About Phil Johnson

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

Ride report – Sunday 19th January

PhilJ went on this ride and writes:

What must have been the coldest day of the year so far also seemed to have been the sunniest for the handful of brave souls who ventured out this morning on our annual get together with MK CTC at Stoke Bruerne.

Freezing temperatures called for cautious riding through the first five miles of the ride, all on cycle paths and all pretty much covered in frost. It wasn’t a day for heroics. Leaving the Grand Union canal onto Banbury lane finally gave us chance to increase our speed with confidence and generate that much needed warmth.

Fortunately the lane was clear of the level of frost from earlier in the ride but we weren’t out of the woods yet.

Over the A5 and onwards towards Blakesley we were constantly riding over country roads not yet exposed to the suns rays. The pace was slow, but safe. A female rider walking down the hill as we were leaving the village explained that she had just come off and we took note.

Silverstone had its fair share of ice on its roads but it took no casualties and we headed to Whittlebury for an impromptu tea stop at the Whittlebury Bakery café. The remaining few miles into Stoke Bruerne were thankfully frost free and Milton delivered us on time before continuing on to Salcey Forest with two other riders staying on his wheel.

A contingent of around 25 were present at the Navigation. Around a third representing Northampton CTC. One of the MK riders it was mentioned had been unfortunate to take a fall during their ride over.

The service at the Navigation Inn was excellent for our larger than usual cycling group and despite a mention of their one star hygiene rating the food was just as good as the service. Pints sunk and good conversation, made it an enjoyable occasion and a chance to relax for a while with our MK counterparts.

Pete Bayles and I then made the ride back to Hunsbury at sedate pace.
The entire ride coming in at only around 12.5mph average.

Thanks to Milton for leading the ride and good to see Gavin out again on his second ride with our club.

Ride to Stoke Bruerne – Sunday 19th January

Milton is leading this ride and writes:

Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA
Distance:  38 Miles in all – 26 to The Navigation – 31 to Salcey Café
Refreshment stop:  (a) The Navigation Inn  Stoke Bruerne  (b) Grounds Café  Salcey Pace: Moderate/Steady    11-13mph
Time Expected Back: About 2pm for non-eaters.

The annual Xmas lunch with Milton Keynes CTC has now been re-positioned and re-named the annual New Year lunch and takes place this Sunday at The Navigation Inn, Stoke Bruerne.

We shall ride there in great style, (of course!)  from the Canoe Centre setting out along the river until we head south down Banbury Lane through Rothersthorpe and Pattishall before cutting East to Blakesley. Through Siverstone we go until we turn North, crossing the A5 at Heathencote, and find ourselves, at about mid-day, after 26 miles of fairly quiet roads, at Stoke Bruerne.

Those who have booked lunch will be in time for a drink before eating (we should arrive by noon at the latest) and the rest of us will carry on towards the café at Salcey Forest a further 5 miles down the road having travelled through Ashton and Hartwell to get there.

It’s a simple 8 miles from the café back to the start at the Canoe Centre via Quinton and Preston Deanery. And, of course, it’s a 13 mile trip home after the meal for the guzzlers.
If we find ourselves with time to spare on the way to Stoke, the route does pass the café at Whittlebury where we might take the option of a swift coffee.

Gorgeous hot and dry weather is predicted and I understand that cleated sandals are now being sold in Decathlon – I think they’re an excellent idea and might help to keep your toes cool.


I look forward to your company  –   guzzlers and restrainers equally.

Weather forecast by  wepredicttheweatheryouwantforasmallfee.co.uk

Ride to Upper Stowe – Saturday 11th January

Tim is leading these rides and writes:

Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ
There is some car parking in the close or near the library.
Distance:  32 miles for the Moderate ride, 38 miles for the Brisk ride
Refreshment stop:  The Barn Cafe Restaurant, Upper Stowe
Pace: Moderate (11 – 12 mph), Brisk (14+ mph)
Time Expected Back: 1:30 pm

We have a pair of rides this Saturday to the café at Upper Stowe – one at a Moderate pace (approx 11 – 12 mph) and another at a Brisk pace (14+ mph).

Both weave their way along mainly quiet lanes to the south west of Northampton through villages such as Gayton, Cold Higham, Little Preston, Farthingstone and Nether Heyford. There is also the odd hill to ensure that any cake consumed at the café is well deserved, but, as it is a circular route, rest assured there are compensating downhill sections for recovery.

Hopefully our subscription to “please-can-it-be-warm-and-sunny-today.co.uk” won’t have expired and we will be blessed with glorious winter sunshine..

Meet at Overslade Close, East Hunsbury to depart at 9:30.

The routes may be viewed / downloaded from RideWithGPS

Brisk route (38 miles): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31550818

Moderate route (32 miles): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31550823

Any questions please contact Tim on 07749 477231.

Note – I’m happy to lead either the Brisk or the Moderate ride, but the other ride will be “self led” so please load the route(s) on your bike computer if you have one. I’ll make the decision on the day based on who turns up as to which ride I will be leading.

 

Ride report – Sunday 5th January

PhilJ led this ride and writes:
 
 

Having led the last ride of the decade, it was now my pleasure to lead the first ride of the decade. BrianT handed me the opportunity at the last minute due to his back injury and once again I would be using my fading memory to get around – having studied Brian’s route first of course.

As luck would have it John Winn and Alan James were on hand to back that up with Garmin’s. We welcomed new boy Gavin to the club as well.

