody did a ‘Weller’ and took a swim in the canal- bit of a relief given that it was me that caused John to fall in all those years ago!
Once at Stoke Bruerne we started to go our separate ways, some to continue along the canal path back to town and the rest via Ashton, Hartwell etc.

Thanks for the company folks-good ride.

ps. Have ordered the bacon sandwiches for next time but it means meeting and leaving at the crack of dawn….

Off-road steady ride, Sunday 15th May

Phil Letts is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30am
Meeting point: Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA
Distance: 37 miles
Café stop: Barley Mow public house, Cosgrove
Average pace: Steady-12mph
Time expected back: 2pm

This mostly off-road ride uses a variety of surfaces ranging from gravel track, grass canal side and tarmac so a MTB or gravel bike is required not a road bike.

This route utilises a fair bit of NCN 6 and after leaving CC we pick it up through Brackmills and Great Houghton pealing off left onto the B526 to Piddington. Once through Salcey via the bridleway we make our way to Long Street, Hanslope and Castlethorpe again on NCN6. We take the gravel track into Cosgrove Leisure Park, up onto the Grand Union Canal aqueduct making our way to the coffee stop-Barley Mow pub, Cosgrove at 18 miles.

From the coffee stop there we follow the canal path all the way to Stoke Bruerne finally leaving the canal path for Ashton and Hartwell. We again pick up NCN 5 from Quinton and Preston Deanery and the gravel track through Brackmills back to base.

Here is the RideWithGPS route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/39286487

Can book up via SignUp Genius or I’m on 07867388592


Phil Letts

Ride Report, Saturday 7th May

Milton led the brisk ride and writes:

The Buttery at The Half Moon in Grendon did deliver the expected excellent service and proved worth the trip. Definitely a stop for the future.

Ten of us set off from the Canoe Centre on a Brisk/Moderate ride in warm and calm weather. At Quinton the Brisks were joined by Tim in his first CTC ride for a long while  –  a short celebration here!  –  and so it was five Brisks and six Moderates who sped off to Salcey, Hartwell and Hanslope before the divide. Brian led the Moderates, (thanks Brian  –  again!)  to the café via Yardley Hastings improving on my route in a manner that I never did understand, but which was obviously a success, and the Brisks headed off through Castlethorpe, Haversham and Little Linford before skirting Olney and heading directly to Grendon. Both groups arrived at much the same time which was due, either to my careful, indeed meticulous, planning …  or luck! 

Only eight miles back home saw us return in time for lunch, which is never bad.

Ride to Grendon, Saturday 7th May

Milton is Leading this ride and writes:

Start: Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA
Time: 9.30am
Cafe Stop: The Buttery at “The Half Moon” Grendon
Distance: Brisk 38 miles, Moderate 32 miles
Pace: Brisk 14mph+ , Moderate 12/13 mph
Expected back: Between 1 & 2pm

The Buttery Cafe, from Castle Ashby, has been moved on and is now very well sited in The Half Moon pub in Grendon. They’ve taken over half the building and have turned it into a lovely cafe …. we have always liked them for their coffee top-up, which continues!

To get there for that freebie, we all plod up the hill through Great Houghton and take the Quinton road to Salcey. We turn right and cross the M1 to Hartwell and Hanslope. At this point the “moderates” turn to Gayhurst and take the Asprey road to pass Olney on the left; then Yardley Hastings and Grendon at 24 miles.

From Hanslope the “brisks” carry on to Castlethorpe and Haversham before turning up to Little Linford, Gayhurst and then it’s the same route to Grendon, apart from a slight variation through Ravenstone! It’s 30 miles to the cafe … so perhaps take some nutrition for the ride.
A short 8 miles home follows.

Hope to see you there.

Brisk https://ridewithgps.com/routes/39158850
Moderate https://ridewithgps.com/routes/39158814

(It’s always helpful for us to pre-book on Signup: Group rides)

Ride report, Sunday 1st May

PhilJ led this ride and writes:

It’s not often we have a 100k ride on our schedule but this turned into one today. The odd U turn or two added a few extra miles onto the original distance getting us over the magic number.

Mark Faulkner returned after four years away and brought along friend Scott Dukes for the ride to Kineton.

Most of the ride out was in earlier than expected drizzle but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the nine out today. It was pretty familiar roads too, until we arrived in Fenny Compton and Avon Dassett over the Warwickshire border some time into the ride. Avon had a bit of a hill here and there, the first real challenges of the ride out and not far from the destination.  Arlescote was picturesque and cut through the bottom of a hill perfectly for us. Kineton appeared soon after with the Gilks Garage Café on the same road.

Cycle parking was excellent on the large purpose built cycle rack. The host having been a keen road cyclist himself. The food and service were excellent too. The extensive menu giving us quite a choice of fuel for the way home. Pancakes, breakfast baps, burgers, soup etc. We tucked in.

Leaving the café, a surprising route through a housing estate before we exited on the other side. Further on, further confusion about the route. Several navigators each proposing their own solution to get back on track. Reluctant to retrace our steps we continued onwards making a detour through the village of Knightcote Bottoms. Fenny Compton signs appeared again and we were back on route. Until Priors Marston that was where another U turn was required. We were soon grinding up the unavoidable climb overlooking Hill Farm at the top.

Pressing on, Preston Capes was up next. Well down first then back up as PeteB’s route dropped us into the depths of the village before asking us to climb out on a leg shredding hill. Chapeau to everyone for getting to the summit, quite visible and intimidating from a way off. Great views just about made up for it as we cruised along towards Stowe and the A5. Banbury lane provided the last of the elevated roads as it had done on the way out.

Great riding from everyone today, particularly on a tough ride back.