About Phil Johnson

I am the current chairman of CTC Northampton - part of Cycling UK.

Ride report – Sunday 17th November

Milton led this ride and writes:

The three riders from Hunsbury arrived at the start of this ride at Moulton soaked to the skin and feared that the weather was determined to ruin the day’s fun. In fact, it never rained again and, as the winds were light, it was an almost perfect day – coldish it has to be said –  for a ride.

Nine set off from Moulton for the 55 miles return journey to Cafe Ventoux in deepest Leicestershire. There was a good deal of mud, but the waterlogged roads had drained by the time we passed and our route, both going and coming was clear for us.

We had a puncture on the way and, the practice we had of surrounding the victim and offering loud and contrary advice on the best way to deal with it would serve us well on the return journey when we had two more of the things. Lucky Peter, Daryll and John Wr to have so much generously offered help from people lounging around with their hands in their pockets!

It took until about 3.30 before the last cyclist finally made it to Moulton, and it was beginning to get dark. Lights are essential for the longer rides at this time of year.

Good to see Andy again for his second ever trip with us, and Steve for his first. Both seemed perfectly able to keep up with what was a fairly quick ride.

Ride to Tugby – Sunday 17th November

Milton is leading this ride and writes:

Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Moulton Co-op, Stocks Hill, Moulton, NN3 7TB
Distance: 55 miles
Climb: 2,900ft
Refreshment Stop: Café Ventoux,  Tugby,  Leics
Average Pace:   12 – 14mph
Time Expected Back:  2-3 pm approx


Café Ventoux has had a chequered past year or so. A cycling café that shut on Sundays and then, after a predictably furious reaction from cyclists, shut on Saturdays too! This didn’t endear it to our community and we haven’t visited much in recent times. It is now under new ownership and open seven days a week and I thought we’d celebrate with a visit as it is a splendid place dedicated to cycling. A recce a couple of weeks ago confirmed that it was worth the effort.

It’s a pleasant route, and only a little challenging with just under 3,000 feet of climbing, but  within the reach of nearly all of us. We get to Café Ventoux by taking a north easterly route which skirts the Western edges of Desborough and we return via the very Eastern tip of Market Harborough. Going up we take the same route to Harrington that we will enjoy from Harrington on the return. We then swing east and head north via Stoke Albany, Ashley, Medbourne and Hallaton before reaching our destination at Tugby. The return to Harrington is a very rural route passing Goadby and Welham before touching Market Harborough and then Braybrooke. From Harrington, we continue back to Moulton, at the finish, via Walgrave and Holcot.

The Outward and Homeward legs are each just under 30 miles, so something to drink and a bite to eat wouldn’t go amiss.

The forecast is surprisingly fabulous for the time of year with highs of 28C predicted by the forecaster I always use called wepredictwhateverweatheryouwantforasmallfee.couk

It should be a really attractive day out   —    it’ll be good to see you



Ride report – Saturday 9th November

Chris Duff led this ride and writes:

The coldest start to the year at -1 degrees and the prospect of rain meant that only the ‘committed’ were out this morning.

Not yet ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’ but certainly ‘gloves warming on the radiators’ before setting off.

Five intrepid riders took up the gauntlet this morning and, although dressed like terrorists at first, made a good pace out to Gayton (or should that be Dayton?), then Dalscote  Pattishall and Blakesley.

The ride leader was ‘shown up’ by not having brought a spare pair of gloves with James C proving (as ever) to be the smart, well organised one.

Phil G left us at Bradden, to protect himself from a nasty cold and the remaining four then went on to take the longer ride in their stride.

What a lovely autumnal morning, iconic: golden trees, great views, mysterious mist – there was nothing not to like.

Faster now through Wappenham and KOM through Helmdon and on to Sulgrave on quiet roads.

Forge Coffee was by mutual acclaim a brilliant place to stop, lovely food and cake and the best coffee for miles.

A hot stove completed an idyllic stop and after much convivial chat and second coffees we reluctantly left to face the prospect of rain.

Even faster now, we raced the westerly rain front – winning mostly – through Moreton Pinkney and Canons Ashby and then to Maidford.

Darryl and Pete S were disconcertingly able to hold high-brow conversations at 18 miles an hour.

