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!


On the 14th of October 1979 CTC Northampton section reformed after an absents of 12 years.  Cycling was enjoying a resurgence in popularity with a growing demand for organised cycle rides. Two local CTC Members Geoff Caverhill and Mick Holiday sent out the letter below to the county members informing them that a ride would be taking place today (40 years ago) to gauge the level of interest for CTC club representation in the area.

A.First Ride 14th Oct 1979


Next year in 2020 we will celebrating our Centenary with a 100mile/km ride from the town centre. If you have any ideas please comment.

Around picturesque Castle Ashby


Ride report – Saturday 12th October

Peter Bayles went on this ride and writes:


Eleven riders turned out on Saturday morning to join Giles’ brisk and moderate rides to Woodford Halse. Giles led the Brisks, and I led the Moderates, with five riders opting for the brisk.  Weather was kind yet again, with damp roads at the start, but no rain other than a very light spotting for a couple of minutes at one point, and a mild temperature.

The riders were slightly late setting off, with the now internationally famous Geoff discovering a soft tyre after getting to the start.  Fortunately, unlike Peter’s puncture last week, after inflating, it didn’t give any more problems.

The brisk group, having seven more miles to cover than the Moderates, pushed on from the outset, leaving the Moderates to enjoy a far more civilised pace to our coffee destination.

Before arriving at the café, Chris, who has been riding regularly with the club this year, made a surprising admission – he had never before ridden his bike on damp roads, let alone in the wet, prior to this ride.  Apparently, having an Atom Trainer at home meant that he preferred to use that whenever rain was likely.  Really Chris, is that better than pleasant company and banter ??

The moderates hit the Equestrian Centre café at Woodford Halse a couple of minutes before the Brisks, who had managed an average pace of 16mph, so deserved their coffee.  John, however, was already enjoying his less deserved coffee when the Moderates arrived, having initially joined the Brisks, but cheating and taking a short-cut.

The café has new people running it, who were just as friendly as the previous management and, as before, the coffee and food, whilst not cheap, was excellent.

The route back was less arduous, being 17mls and, ignoring a few undulations, generally down hill to Northampton.

Most of the riders set off to ride back together, although Elena and Chris decided to split off in order, we suspected, for them to revisit the cake counter.

The group kept a respectable pace and was back to the start at East Hunsbury, well before 1.00pm. Thanks go to Giles for a great route and morning riding.

(Just in case you wondered why Geoff was referred to as “internationally famous”, it’s because he was interviewed this week and appeared on local TV, giving his expansive views about today’s politics.  Bet that included some choice phrases.)

*Chris D has pointed out that I called Rob “Chris” by mistake (sorry Rob, I guess I was thinking about your son).

Apologies to Chris and Rob – to clarify, Rob hates rain and has an Atom Trainer.  Chris likes extra cake.

Ride to Woodford Halse – Saturday 12th October

Giles is leading this ride and writes:
Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Hunsbury Hill library, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury NN4 0RZ
Distance:  43 mls (Brisk) or 36 mls (Moderate)
Refreshment stop:  Harley Equestrian Centre
Pace:  Brisk or Moderate

Time Expected Back:  Around 1.00pm

We have two rides on Saturday, depending on the cyclists joining on the day, starting at 9.30am from East Hunsbury Library.
The weather on Saturday looks to be reasonably dry, possibly a light shower or two, and around 13c to 15c, so not too bad.
The Brisk Ride is 43 miles at a pace of around 15 mph, with the Moderate Ride possibly being a self led group, 36 miles, depending on the riders turning up, and will be around 12 mph. The cake stop will be at Harley Equestrian Centre, at around 25 (or 18) miles which was checked out by Giles and apparently offers excellent bacon and egg sandwiches.
Both routes essentially follow a similar route to the West of Northampton, taking in Pattishall and Preston Capes before the coffee stop near Woodford Halse.  The Brisks will enjoy the extra miles before the stop, riding to Priors Marston.  The return leg is 17 miles, via Canon’s Ashby and Bugbrooke.

We look forward to welcoming all riders, as always, and especially any new riders who may wish to join the ride.  For any further questions, please feel free to contact Giles on 07540 887198

Ride report – Sunday 6th October

PhilJ led this ride and writes:

A damp day greeted us this morning which was an improvement on the downpour I was expecting to wake up to given the forecast. Four riders joined me for the ride over to Naseby. An ominous start as Pete S. arrived with a puncture giving us a 10am departure. Darryl, John Winn and Chris Duff made up the rest of the group.


