About Phil Johnson

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

CTC Northampton testimonial

John H. one of our newest club riders has kindly shared his experience of CTC Northampton:

“So glad I found CTC (thanks Robert P.) a fantastic group of cyclists offering very varied and interesting routes. Combined with Northampton Social Cyclists, CTC gives me fantastic ride options.

I particularly like the fact that although it’s an extremely well run organisation it doesn’t seem to take itself too serious and manages to maintain a fun element.

May you go from strength to strength and I look forward to many more rides with you.”

Thanks John, it’s very kind of you to give such a great recommendation about our club.

I hope you’ll continue to enjoy your time with us and enhance your cycling experience.

Phil J – Chairman CTC Northampton


Ride to Leicester – Sunday 15th September

Philip Gray is leading this ride and writes:

Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Brampton Valley Way, Welford Crossing, NN6 8AA
Distance:  71 mls
Refreshment stop:  Wistow(25 miles) & Leicester
Pace:  Steady

This Sunday CTC Northampton offers a special 71-mile ride to our historic neighbour, Leicester.

From the Brampton Valley Way, the route takes us over the Naseby hills onto gentle Leicestershire roads to a coffee stop at Wistow. A few miles later we follow Leicester’s cycle route network from Wigston to travel through suburbs, parks and the University to the heart of the city and the Richard III Centre and statue.

After a lunch stop and short historical detour, the return route uses the Soar towpath and Great Central Way to reach Blaby, where we re-join the roads through Gilmorton, Welford and the Haddons back to our start at the Brampton Crossing.

There will be stops at Wistow (25 miles) and Leicester, and an optional one at Welford on the way back.
Anyone who wants a shorter route could take the train from Market Harborough to Leicester, or drive to (say) Husbands Bosworth and join us en route (please contact me to discuss).

We start at 9.30 at the Brampton Valley Way, Welford Road. The weather forecast is currently fine (sunny, dry, 20+ degrees, light SW winds) but please check nearer the time. NB Please bring a bike lock as lunch is in a semi-urban location.

You can find the route and download a GPX file at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31069897

Please let me know if you have any questions or want to register interest. Hope some of you can join me Sunday.

Happy cycling till then,
07557 670 831

Ride report – Saturday 7th September

PhilJ went on this ride and writes:

A double digit turnout for James’s second ride in as many weeks. High pressure promising a dry ride over to Sherington at the Alban Hills Nursery Café.

On hearing this I did think our refreshment stop would be compromised by pre-schoolers running around being noisy but it wasn’t that kind of nursery as it turned out. A rather pleasant café it actually turned out to be. Indoor and outdoor seating, which we used, outside a wooden cabin type café painted in sage green. A rather quaint café stop with an excellent menu of breakfast items and the usual cake choice.

James called in the numbers to the café at the start and we set off on one steady ride for everyone. The roads ahead seemed to have been soaked somewhat by localised weather but nothing too serious. Familiar villages were ticked off along the picturesque winding route which undulated nicely along with some pretty decent tarmac to boot.

Before long the church at Newport Pagnell came into view and out of view as we turned for Sherington just a couple of miles away. Straight out the other side of the village, perched on the hill, was our destination.
A handy bike rack for cyclists is always a welcome start to any stop at a café and this one was no exception. Table service was also provided from the attentive staff who supplied us with menus and served our orders promptly. Despite being a popular cyclists café we seemed to have exclusive use of the terrace.

Suitably refuelled we headed for the beautiful Tyringham estate which is currently on the market for anyone with deep enough pockets. It’s always a lovely route through that area before using the busy roads at the other side. Navigating these eventually led us to Hartwell and Roade where a tricky set of junctions split the group briefly before James confirmed we could continue on with slightly reduced numbers. Another split, albeit voluntarily this time reduced the group further and we headed for Milton Malsor and home.

Not quite the weather we were expecting today but James’s choice of café stop was more than enough to brighten our day.

Thanks for leading the ride James.

Ride to Sherington – Saturday 7th September

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 38mls, Moderate 34mls
Refreshment stop:  Alban Hills Nursery Café
Pace:  Brisk and Moderate (possibly self led)
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 and heading for Stoke Goldington while the brisks carry on towards Hanslope, Castlethorpe and Old Haversham before climbing to Little Linford.

From here we enjoy 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 and use the worlds most pointless painted cycle path up to the nursery coffee shop. This stop is quite popular with riders and they have a dedicated cycle stand just to the right as you enter site. (If the coffee shop is too busy then we can easily detour to Emberton Park just round the corner).