James C to glide up steep hills with no apparent effort.

Farthingstone and the hill to Upper Stowe did not dent the pace and urgent progress was made to avoid the glowering weather front.

‘Tired legs’ were ignored by me through Kislingbury and then all swiftly home to Hunsbury before the worst of the weather.

Then to enjoy the welcome embrace of centrally heated homes and the complacent inner glow of a route completed in good style.

‘Hail to the kings of the road’ on this Autumnal brisk ride out.

Ride to Culworth – Saturday 9th November

Chris Duff 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 45 mls, Moderate 40 mls

Refreshment Stop: Forge Coffee

Average Pace:   Brisk ~15mph, Moderate ~12mph

Time Expected Back:  Around 2.00pm

The main route for the moderate riders is Milton Malsor, Gayton, Dayton, Pattishall, Blakesley, Woodend, Weston and Culworth.

For the brisk riders there is a slightly wider circuit after Blakesley that goes to Bradden, Wappenham and Helmdon then turns West to Sulgrave before turning north for Culworth.

The café has great coffee and good storage for the bikes in the garden at the back.  The food is limited in range but should have good cake and some other snacks all local sourced with vegetarian options.

From Culworth the route back is Moreton Pinkney, Cannons Ashby, Adstone, Maidford, Farthingstone, Upper Stowe, Nether Heyford, Bugbrooke, Kislingbury, Hunsbury.

New riders would be very welcome.

For any further questions, please feel free to contact Chris Duff on 07770 976291

Brisk Route:


Moderate Route:


Ride to Yelvertoft – Sunday 3rd November

Peter Bayles is leading this ride and writes:

Start time  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  TGI Friday’s, Sixfields, Northampton NN5 4EG
Distance:  Steady 41 mls,
Refreshment Stop: Timeless Tea Rooms, Crick
Average Pace:   13mph,

Time Expected Back:  Around 2.00pm

The route out follows a NW direction from our start at Sixfields, passing through the Althorp Estate, Long Buckby, West Haddon, Cold Ashby and Yelvertoft.  Our coffee stop at 24 miles is at the Timeless Tea Rooms at Crick, which is a nice little café, albeit a bit snug, although at our time of day, I’m sure we will be accommodated.

The return leg is via Norton, Whilton, Nobottle and back through Upton to Sixfields.

Hopefully the weather will not be too unkind – a cool, cloudy day is forecast, but no black clouds as yet.

As always, new riders are very welcome to join us.

For any further questions, please feel free to contact Peter Bayles on 07979850096

You can find the route on RidewithGPS:

Off road ride to Moulton – Saturday 26th October

Phil Letts is leading this ride and writes:

Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Brampton Valley Way, Welford Crossing, NN6 8AA
Distance:  35 mls
Refreshment stop:  Outpost Bedford Rd.
Pace:  Moderate

A mostly off road ride exploring many of the new housing developments in Northampton and their associated cycle paths. Taking in developments at Dallington, Timken, St. Crispins, Princess Marina, Upton Park, Brackmills, Buckton Fields etc.

A fair few stretches are off road so MTB or gravel bike required not road bike.

I’m on 07867388592
Phil Letts

Ride to Marston Vale -Sunday 20th October

James Cairncross is leading this ride and writes:

Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA
Distance:  55 mls
Refreshment stop:  Forest Centre Café
Pace:  Steady

This Sunday’s Steady ride takes us from the Canoe Centre to our café stop at the Millennium Country Park, Marston Vale. Leaving the Canoe Centre we head south to Horton and on to Stoke Goldington and Gayton, taking the turn eastwards towards Sherington and tackling the mighty Chicheley Hill.

Hill beaten, we freewheel to North Crawley then tackle an easier climb to Cranfield before we’re rewarded with a long descent into Marston Moretaine and coffee at the country park, roughly at the halfway point. Leaving the café we retrace our steps out of the valley, this time heading north to Astwood and Newton Blossomville then west towards Emberton and Olney (making use of the redway alongside the A509).

From here we take our usual route around the back of town, up to Yardley Hastings and back to the start via Castle Ashby and Cogenhoe.
This is a fairly lumpy ride with two or three short but sharp climbs, however each one is followed by a nice descent and nobody will be left behind!