Ride Report (or rather, Lunch Report) – Sunday 10th December

Brian, our Secretary, writes this report on our Christmas lunch at Stoke Bruerne:

Well, the snow came (about four inches of it) as forecast and at 9.00 a.m. the texts and phone calls were flowing with plans for the morning.  Were we riding to “The Navigation” or not?  The hard men went out on their bikes to test the snow, Peter on his knoblies and Alex with a cunning plan to ride to the lunch venue along the canal, complete with wet suit and snorkel just in case it was quicker in the canal.  However, it was the wrong kind of snow and sanity reigned and we grouped up in cars!

Unfortunately a few in the west found too many cars blocking the roads whilst those of us in the east were lucky to have the roads to ourselves.  Once onto the A45 and A508 it was plain sailing to The Navigation.  Ten of us made it from Northampton and six from Milton Keynes.  We almost had the place to ourselves as the expected 130 other customers that day did not turn up!

The meal was very good as was the company and I think we were glad to have made the effort.

Thanks to Mike Harris (CTC Milton Keynes) and Philip Gray (CTC Northampton) for organising the lunch and reminding us what food we had ordered!

Ride Report – Saturday 9th December

Milton led this pair of rides on Saturday morning.  (He also checked out the first few miles of the routes earlier in the morning because it had been particularly cold overnight – dedication!)  He writes:

The weather promised cold and ice and slippy roads and offered, in the end, only a bit of a chill.  The roads were free of frost and ice and mostly dry and the sun shone almost all the time.  It was on the cool side, but only the wimps stayed at home  ….  that means most of you of course!

Six of us met up at the Canoe Centre and three of the six were new to us and one of the remainder was a rare(ish) visitor, Geoff (surely we stop for coffee every 5 miles) which left only Giles and myself from the usual club riff raff.

Giles and John C took the 38-mile brisk option and from Salcey headed west to Hartwell before taking the road to Castlethorpe, Haversham and Litttle Linford and then turning north to reach Olney arriving about 10 minutes after the 31-mile moderate group who had got there via Stoke Goldington, Ravenstone and Weston Underwood.  Fine scones and maple-syruped pancakes were enjoyed alongside scrambled egg with smoked salmon and toasted teacakes before a quick visit to the adjacent bike shop – Pedalz – where Nigel G nearly cracked and bought a bike, and we were off home via Yardley Hastings, Castle Ashby and Cogenhoe.

Good cycling, good weather, good food and excellent company meant yet another Saturday morning well spent.

Morning rides to Olney – Saturday 9th December

Milton is leading Saturday morning’s rides – two groups (brisk and moderate) – and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Canoe Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA.  (The Canoe Centre will probably be open all day on Saturday but, if it’s not, your car will get trapped behind the car park barriers.  Better to park just outside where there is lots of space!)
Distance: Brisk 38 miles / Moderate 31 miles
Refreshments: Courtyard Brasserie, Olney (23 miles / 16 miles)
Return by: 1.00 p.m. – 1.30 p.m.

The difference in length for the two groups is all on the outward journey to Olney.  At about twenty-three miles for the brisk group and sixteen for the moderate group, the opportunity for a perfectly synchronised meeting at the Courtyard Brasserie depends on the Brisks showing some real pace.

Both groups set off up the hill through Great Houghton, Preston Deanery and Quinton before passing the Salcey Café.  Whilst the Brisks turn right into Hartwell and on through Hanslope, Castlethorpe and Haversham, the Moderates continue through the forest and on to Stoke Goldington before turning up through Ravenstone and Weston Underwood to Olney.  Meantime the Brisks (hopelessly knackered by now)  are heading through Little Linford, Tyringham and Filgrave before getting to Olney via the A509.  (Oh stop moaning, it’s only a mile downhill and there’s a perfectly good cyclepath for most of the way!).

After coffee and whatever together, it’s an attractive return through Yardley Hastings, Castle Ashby, Cogenhoe and Little Houghton to the Canoe Centre. We ought to make it back for lunchish  –  say between 1.00 p.m. and 1.30 p.m.

It’ll be a lovely warm, dry, sunny day with little breeze (don’t fact-check that!) and I look forward to your company.

Questions?  Milton is on 07845 967537.

Sunday 19th November – Ride to Woodford Mill

Milton is leading this ride and writes:

Start time  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point Moulton Co-op (Stocks Hill, NN3 7TB)
Distance 45 miles
Refreshment stop Woodford Mill (23 miles)
Pace Steady

This is only 45 miles, which we will take at no more than a steady pace (somewhere in the 12 – 14 m.p.h. range) to a fine coffee stop on the river at Ringstead where, as the sun will be shining and only the slightest breeze will be blowing, we will sit overlooking the river in style.  It’s not an especially hilly route either.