Leaving the nursery we use the much better cycle path to Filgrave and enjoy the view across Beds as we ride to the beautiful Tyringham estate, there’s a great spot for a group photo on the bridge and a closer view of the hall, which is for sale if anyone fancies it.


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.


Ride report – Sunday 1st September

Peter Bayles led this ride and (slightly belatedly) writes:

This week, 13 riders joined the ride; Eleven riders set off from the Canoe Centre, joined by Tim and Elspeth at Wootton in order to enjoy a more leisurely breakfast.  We were especially pleased to welcome Sally and Alan, who joined us for the first time.

The weather conditions were very pleasant, being sunny and dry, but not too warm.  It did actually rain 20 minutes or so after the end of the ride, but most riders would have returned home by then.  Except me, of course!

It was great to have two riders in the group with electric bikes, and also I am pleased to again report that they were both very kind to the rest of us on the hills, and resisted the temptation to casually chat to those of us struggling to breathe, let alone talk back.

Around 20 miles into the ride we had our first and only mechanical issue, with Alan’s chain coming off.  This was quickly sorted and the group, after taking advantage of the short rest, were back in their saddles and thinking of coffee.

Our café stop at Castle Ashby took a little longer than usual because we had to order at the table, a luxury that we are not used to.  But we sat outside chatting in the warm sunshine and the food and coffee was excellent, so nobody was complaining.  Indeed, one or two of the group couldn’t resist eating more than was strictly necessary, with poached eggs on toast and cake going down nicely.

The return route from the café was a mere 10 miles, however the headwind, which of course had not really been apparent for the first half of the route when it was behind us, became quite noticeable.  Nevertheless, the group made it back to Northampton in good time, with most riders peeling off towards their respective destinations, leaving four riders to finish at the Canoe Centre.

Finally, I would like to point out that the ride leader did not, for once, lose his way and blame his Garmin.  Milton, if you are reading this, I think my mastery of technology has now matched yours, so I’m feeling pretty smug.

Ride to Harrold – Sunday 1st September

Peter Bayles is leading this ride and writes:

Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA
Distance:  40 mls
Refreshment stop:  The Buttery at Castle Ashby at 30 miles.
Pace:  Steady

Time Expected Back:  Around 1.00pm

Sunday’s ride is 40 miles at an average steady pace between 12 and 13 mph, riding to the East of Northampton to Harrold before turning back via our refreshment stop at Castle Ashby.  The hills are not too challenging, and as this ride has been largely stolen from one of Tim’s previous ones, it promises to be an enjoyable route.

We set off from the Canoe Centre, riding through Brackmills and on to Stoke Goldington via Quinton.  From there we pass through Olney and Lavendon to our furthest point at Harrold, then back to Castle Ashby for our refreshment stop at The Buttery.

From there it is a short 10 miles back to Northampton via Chadstone, Horton and Hackleton.  Past Chadstone, we have to go along the A428 for a short distance, which is quite busy, however there is a suitable path beside the road that we can safely use.

This is a short-ish ride for a Steady in summer and the weather looks to be favourable, so if there are any riders feeling particularly energetic, the outward leg can possibly be extended by around 6 miles (or more) at Harrold by adding a loop through Carlton, Felmersham and Odell.  Personally, I will be enjoying a wedding gathering on the Saturday before the ride, so I’ll stick to the route!

As usual we look forward to welcoming all riders, and especially any new riders who may wish to join us.

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

Route on RidewithGPS:


Ride to Canons Ashby – Saturday 24th August

James Cairncross 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 41 mls, Moderate 36 mls
Refreshment Stop: Canons Ashby NT Cafe
Average Pace:   Brisk ~15mph, Moderate ~12mph

Time Expected Back:  Around 1.30pm

This Saturday’s ride takes us from East Hunsbury library over to the National Trust café at Canons Ashby.

Leaving the library we head towards Quinton where the Moderate riders take an early detour towards Courteenhall and into Blisworth, while the Brisks take a longer route through Salcey Forest, Hartwell and Stoke Bruerne. From Blisworth both groups head to Gayton and Eastcote before joining Banbury Lane at Dalscote. From here we cross the A5 and head straight to the café via Foxley and Adstone.

The café is very pleasant with an attractive courtyard if the weather is good, they also have a nice giftshop so make room in your jersey pockets for tea-towels, candles and expensive gardening implements. Once stocked up we head north to Little Preston, spot the signs to Everdon and avoid this by turning south again to Maidford. From here we straight-line it downhill to Bugbrooke and home into Northampton via Rothersthorpe.

This is a fairly easy going route with no major hills. The largest climb of the day comes early as we head to Quinton, and the steepest hill is split into two by the A5. The weather forecast looks good and as always new riders are welcome.