About nfc153

Cyclist, music-lover and engineer with qualifications in Being Nice to People (still working on that) and too much thinking time on his hands.

Sunday 5th October – To Leicestershire! – Ride Report

Brian (our secretary) stepped into the breach to lead this ride and has followed it up with the day’s experiences. In his own words:


This was Milton’s special hilly ride to the rural centre Wistow, home of the Maize Maze, on the outskirts of Leicester. We were not getting lost there, however, as we had John navigating beyond Guilsborough into Leicestershire, territory familiar to him.

As 7 riders left Moulton on a chilly but sunny morning, Milton was tucking into a late cooked breakfast contemplating when he could get back on his bike! We, though, were heading North literally into the hills of Brixworth, Spratton and on to Guilsborough. By Naseby, riders were stripping off winter tops as the sun warmed the day. By this time 2 riders had pealed off making for home leaving just 5 to make it to lunch, although not before we had encountered one of the “mean hills” we had been warned of.

Arriving at noon we sat out in the sunshine enjoying the food and company at the rural centre which was not as busy as expected, but with plenty of other cyclists. Eventually with some reluctance we tore ourselves from the sunny spot and headed back, contemplating the next “mean hill” at Gumley. Having gained height the views were great and the roads especially quiet as we headed for Saddington.

We were looking forward to a tea stop at the Old Vicarage in Naseby when Eleanor’s chain dropped on the road like a streak of oil. We had 3 chain tools and a spare link between us and Eleanor was soon on the road again but not before she had called out her chief mechanic with the car to meet us for tea.

The Old Vicarage did not disappoint with the tea and cakes and even a bacon butty for some as we again sat out in the garden. Well refreshed we now were down to 3 riders and it was nearly all downhill to Moulton. (well Brixworth hill ? ,we hardly noticed after Gumley) with the temperature just starting to cool as the sun dropped.

Good route, good weather and good company what more can you want from a ride !
Thanks to Milton for the route maps and for laying on perhaps the last of the Summer weather.

Ride report – Sunday 27th July – Hellidon

IainD, our Rides Secretary, went on this ride and writes:

Yesterday morning, 7 of us – including a remarkably fresh looking PhilL – gathered at the Canoe Centre in the Bedford Road.

Also there was the leader for the day’s Sky Ride, which was heading off along the riverside at 10:00. We wished him luck as we were starting out in the same direction.

Shortly after 09:30, Milton led us out through the town along the river, and then the canal, before emerging onto Banbury Lane to head for the hills of western Northamptonshire. Litchborough, Farthingstone (at which point PhilL left us, being under strict instructions to build mileage slowly. He did tackle the steepest hill on the ride before peeling off though. I’m sure that was a coincidence), Everdon, Badby and Catesby came and went fairly quickly. So quickly, in fact, we arrived at lunch before the pub was open!

After settling down to sandwiches, baguettes and chips for an hour, we took to the road again with Milton promising us that (almost) all the hills were done with, and it proved to be a remarkably level trip back through Charwelton, Preston Capes and Maidford before we dropped over the A5 and then had to climb again to Gayton, working our way round the south of the town and down the last hill through Great Houghton (where of course we’d followed the route of the Women’s Tour 12 weeks earlier. Anyone know what Vos and Armitstead were up to yesterday?).

Many thanks to Milton for laying on such an interesting route, ordering the tailwind for the return leg and showing us some different stretches of tarmac in an area we all thought we knew pretty well already.

Curate’s egg GPS track of the route can be found here: https://www.endomondo.com/workouts/379944685/5180977

Ride Report – Leisure Plus Ride 19th July

Milton, another ride leader, went on this ride and writes

On a mild damp day, 7 of us met up for a short 30 mile ride to Kelmarsh Buddhist Centre for coffee and cake via Holcott and Harrington and returned to Moulton by means of  Arthingworth and Scaldwell and not the Brampton Valley Way as first planned. Pouring rain during our tea break meant the BVW surface would be less than good for the bikes, and our esteemed Chairman was, after all, out on his fine Bianchi!

A lovely day, even in the wet, and with three first timers, including the visiting Ken from Morecambe, a good club day.

