Ride Report – Saturday 11th February

The plan for Saturday 11th February was to run both a brisk and a moderate ride to the Skylark Cafe in Staverton near Daventry.  Here’s how it went…

Six hardy riders were setting out to ride; Phil Letts rang in sick – and then there were five.
Five hardy riders at Hunsbury Library door; Brian had the wrong bike, and then there were four.
Four hardy riders started in the freeze; Milton wasn’t feeling brisk, and then there were three.
Three hardy riders made it through the snow; John raced off to see TV, and then there were two.
Chris and Philip found a jam(*); diverting on the Norbital, they easily made it home.
Philip went on one more loop, and then there was one.

A good morning out despite zero degrees, snow, rain and generally wintry conditions! Thanks to all for their company.

Philip (with apologies to “Anon”!)

(*) Tailback on A508 in Kingsthorpe…

Ride to Naseby – Sunday 19th February – new riders welcome

Phil J is leading this ride and writes:

Meeting time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting place: Overslade Close, Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ
Distance & pace: 50 miles steady
Refreshments: Naseby, Pitsford Water

This ride initially heads for Pitsford Water / Brixworth Country Park before continuing on a loop towards Naseby and back to Pitsford again before the last leg of the ride home.

Harlestone and the Bramptons are en route to Pitsford giving the ride a few climbs to conquer along the way.  Once at Pitsford we’ll head out of the back of Brixworth and the long haul up to Spratton.  Teeton, Guilsborough and Cold Ashby are up next and we’ll soon arrive in Naseby and a welcome stop at the Old Vicarage Café.  Continuing the loop we head through Haselbech, the Cottesbrooke estate and back up to Brixworth with Pitsford further along.  We can stop for another break at the Willow Tree Café if required.  The route back home from there pretty much mirrors the route out so there’ll be no surprises in store.

Contact Phil J on 07927 377191 with questions or for more details.

 

Morning ride to Staverton – Saturday 11th February

Phil L is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ
Length: 43 miles (brisk), 35 miles (moderate)
Refreshments: Skylark Farm Café (25 miles)

Our route takes us via Gayton, Pattishall, Litchborough and Newnham to a new coffee stop for us: the Skylark Farm Café at Staverton.

We return via Newnham, Daventry, Norton, Whilton and Flore.

Milton will be leading the moderate ride; we will all be meeting at the café for elevenses.

Questions?  Phil is on 07867 388592.

Ride Report – Sunday 5th February

Milton went on this ride led by Tim and writes:

Seven of us braved a fairly dark and chilly morning to meet up at East Hunsbury for Tim’s 52-mile steady ride around Northampton.

The half-way point saw us getting stuck into cake and coffee and sausage rolls (possibly in that order) at the cafe in Brixworth Country Park having swept round the south and west of the county through Kislingbury, East Haddon and Spratton climbing what felt like most of the Northants cols on route.before Brixworth.

The second stage included Holcot and Earls Barton before crossing the river and climbing up the day’s last mountain to the peak at Castle Ashby where we stopped for more coffee and cake.  We had dropped Phil L off by this stage but picked up another, Elspeth, at the Castle so we were still seven and then we lost Geoff who was nearer home than he would be at any other time and so we were six.

We six nipped back towards East Hunsbury via Denton and Preston Deanery at which point three more of us set off homewards and the remaining three – well, who knows – I was safely tucked up at home with coffee and a well deserved couple of slices of cake.
I heard later that the final three made it back to the start point safely, so a good day out was had by all.  A well devised route with thanks to Tim!

Helping county council staff make Travel Choices

We have to admit it – some cycling promotion events are not as well attended as, say, President Trump’s inauguration. And certainly not President Obama’s. Whether for reasons of organisaton, weather or advertising, some events just don’t draw the crowds.

Well, this week CTC Northampton, part of Cycling UK, took part in an event that was a bit different: it was well attended, lively and positive. This was the county council’s Travel Choices day for its own staff.

The event drew in over 350 people keen to research their options for when the council moves to its new HQ building in the town centre. With limited, potentially expensive car parking and growing congestion problems in the town, the council wants to encourage staff to consider other travel solutions, including car sharing, pool bikes, pool cars, buses and park and ride (combined with bus or bike).

The event was held at County Hall and buses were laid on for staff to attend from other sites included in the move to the new HQ. It showcased many of the tools the council has included in its travel plan for the new building, such as the car sharing app Faxi, Enterprise pool cars, and good old bus timetables.

One of the big hits was the opportunity for people to try out pool e-bikes from Halfords, and cycle scheme e-bikes from GTech. Everyone who did so seemed to return with a smile on their face.

