Christmas lunch ride – Sunday 20th January

Brian Tunbridge went on this ‘Christmas’ ride and writes:

The temperature had dropped to below minus 2°C overnight, lower than forecast. However, by 9.30 the sun was out and the temperature was just above freezing. The temperature put a few riders off, justifiably, but six riders did assemble at the Canoe Centre suitably dressed ready for the ride to Stoke Bruerne via Blakesley to meet up with MK CTC.

The initial ride along the river cycle path was ice free and there was no sign of slippery roads when we got to Rothersthorpe. The road there was closed over the bridge but we skirted the barriers and then had a traffic free ride towards Pattishall. The quiet roads continued all the way to Silverstone and with no wind, it turned out to be a glorious, sunny ride though the countryside.

At 11am the world seemed to wake up, but it was only a short ride to Stoke Bruerne where we joined about 20 MK riders at the Navigation Inn. Our ride leader Milton left us at this stage for a lone ride home, job done ! The five of us joined the Northampton ‘car’ contingent by which time we were ready to order ‘Sunday lunch’.

Service was very efficient and we were soon enjoying a good meal and good company meeting up with the MK riders who we probably last saw on the Guy Barber ride to Oxford in the summer.

One advantage of a January ‘Christmas’ lunch was that we could ride home in the daylight which we did returning to the Canoe Centre by 3pm.

Thanks go to Milton for planning the route which was nicely timed for the lunch stop.


Ride to Stoke Bruerne – Sunday 20th January

Milton is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA
Distance: 25 miles to Stoke – 35 miles in total for remainder – 29 to Salcey Café.

Xmas meal – Arrive at The Navigation Stoke Bruerne for noon. Remainder continue on to Salcey Café
Return – Own steam from Stoke Bruerne – 1.30pm for remainder.

The Xmas meal to be enjoyed with Milton Keynes CTC (Cycling UK) is upon us a little early this year – 11 months to be ex ………. what’s that? Ah, apparently it’s the other way round and it’s a tad late. Well, whenever.

Whether you are to have a meal or just enjoy a morning out on the bike with the usual coffee and cake, we all meet at the Canoe Centre for a 9.30 depart and head up river through Midsummer Meadow and, passing the new University Bridge as well as the new rusting steel footbridge in Beckett’s Park, we go round the Carlsberg brewery and eventually join the Grand Union canal (Northampton branch) before hitting Banbury Lane.

We stay on that road for about eight miles until heading down to Blakesley. From there it’s Silverstone and then, heading North again, we eventually come to The Navigation at Stoke Bruerne where the diners will leave us for their early, (sorry late) Xmas dinner. It’s 25 miles, with only a small amount of climbing.

At about four miles later, after spinning through Hartwell, the rest of the peloton will stop at the café in Salcey Forest where we are set to enjoy our coffee and cake. Is Giles with us? OK, that’ll be a coffee and full English breakfast with extra sausage as well please.

It’s set to be a gorgeous sunny day. Temperatures in the high 20’s with little breeze and absolutely no hint of precipitation, so shorts and vests all round would seem appropriate.

It’s a nice fairly rural ride with only a couple of climbs early on, and we will be in no rush whatsoever.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible.

Ride to Carlton – Saturday 12th January

PhilJ went on this ride and writes:

Another impressive turnout for Brian’s ride to Carlton despite the dreary drizzle which greeted us all at the start. Milton was hoping to go straight back to bed but there were plenty of takers for two different rides so we were having none of that.

The Moderates and Brisks or ‘Mods & Rockers’ as Elspeth had coined them set off for the tea stop at the Emmaus charity centre in Carlton village which supports the homeless in the UK and has done so since the early 1990’s. A very worthy cause.

I joined the Moderates, a group of four whilst there were slightly more in the Brisk group led out by Milton. It wasn’t long before we pulled over as Brian was experiencing mechanical problems with a chain derailment on two occasions. A tricky downhill followed through Cogenhoe but once down safely we soon ticked off the route markers towards Carlton one by one without incident.

In fact Carlton seemed to come up on us very quickly and that’s always very satisfying!

The Emmaus centre which I’m sure is an old school was already very busy. Brian met old friends there and I met my some of my family much to my surprise.

The Brisks having done a few extra miles arrived just five minutes after us suggesting Milton had put the hammer down somewhat. Pete mumbled something in the queue confirming it was indeed the case.

The selection of food and drink here is excellent and great value for money. I chose the sticky salted caramel cake whilst Elspeth chose a large portion of beans on toast which as it happens she couldn’t polish off. Viki helped her there though.
Giles tucked in to the same with others choosing a selection of fayre such is the great variety on offer.

We all left together and headed for Turvey as the wind headed into us!
I don’t think we have seen as many other cyclists out on the road at the same time as us as we did today. These were fair sized groups as well not just single riders.

Further on the groups seemed to split and split again with some riders taking the slightly more ascending route and others staying at a lower altitude such was the versatility of Brian’s route. The ‘Mods’ then regrouped on the Newport Pagnell road before splitting again in the usual place along the Quinton road to head for home.

A very enjoyable ride to a lovely café in a charitable organisation.

Thanks for leading the rides gents.