Approaching the crossing of the Roman Road from Little Brington for the descent into Flore we separated from John Winn again. But this time John made his own way to Leisure Lakes and was there when we arrived. Clearly John isn’t 100% and we wish him well but chapeau for making it to Daventry on your own John.

Meanwhile the remaining riders wound their way through Weedon Bec and Everdon with thoughts of Newnham hill in their minds. Primarily put there by me mentioning it on several occasions! All of us reached the summit one way or the other and took a breather. At the base Alan took over navigation through town and into the café at Leisure Lakes. Darryl, unaware that the café was inside just assumed we were getting inner tubes or something 🙂

The shop is on two levels and the café is just inside the entrance. Indoor bike parking is a bonus too. The menu was typical of many cafes but very cheap, nonetheless.

Leaving Daventry, whilst we headed for Long Buckby, John headed for Norton and his own way home. We continued on the undulating roads through Ravensthorpe with Alan firmly pointing the way now. All of us eventually arrived back at BVW just after the estimated time of 1pm and went our separate ways.

Some short rides seem as hard as longer rides and for me this was one of them. Maybe it was Newnham hill killing us off or just the wind and undulating terrain. It felt like a hard ride today, but everyone rode superbly.

On our way back to Hunsbury ChrisD managed to topple over for the second time in successive weeks. The mudguard once again proving to be the cause. He won’t thank me for saying it, but we tell it how it is Chris. So there!

Ride to Daventry – Sunday 5th January

BrianT is leading this ride and writes:

 

Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Brampton Valley Way, Welford Crossing, NN6 8AA
There is a free car park for the BVW opposite the start.
Distance:  35 miles
Refreshment stop:  Leisure Lakes bike shop, Daventry.
Pace: Steady 13mph
Time Expected Back: 1pm

 

Start the new year with a short but hilly ride to Daventry via Newnham Hill , just to keep us warm !
We ride out through Harlestone, Gt Brington, Flore, Weedon Bec, Everdon & Daventry.
After a coffee stop we return via Long Buckby, Ravensthorpe, Teeton & Holdenby to BVW.
There is a free car park for the BVW opposite the start.

The ride is mainly on quiet country lanes through some attractive countryside.
See a link to the route on www.ctc-northampton.org.uk
or direct on https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31663714

Do join us for this first ride of the year.
More details from Brian  01604 622073 ( text 07722 055149)

Ride report – Sunday 29th December

PhilJ led this ride and writes:
 
 

A record turnout for the Draycote ride brought seven riders to the start of this ‘end of the decade’ outing. Eight actually rode it but we lost JohnW, a regular of this ride at Brington due to illness but soon picked up BrianT at Whilton for the rest of the ride.

The dip in the gated road at Norton was my only concern due to the build-up of gravel and mud during the recent wet weather but it took no casualties and we made our way to the second part of the gated road and the fast descent towards Welton.

Nearing Welton the group seemed to split, almost like a brisk/moderate on a Saturday morning and BrianT agreed that we should continue in two groups until we reached Draycote. RobH was riding well as was JamesC. Both in fine form despite the Christmas festivities.

James led us along the National Cycle Route cycle paths into Dunchurch and all that remained was the fast run in to Draycote Water on the Southam road.

A bustling venue greeted us, but we bagged a table without problems. Despite championing the excellent jam and cream scones beforehand, several of my group chose not to opt for them instead going for flapjacks or even sandwiches. To be fair Rob did have a scone after that too, so he’s excused!SconeSeveral lattes later we were on our way again. The ride home is longer and harder from Draycote due to the extra mileage and hills, so a chilly wind didn’t help. The hint of sunshine didn’t raise the temperature either. Turning into the flatlands of Grandborough the group stayed together at a steady pace. Willoughby passed before a climb to the church at Braunston. Another climb at Bragborough Hall soon followed as did the one back up the gated road towards Norton.

Across the second part Rob encountered a puncture and at least four of us were involved in getting Rob roadworthy again. The tyre proving almost impossible to reseat. Rob resorted to using tyre levers to get it on and surprisingly suffered no further pinch punctures.

The sun was making things more pleasant at this point as it would do all the way back home. With enough hands to spare, BrianT made his way back to Whilton accompanied by PhilL leaving five to follow the original route home.

Towards Flore Rob encountered another mechanical. Nothing serious. Onwards!

At the back of Flore the last real climb up to the canal and weary legs starting to flag.

Further on a regroup at Bugbrooke caused ChrisD to topple over at the junction as he lost concentration. A bent mudguard the result. Much to Chris’s frustration. Both our bikes now making irritating noises.

With all the remaining riders being Hunsbury based we headed back there rather than the Sixfields start point. The undulating Rothersthorpe road proving to be the final test for our fatigued group.

 

Thanks to everyone who came out today.

Superb riding.

Ride report – Boxing day

Milton led this ride and writes:

With the rain falling and the thermometer fallen, it was an excellent day for not riding a bike, and yet at this time of year there is always someone who has eaten so much, and drunk even more, who has to pay penance on the saddle.

There were four of us  –  and a splendid time we had of it too. The rain eased by the time we reached Little Houghton, nicely in time for Peter’s chain to snap. That would be a cataclysmic event for some people, (me for instance!) but for Peter, the matter was dealt with in about ten minutes and we were off again and enjoying the road to Salcey via, it being Boxing Day, the big hunt of the year at Castle Ashby – more Landrovers and Barbour jackets than you could shake a stick at!

By the time we left the café the rain really was pelting down, and so it was a dash for home. We got back by around 12.30 and the four of us, surely, took much pleasure in having payed our penances so pleasurably.