Once rolling we headed towards Harlestone and the first real climb of many up Church Brampton. I was leading up the long haul and took a breather at the top when suddenly I felt quite unwell. My breathing seemed a little erratic. I just didn’t feel great. I’ve climbed this rise many times before but my body didn’t react very well to it this morning.


Despite my reassurances to the group on continuing with the ride they insisted that we make a U turn for home immediately. Despite my protests we did just that which as it happens was the right decision. There’s always another day for this ride. Fortunately I rode back without any further issues.


We headed back to Harlestone and stuck to the original plan of getting home through St Crispin’s. Arriving at Sixfields the guys insisted on getting me home safely. We cycled through Upton Park and out the other side into Hunsbury Meadows and home.


The perfect place for an impromptu café stop. Tea and coffee in the outdoor seating area with a delicious Autumn fruits Victoria sponge cake kindly served by my wife Marie who had made it the day before and all for no charge.


Suitably refreshed after putting the world to rights the four headed out to put a few more miles in their legs.


Interestingly it seems that Pete Bayles who we believed went past us whilst we were waiting outside TGI’s this morning actually made it to the Old Vicarage café just after 11 O’clock. I’m sure Pete can give you the full report if you want it but well done Pete for completing a difficult ride.


My thanks to the guys who saw me home safely. Gentlemen all of you. I hope you enjoyed the hospitality of the Hunsbury Meadows café.


Ride to Naseby – Sunday 6th October

Phil Johnson is leading this ride and writes:

Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  TGI Friday’s, Sixfields, Northampton NN5 4EG
Distance:  Steady 45 miles
Refreshment Stop: Old Vicarage café, Naseby
Average Pace:   13mph
Time Expected Back:  Around 2.00pm

This Sunday’s ride over to the village of Naseby will require a bit of a head for heights and plenty of mettle for fast descending from all who dare to take part.

It’s quite an undulating ride to say the least. From Sixfields we’re heading up through Church Brampton and on towards Sedgebrook Hall at Chapel Brampton. A short stretch on the Market Harborough road brings us to the dip at Pitsford and into Brixworth village once we’ve hauled ourselves out.

What has been described as ‘one of the fastest descents in Northampton’ by our very own Milton Cadman comes next as we plunge down the back of Brixworth at lightning speed towards another climb at Spratton.

A blistering drop towards Teeton then follows and we’re on our way to Guilsborough and Cold Ashby where we can at last get our heart rates back to some normality. Naseby won’t be far off by then and All Saints church will be visible in the distance.

Our tea stop will be facing it at the Old Vicarage café and with any luck we’ll be in the grand dining room with stunning views out into the Northamptonshire countryside. Tea and cakes will be exquisite.

For the return journey, Haselbech leads us back towards the Cottesbrooke estate with more heartstoppers to enjoy before we enter the village. A brief respite along the gated road and a familiar climb back into Brixworth will have me for one cursing my own route.

Retracing the ride out a little puts us back at Pitsford where we can ride the dip in the opposite direction up Spring Hill! Then, it’s all the same route back to Harlestone but once there we’ll take a diversion from our ride out and head for St Crispin’s and home.

Hope you’re up for the challenge.


Ride report – Sunday 29th September

Chris Duff led this ride and writes:

The weather report was grim, windy and certain rain all day.

Our esteemed ride leader (me) was resolved but uncertain of the day ahead not having ridden in the rain for about a year and having ‘gone soft’ generally.

However, ‘Fortune favours the brave’ and four riders set off from the library at East Hunsbury: Milton, Pete S, Darryl and me.

The route was chosen to avoid traffic, to be scenic and because they are some of my favourite roads.

Out through Gayton, over to Flore and up the hill to the Brinton’s,

Then over to Long Buckby and West Haddon, fast to Guilsborough and up to Thornby.

All generally aided by the wind.

The service and coffee at the atmospheric and welcoming Buddhist centre was top notch, as ever, and good cake too.

We sat outside in the Sun and pretended cleverness, identifying the trees and shrubs in the lovely garden.

Milton gave us the history of the Manor House and why locking up our bikes was necessary before the calmness and peace of the current ownership.

We were reluctant to leave such nice surroundings but soon making a good pace on the way home.

A brief spell with rain jackets made certain that the rain stayed away and the sun shone again.

Faster home through, Coton, Ravensthorpe, Althorp and then Kislingbury.

A capable group, we managed to talk and complete the 45 miles at 15.5 miles per hour, getting back around 1.15pm.

What luck with the weather?

My new CTC cycling top gained full exposure and heat was a bigger problem than cold.

Thank you to the foolhardy souls that ‘cocked a snook’ at the adverse forecast and had a fine day out.