Brian and Phil staffed the CTC Northampton stall, and soon found themselves busy talking to people who were mostly not current cycle commuters, but were prepared to consider it. The most frequent question was about routes, but safety, insurance, cycle training and cycle buddies all came up too, as did the local group’s rides programme. Several people coming from other towns also asked about where to “park and cycle”.

Philip, a council property environmental manager (and CTC Northampton publicity officer), was on hand to outline the cycle facilities in the new building. These include 100 secure cycle spaces and dedicated changing, shower and locker areas.

The stall featured our new Cycling UK banner, calling cards and postcards, and freebies such as spoke reflectors and frame protection. By far the most popular item was the Northampton Cycling Map.

This county council map, now in its 4th edition, was originally developed by John Cutler and other CTC Northampton members for the council and is based on the Cheltenham model, which uses colours to indicate the traffic hazard on every road. It was invaluable for discussing route options with buddng cycle commuters.

A few themes became clear. First, most newcomers to commuting want traffic-free or low traffic routes. Second, while a few fairly good routes exist in Northampton (e.g. along the river), these still don’t connect well with key destinations. So there is work for the planners to do. Third, training and support for new cyclists are essential in the meantime. Specific cycle training for staff, cycle buddies, and a bicycle user group for the new building were widely supported ideas, which hopefully the council will take forward.

This event’s success was partly due to the coordinated travel plan backed by the council’s leadership, as well as financial incentives for staff to consider new options. But it also worked for cycling precisely because it brought together a wide range of options and expertise in the same room. Yes, we can be better together…

Many thanks to Brian and Phil for giving up their time, and to the council for inviting us along to this event.

Ride report – Saturday 21st January

Milton went on this ride organised by Tim and writes:

A chilly morning, and a late start for fear of a frost that didn’t in fact linger, found five ready for Tim’s big adventure to the Old Dairy Farm Craft Centre at Upper Stowe.  We split into a quick riding group of three who were to take a longer route to coffee and a sensible, (do I give myself away here?) group of two.  The two sensibles soon became three as one of the other lot found that Christmas excess had not yet cleared the system and he hadn’t a hope of staying the course for the next 27 miles.  Next month Giles,next month!.

The sun came out as we trundled through Pattishall, Adstone, Preston Capes and Farthingstone.  The roads were dry, the fields were full of fat sheep, the lambs not far away now, and a kestrel sat confident on a hedge only feet from us as we sped past, and it was bliss to be on a bike.
The three sensible ones arrived at the cafe only a few moments ahead of the other two who regaled us with tales of derring-do, monster hills and terrifying descents which we chose not to believe.
Much colder after a 40-minute stop (how does the weather manage to change so radically during every coffee break?) we all dashed back together through Upper Heyford, Bugbrooke, and Kislingbury until, at just after 2pm, we were back in East Hunsbury.
Lovely, well devised route,(thank you Tim) which meant we had space to really enjoy the trip – which we did!

Rides to Preston Capes – Saturday 21st January – 10.00 a.m. start!

Tim, our Webmaster, has planned these rides and writes:

Start: 10.00 a.m. – changed to allow for possibility of frosty roads and lanes!
Meeting point: East Hunsbury Library, Overslade Close, NN4 0RZ
Distance: Brisk 37 miles; moderate 30 miles
Anticipated Speed: Brisk 14-16 m.p.h.; moderate 10–12 m.p.h.
Refreshments: Old Dairy Farm Cafe, Upper Stowe

There are two rides this Saturday, one will be at a brisk pace (led by Tim) and the other at a moderate pace (led by Milton).  The moderate ride will be a shorter distance so that we should all arrive at the Upper Stowe tea stop at about the same time.

Both rides head out south westwards from East Hunsbury along Banbury Lane before splitting just north of Blakesley to take alternative routes to Preston Capes.  After a short shared section they again divide before rejoining just before the stop for tea and cakes at Upper Stowe.  Both rides then follow the same route back (via Nether Heyford, Bugbrooke & Kislingbury) to the start point at East Hunsbury Library.

Current weather forecast is frost free.  Both routes are tarmac throughout, but some sections may be muddy at this time of year.

Lights would be a good idea for added day-time visibility, but we should be back at East Hunsbury sometime around 1.30 p.m.

The proposed routes can be viewed (and downloaded as gpx files) from the CTC Northampton pages on RideWithGPS:

Brisk: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/18083634
Moderate: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/18083630

Any questions, please contact Tim – 07749 477231.