Philip led this ride and writes:
Five riders met at Moulton on Sunday at the unusually early time of 8.30 am, an attempt to outwit the forecasted heat. Or so I’m told. Meanwhile, despite being leader, I was at last week’s start – Brampton Valley Way. Finally realising my error, I raced over to Moulton, luckily ringing Peter on the way, just in time to prevent the group departing without me in head-shaking puzzlement.
Everyone was very decent and we set off, picking up John W on the way, on what proved a memorable cycling day weatherwise – basically, the South of France imported to GB. Also with us was Alan J, another distance cyclist, warming up for his massive upcoming Audax (the one that starts and finishes in London…).
A couple of incidents made the morning more interesting than we’d have liked. First Brian had a close call with a car – not strictly anyone’s fault (be careful crossing the Braybrooke Road from Harrington, the bend is blinder than you think…); then Milton’s rear gear lever entirely lost its sense of purpose. John W’s repair kit came in handy yet again to at least ensure Milton had two gears, as he headed for home. His review: “I had two gears, but they were both crackers! Sometimes you wonder why we have so many of the things!”
Things settled down as we headed north over the lumpy Dingley road into the Welland Valley at Welham and over the multiple climbs of Rutland around Hallaton, which Chris enjoyed on his first visit to the smallest county, the hidden gem on our doorstep.
At Stockerston, the team was sensing the coffee and cake ahead, so no-one volunteered to join Philip (me) on a solo ascent of the south side of Stockerston Hill (without oxygen). Half an hour later, as Philip came into Cottingham/ Middleton, there was a sense of bees circling the honey pot as cyclists from various clubs descended on the Rockingham Forest Wheelers’ Open Day at their charming limestone clubhouse.
The Wheelers had laid on barista coffee, excellent cake and warm food and we just managed to find a table outside, after ordering from a new worker behind the bar, one Giles B! It was good to see various old friends. The Tour was on TV inside, there was a cycling art exhibition by Maxine Dodds and cycling memorabilia on display upstairs. All perfect!
Eventually we departed for the road home, into a welcome southerly breeze. Heading gently down towards Rushton, we ignored the “road closed” sign, only to find that it really meant “closed”, at the bridge over the railway line, which is currently being electrified. After a 1.5 mile detour we were back on track.
Philip left the group at Moulton and, despite a ride of about 57 miles as a group, got home relatively early thanks to the early start.
Thanks everyone for great company and not teasing me too much about my wrong start! Also to Brian for the group photos and Peter for the view of the clubhouse.