Tyre Tip

No Ride Report this week (it was the big group AGM yesterday) so I thought I’d share with you a tyre tip with you instead. And the timing’s not bad given that we’re now in the winter riding season (that’d be “winter” then) and the maintenance classes are due to start this week.

Some of us believe that if we get tyre back on the wheel, we’re done.

Others, however, get all pedantic about lining the label up with the valve. Something about it “looking right” and finding “things”.


It’s quicker, that’s why.

The bendy bike suffered a p*nct*re last week, and I couldn’t find what had caused it.

Not until I found the hole in the inner tube, that is, lined it up against the tyre and then squeezed that bit of tyre very, very hard. The stone that caused it wasn’t visible or feelable unless you put an immense amount of pressure on the tyre (which, of course, is what happens when you ride).

You know why it’s important to find the cause I trust …

So, when I put the tyre back on, I spent that extra 2 seconds making sure it was refitted exactly as it had come off :


all lined up, ready for next time.

Rides – 12th and 13th October

Yes, it’s a double-header October Weekend this Saturday/Sunday.


On Saturday afternoon, we will be running a leisure ride combining the delights of backstreet Northampton with the more rural pleasures of Pitsford reservoir.

We’ll head briefly in towards town, hopefully down the Brampton Valley Way (if that section’s open again) (it is – thanks to the PhilL for confirmation), then up through residential streets and on cycle paths towards Moulton where we’ll strike out for the Reservoir, passing over the dam at the end, before making our way through Brixworth back down to the Brampton Valley Way and a well-deserved rest stop at the Brampton Halt, almost within spitting distance of our start/finish point.

Important note: A couple of route sections have been spared tarmac to date so, although mountain bikes won’t be required, it may be idea to leave the super-skinny race tyres at home.

Join us at the Brampton Valley Way, Welford Road Crossing (free car parking available), 2pm Saturday.


On Sunday, we will be running the local annual Tourist Trophy event from East Farndon village hall.

Max Scott has spent many, many hours assembling this interesting event (an explanation of its various practices and diversions can be found here) which covers navigation, local knowledge and touring preparation. And, of course, some riding although that’s usually quite easy on these events.

The entry fee of £5 goes to benefit local CTC funds.

Join us at East Farndon village hall, East Farndon, 9.30 am Sunday.
Further details available from Max Scott.


See you at one, other, or both.

The Rutland Ride – 2 Takes

We have two different perspectives on last Sunday’s ride to Rutland.


Brian’s Account
Following a request by email 7 riders assembled early at Moulton and we made a prompt start at 9.30am heading off north towards East Carlton Country Park for the coffee stop. The weather was fine and sunny with autumnal temperatures. However, within the first hour we were all stripping off layers as the temperature rose to a very pleasant summer’s day, just great for being out on a bike.

Phil L was only out for the morning but as he peeled off we were joined by John C as we approached the Country Park for coffee, where we sat outside enjoying the sun.

A long downhill sweep took us into the valley, past Eyebrook Reservoir and on to the caravan site of Sweet Hedges where we received a warm welcome and enjoyed a selection of roast lunches. It was tempting to stay in the rural setting enjoying the mid-day sun and good company, but as we were only half way we pressed on towards Uppingham before turning home through the ‘seductive’ Vale of Welland (Philip’s words although the long hill out of the vale provoked a different comment ! ). The route was then a switchback of hills on quiet roads through the hamlets of Medbourne and Weston, to the hidden Dale of Dingley, before re-entering the Shire with an ascent to the plateau of Harrington and Lamport and back to Moulton at about 4pm.

If you read the original rides email we did not fall victim to any Orcs, Nazgul or the rumoured Worm of Uppingham, but we did cover the 55 miles and it was fairly hilly with a little more than 1000 metres of climbing. Although many of the roads were familiar this was a new route and it amazes me that there is such variety of day rides in the county (and beyond). Well done Philip.


The Leader’s Account
On Sunday last, the 6th day of October, seven members of the Fellowship of the Flying Wheel left Moulton in the Shire for a challenging ride through many hills and dales, seeking the Kingdom of Rutlandia.