From Moulton we head to Sywell, Mears Ashby, Wilby and cross the river to Wollaston. Then it’s Wymington, Newton Bromsgrove, Caldecott and Chelveston.  We skirt the western edges of Raunds and cross the A45, before going through Ringstead towards the river and our coffee stop at the Mill.

Home is through Great Addington, The Cranfords, St Andrew and St John and then south through Burton Latimer.  We toy with the edges of Finedon before turning west along one of my favourite roads, The Slips.  To the Harrowdens, Mears Ashby, Sywell again and then home to Moulton.

We ought to be back by mid-afternoon, say 3 p.m. at the latest.  It could easily be by 2 p.m.

It’ll be good to see you.

Ride to Barby & Everdon, Sunday 29th October

James who is leading this ride writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:
Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road Crossing, NN6 8AA.  There is a BVW car park a little way up Brampton Lane.
Distance: 52 miles
Refreshment stops: Barby Garden Centre (16 miles), Plough Inn, Everdon (34 miles)
Pace: Steady

This Sunday’s steady ride is taken from the Macsporran archive.  Whilst the great man himself is (sadly) unable to join us, the route he’s plotted is fun, very scenic and – if Tuesday’s recce is anything to go by – full of surprises.

Starting off from Brampton Valley Way, we’ll head out towards Norton via Great Brington and Whilton.  Once in Norton we then take a delightfully quiet, albeit ‘agricultural’ lane in the direction of our first coffee stop: Barby Garden Centre (16 miles).  Suitably refreshed, we’ll continue on through Willoughby and Priors Marston, where we’ll be greeted by a short – but rather sharp – climb, which will strain the lungs and legs of even the fittest among us.  Heading on towards Badby and then Everdon, we’ll again be on some very quiet lanes populated by wandering hens, lost sheep and the occasional duck pond.

Our lunch stop will at be The Plough Inn in Everdon. It’s a very welcoming place, popular with other cyclists and walkers, and serves a varied menu including an impressive array of local ales and, err, gins.  It’s quite a quirky joint with its own junk/bric a brac shop in the garden, where the range of sailor’s hats, ancient sheepskin coats and old brogues – all at very reasonable prices – is sure to satisfy the most discerning of CTC members.

The final stage of our journey sees us heading us back to Northampton via Nether Heyford, Bugbrooke and Harlestone.

At the risk of overselling it, I’ll repeat that this is a really nice route – not too demanding -with some lovely picturesque sections.  Whilst there are a few steep(ish) areas, it’s fair to say its undulating rather than hilly with a total distance around the 52 mile mark.

More details from James on 07841 933046.

Saturday 7th October – Morning rides to Loddington & Wellingborough

Phil L has planned these rides and writes:

Start time 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point Canoe Centre
Length 44 miles (brisk); 40 miles (moderate)

Riding out via Sywell, Old, Loddington, Orlingbury and Irthlingborough to Wellingborough Pumphouse for coffee.

Returning via Wollaston, Grendon and Cogenhoe. Brian will be leading the shorter moderate ride.

Any questions? Phil is on 07867388592

Sunday 3rd September – Naseby Figure-of-8

Meeting point: Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / A5099 crossing – near the Windhover.  There is a BVW car park a little way up Brampton Lane.
Meeting time: 9.30 a.m.
Distance: 40 miles
Speed: Tourist speed – with time to stop and stare!
Refreshments: Elevenses, if required, at Kelmarsh Buddhist Centre (18 miles).  Main stop at Naseby Vicarage where we are booked in at 12.30 p.m. / 1.00 p.m. (28 miles)

This Sunday’s ride is a little different in that we will be visiting well-known places but pausing from time to time and trying to appreciate them as if we were seeing them for the first time.
From BVW we will ride via the Harlestones (viewing the Dovecot), Althorp (gazing at the House over the ha-ha), Great Brington (contemplating dead Spencers), East Haddon (the old water pump), Holdenby (considering the fate of kings), Cottesbrooke (the wealth of turkeys) and possibly stopping at Kelmarsh (as described by James in the last ride report).
Then a tour of Clipston, Sibbertoft and Naseby takes us around the viewpoints of the Battle of 1645 before arriving at the Vicarage where we have booked the large and grand table for lunch.
On the return, which is only twelve more miles, we shall inspect “probably the most impressive seventh-century building north of the Alps” at Brixworth before emerging from the country park at Pitsford and returning to our start point via Chapel Brampton.
We should be back by 2.30 p.m.
The reason for this ride’s different pace and approach is that we will have a visitor from Aachen in Germany with us.  Back in 2013, Philip G organised a twinning visit there for CTC Northampton members where we were hosted by ADFC Aachen members.  (The ADFC is the German equivalent of the CTC.)  Eight of us went – and Alex and I were hosted by Sabine Neitzel.  Alex and I stayed with Sabine again last year and now she is visiting Northampton for a long weekend.
Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!
Ian
Questions? 07960 302095