Ride to Harrold – Saturday 12th January

Brian is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Canoe Centre (CC): Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road NN4 7AA
Distance: 37/45 miles
Refreshment stop: Emmaus Centre in Carlton
Pace: Moderate/Brisk
Time Expected Back: 1.15pm

Choice of two rides at either a brisk (14mph+ average) or moderate pace (12-13mph ), both groups meeting up at the Emmaus Centre in Carlton for coffee. Milton will lead the brisk group.

This is not a particularly hilly ride. From the Canoe centre the route is Mears Ashby, Wollaston, Poddington (Castle Ashby, Bozeat for the moderate pace group) then down to Harrold, Carlton and the Emmaus centre.

Return via Olney, Ravenstone, Stoke Goldington, Salcey Forest to CC. Return by 1.15pm latest.

Check out the route on Ride with GPS > Brisk 45m Moderate pace 37m

If arriving by car please do not park in the canoe centre as they may close the gates at any time. There is plenty of space in the road leading to the centre.

More information on 01604 622073 or 07722 055149 on the day.

Hope to see you there

Ride report – Sunday 6th January

PhilJ led this ride and writes:

A double digit turnout for the first ride of the year to Naseby. At least at the Old Vicarage where we were joined by three more of our group and members of Kettering CTC on the next table.

Initially nine riders had set out from Sixfields and headed for Harlestone where Pete was seen running up the hill beyond the Fox and Hounds in classic Chris Froome style. Seemed like a chain had malfunctioned as it took the strain on the sudden rise in the road.

About this time the planned roads started to undulate. We flew past the Station Cottages and then grinded our way back up the Brampton’s. Another dip at Pitsford and onto Brixworth before the fast descent the other side cutting through the Brampton Valley trail at the bottom.

All safely down the long haul to Spratton clearly visible up ahead. The next drop towards Teeton was unfortunately interrupted by horse and rider half way down just as Milton was going into overdrive!

We regrouped and headed for Guilsborough where the church bells were in full swing. Viki was due to join us at the vicarage at 11:15 but she was late and we were fashionably late so all turned out fine.

Once again the grandeur of their dining room played host to our hungry group. A finer location for a tea stop you will not find – and that’s a challenge! The hostesses provided us with teas, coffees, cakes and scones and then just kept asking if we wanted any more. This was a banquet not a tea stop. All for four quid a head.

Fully loaded we headed out with Viki by our side this time. The Cottesbrooke estate lay ahead and THAT downhill. I had touched nearly 40mph just several days ago but it’s trickier in a group and brakes went on but we still reached well over 30 as we came out of it. The gated road towards Brixworth is always a pleasure and worth it even to experience the pain beyond.

We dipped at Pitsford again having retraced the route out and the group then split to make their own way home once we crested the hill.

Six of us headed for Sixfields. Down the Brampton’s this time and not so far up Station Cottages as Viki encountered a puncture half way up. All sorted we made it back to Sixfields a little later than billed but right on average speed.

Special mention to IanM who came out with us on quite a difficult ride and performed superbly. Chapeau!


Ride to Naseby – Sunday 6th January

Phil Johnson is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: TGI Friday’s, Sixfields, Northampton NN5 4EG
Distance: 45 miles
Refreshment stop: The Old Vicarage Café Naseby
Pace: Steady
Time Expected Back: before 2pm

Once again I have the privilege of leading the first club ride of the year. It’s a familiar ride to Naseby – scene of the battle of 1645.

A quite undulating ride this one with a fair amount of ascending and fast descents along the way. At least six of them to test your downhill mettle.

From Sixfields we’ll go through Harlestone, the Bramptons and Pitsford. We’ll then haul ourselves up to Spratton, Guilsborough and Cold Ashby. Naseby won’t be far off by then and The Old Vicarage Café opposite All Saints church will play host in fine style. Especially if we end up in the grand dining room again with a dining table as big as a football pitch!

The return journey takes us through the Cottesbrooke estate with the trickiest descent of all before the inevitable climb back up to Brixworth and Pitsford once more. Here, the ride simply retraces the journey out back to Harlestone before a diversion takes us through St Crispin’s and back to the start.

It’s a fair bit of mileage to get you off to a flying start in 2019.
Hope to see you there.

Ride to Yelvertoft – Sunday 30th December

Peter Bayles is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Sixfields – TGI Friday’s, Sixfields, Northampton NN5 4EG
Distance: 33 miles
Refreshment stop: Whilton Locks (Garden Village) at 25 miles
Pace: Steady
Time Expected Back: Around 1.00pm

Sunday’s ride is 33 miles at an average steady pace between 12 and 13 mph, riding to the Northwest of Northampton, using mostly pleasant small roads.

We will set off from Sixfields, riding up through Duston then New Duston, before breaking out onto more enjoyable roads towards Upper Harlestone.

Passing through the Althorp Estate we ride on to Long Buckby and West Haddon to our furthermost point at Yelvertoft. We change direction, continuing on mostly minor roads through Crick, Watford and Norton to our refreshment stop at Whilton Locks at 25 miles.

The return leg is short and on faster roads, so we can almost roll back the last seven  miles to our start.

Because the majority of the roads are small roads and byways, expect a higher number of potholes (if that’s possible), and several cattle grids. The route is quite hilly, although there are no stupidly steep sections.

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