We were blessed with clement weather, perhaps the last of the summer. But during our journey, the Raucous Drongo was called home – to be replaced later by the Sabbath Rider at Rothwell.

We restored ourselves with the secret brews of East Carlton Country Park cafe, before continuing through the quiet, grand countryside near Eyebrook Reservoir. We followed the path less travelled to the well concealed restaurant of Sweet Hedges, where generous meals in the plain country style awaited us.

But here, as he consulted the ancient OS map, an awful realisation dawned upon our leader. This was not Rutlandia! In fact our route stayed just within the border of the Shire of Leicester, while the Mountains of Rutlandia towered overhead…

Forced to return without entering that fabled Kingdom, we wended our way back, over long energy-sapping hills and short sharp drumlins. But our spirits were lifted up by views of the Welland Valley, Dingley Wood and the Harrington Uplands.

We had ridden 56 miles and climbed over 3400 feet. For those who made it back to the Shire of Northampton, it was clear: another expedition will one day enter the Kingdom and penetrate its mysteries. The Fellowship shall ride again!


(I don’t know what the leader’s been putting is his cocoa lately, but I’ve never seen mountains in Rutland. A couple of sharpish hills, yes, but mountains? The mind boggles. – Ed)

Cycle 4 Cynthia 2013

Last Sunday saw the annual Cycle 4 Cynthia Ride out of Althorp.

The event raises money for the Friends of Cynthia Spencer Hospice (a Northampton centre working with the currently incurable) and, this year, for MacMillan Cancer Support. It’s appropriate that the routes start from Althorp as Cynthia Spencer was the grandmother of the hospice’s current president, Earl Spencer, so the two institutions are inextricably linked.

The ride is a popular one – so much so that we don’t normally have a club run on the same day – attracting riders from around the country as well as the local area, with a great choice of routes (family-friendly 5 mile, comfortable 25-mile and hilly 50 mile) (and this year, some gorgeous weather).

I believe even celebrities like Allan Lamb, Isla St.Clair and Jo Whiley were to be seen on the course, as well as Saints coach Jim Mallinder (good job there wasn’t a match on Sunday Jim!). Allan, Jo and Jim, it seems, are regulars on this ride so if you want to be mixing with the Great and the Good …

Anyhow, since I was unfortunate enough to miss this year’s event, I haven’t really got much more to say on the matter. Local rider Nick Humphries has, however, and you can read his piece over on his Cycling Downhill blog here : Cycle 4 Cynthia 2013

Time to get fit for next year’s ride methinks.

Competition! aka “Where Is It ?” Number 2.

Another one to see how widely-travelled our readers are.

Where in the UK is this magnificent piece of artwork to be found?


To give others a chance, previous winners are banned from entering for the first few days so Ian, you’ll have to wait your turn.

I should point out, for the benefit of the good folk of *****, that the sign hasn’t been vandalised. I’ve just covered up a name that might have given the game away.

Competition – aka “Where Is It?” – UPDATE


you’ll remember we asked you where this photo was taken:


Well, we have a winner!

As the detail in this photo shows,:


the statue is indeed that of James Starley, inventor of the modern bicycle, and it’s located in his home city of Coventry, in Greyfriars Park between the station and the city centre.

It seems I owe Ian Macsporran a cup of tea, and I’ll have to think of something trickier for next time!

Competition! aka “Where Is It?”

Hi all

I thought it was time to see how well-travelled our readers are, so here’s the first in an irregular series of cycling-related “Where Am I?” type competitions.

“Competition?” you say? Well yes, except that there’s no prize except the kudos of being revered as a cyclist who knows their geography. And possibly a cup of tea or coffee on the next ride if you choose to ride out with us.

So, here’s today’s mystery location:

1. It’s in the UK (note the weather 😦 )
2. It’s less than half a mile from a railway station (800m to you metric types).
3. It’s position next to a cycle path is appropriate.

So, where is it?

Answers and guesses in the Comments section below and I’ll give you a week to work it out.

NB: Some details of the picture have been obscured to make it just a little less obvious.