Ride report: Saturday 26th August

James went on this ride, led by Milton, and writes:

Twelve of us departed from Moulton under conditions very reflective of the ride organiser’s temperament: grey, sullen and slightly damp.  At the same time, his the choice of destination – the World Peace Café at the Nagarjuna Buddhist centre in Kelmarsh – typified his more positive qualities, e.g., his lifelong commitment to the enlightened one’s emphasis on equanimity and loving-kindness as the core values of daily existence.

In order to encourage more people to come out and ride, Milton – in a familiar display of thoughtfulness – had devised faster and slower route options.  The ‘proper’ brisk route followed a slightly more circuitous path to Kelmarsh – going via Orton – than did the moderate one, which was shorter by something like five miles. Of course, the division also gave some of the slightly faster and, err, more competitive riders the challenge of trying to catch up and overtake the second group before they reached Kelmarsh.  It was childish, but I did it …

As we progressed through Holcot, Hannington, Walgrave and Old, the sun started making increasingly frequent appearances and by the time the brisk set diverted off to Orton it was warming up nicely.  A couple of the quicker riders caught up with the “moderates” just outside of Harrington and sped on to bag some good seats in the café‘s serene back garden.  The remainder of the two groups all arrived within fifteen minutes or so, and it wasn’t long before we were all enjoying the high quality fayre we’ve come to associate with the caféand its delightful staff.  Some of us attempted to respect the Buddha’s emphasis on frugality by just taking green tea and a few biscuits.  Unfortunately, one rider, i.e., Giles ‘Bake Off’ Barringham, was less sensitive to this precept and keen to declare he was eating his fifth (large) piece of cake in five days.

By the time we departed the sun was in its full glory and this continued to be the case as we came back en masse via Haselbech, Cottesbrooke, Brixworth and Holcot.  Once back at Moulton it was blazingly hot and bright, both which served to top off a most enjoyable little jaunt.

As ever, sincere thanks must go to Milton for his patience and beautifully devised routing.

Rides to Kelmarsh – Saturday 26th August

Milton is organising two rides (moderate & brisk) from Moulton Co-op and writes:

Both rides will leave from the Co-op at 9.30 heading to Holcot, Hannington, Walgrave and Old. From Old we take the lovely single track road towards Mawsley and then head towards Harrington. The moderate ride will then cross the A14 and turn left on the outskirts of Harrington and go to Kelmarsh. The brisk group will take an additional 5 mile loop that takes us east through Orton before turning west again and returning almost to the start of the loop before following the other group to Kelmarsh.

After coffee and cake at the Buddhist Centre it’s an attractive trip home via Haselbech, Cottesbrooke and Brixworth.  It’ll make a change going down the steep hill at Haselbech for once, rather than climbing it!

It’s quite a short flat ride for both groups so I hope that one or two people who might normally be nervous of their ability to stay with the riders might venture out on the moderate ride. And for the brisk ride, I’m expecting it to be fairly quick. The loop is put in as a bit of a test for us all to see if we can reach coffee at the same time, or before, the others.

We can expect to be back at Moulton by around 1pm. I hope to see you at the start.

Ride Report – Sunday 20th August

Milton went on this ride led by Tim and writes:

Not only did the sun shine, but nothing more than a light breeze caressed us all day as 8 cyclists took the quiet and beautiful roads to Hogwash on Tim’s 63 mile steady. Tim had a plan that it would be a one stop ride but made the mistake of suggesting that we could stop for coffee and cake at Boycott Farm after 20 miIes if we were unable to control our greed. 7 out of 8 of us proved unable to control our greed. Ah Tim … the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglay!

Mark, who had stuff to do at home,  left us to go go back after Boycott Farm and so we were seven as we rolled into Green Dragon Eco Centre Farm where we came upon Geoff  on his fixie and James who had been late to the start. James had, of course, put his foot down and beaten us to the lunch stop by a sizeable margin overtaking us as we guzzled at Boycott Farm.

Geoff soon left for a solo run home and we were 8 once more, and, just after we set off on the return trip, James found the urge to test out his new wheels too great, and disappeared up the road never to be seen again …… so we were 7 once more.

The weather stayed warm and dry and, much to Tim’s amazement, the group eschewed another stop at Salcey as we passed, having stayed in a close knit peleton throughout the return journey, keeping up an average speed of over 14mph.

A fine day in the saddle much helped by a beautifully devised route and 2 excellent stops.