Ride report – Sunday 18th August

PhilJ led this ride and writes:


Quite a sad day for us this one as we were to be told on arriving at the White Lion in Radford Semele that it was closing for good at 11pm tonight. A quite revealing start to our refreshment stop. An extensive refurbishment had obviously not been able to change its fortunes. Futuristic clear dining globes had been installed in the beer garden of this historical 500-year-old pub suggesting a bright future lay ahead, but it was not to be. A new venue will have to be sought for this ride in future.

Half a dozen of us enjoyed the ride over on a changeable day with plenty of wind and fortunately a fair bit of sunshine too. A leisurely pace took us through Whilton Locks and over the gated roads to Welton. At Willoughby with plenty of time to spare before opening time at the White Lion, we enjoyed a quick cuppa in the open air at the Willoughby Café. Pete S kindly provided a round of teas and coffees for us whilst Darryl ventured over to the tropical fish shop on the other side of the road. Meanwhile Tim K, now at university, spotted some old school friends arriving for breakfast just as we were about to depart.

The route between Willoughby and Grandborough seemed like we were in a wind tunnel most of the time, but Tim K majestically sliced through it giving us all a bit less resistance to worry about. The lanes further on were perfectly smooth and invited fast speeds which the young pretenders duly did leaving three slightly ‘less young’ riders behind in their wake.

Long Itchington led to the long haul up Snowford Hill, complete with its own sign so you know it’s a proper hill. Once conquered just Offchurch stood between us and the White Lion.

The hospitality was excellent. Water was provided for us in the most elegant way. Coloured glass water bottles complete with six crystal glasses. The limited menu wasn’t ideal, but we all refuelled substantially enough and bid our farewells for the last time to the White Lion. Who knows if it will be rescued in the future?

A short sharp climb not far from the pub immediately got the hearts thumping and set the scene for the ride back which was to be tougher than the ride out. We headed towards Southam with the ever-present wind by our side and despite it, were able to cruise along on long stretches of smooth tarmac at decent speeds. It was difficult not to on such perfect roads.

The climb at Priors Marston lay ahead and we refuelled with snacks by the side of the road just a mile out. Darryl seemed to relish the challenge whilst others clearly didn’t. Pete B was struggling with cramp which must have made it incredibly difficult for him to climb to the top.

At the summit the cameras came out to capture the stunning vistas over Hill Farm. There isn’t a more perfect view of our countryside anywhere.

Towards Preston Capes the weak bridge road closure needed to be navigated before we remounted. Cameras came out again just to record the moment with much amusement as bikes and riders tried different options to overcome the barriers in the most efficient way!

A climb up to the transmitter site near Preston Capes was probably the last climb of the day. Through Litchborough a long easy downhill catapulted us along to Maidford then onwards to Bugbrooke and the final few miles home.

Superb riding from everyone today. Thanks for coming out.




Ride to Radford Semele – Sunday 18th August

PhilJ is leading this ride and writes:


A real shame about Chris’s ride to Culworth which had to be cancelled yesterday. It would have been a great ride. Let’s hope next weekend is a little calmer than this wild weekend and we can get riding again.

Weather permitting, I am leading the ride as follows:

Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  TGI Friday’s, Sixfields, Northampton NN5 4EG
Distance:  Steady 60 miles
Refreshment Stop: White Lion pub in Radford Semele
Average Pace:   average speed 13mph
Time Expected Back:  Around 3..00pm

We’re heading towards Leamington Spa on next Sunday’s ride and the village of Radford Semele with its 16th century pub, The White Lion. https://www.whitelionradfordsemele.co.uk/  The village is named after a family from Saint-Pierre-de-Semilly in Normandy. They were lords of the manor in around 1120.

The White Lion has been extensively refurbished and has a lovely beer garden at the back where we can enjoy their great food and wonderful hospitality.

But before that there’s work to be done.

From Sixfields we’re heading out through Duston, Upper Harlestone and eventually over to Whilton Locks.
Norton’s gated road guides us to Welton, Braunston and on to Willoughby where we could have a quick cuppa at the greasy spoon if anyone fancies it.
The lovely lanes of Grandborough will take us towards Long Itchington and the long drag up Snowford Hill. Once over, only Offchurch remains before we reach our destination at Radford Semele.

Refuel here as best you can on the fine fayre that the White Lion serves as the journey home will require plenty of energy.

We’re following signs for Southam along quieter roads on the way back with a third category climb at Priors Marston shortly after. It does have a quintessentially English view over Hill Farm at the top so it’s well worth the effort. Sometime later there’s a road closure towards Preston Capes but we can easily skip around the barriers and over the weak bridge without any problems assuming the combined weight of the group doesn’t exceed a ton!
Safely over we’ll be heading for Litchborough and familiar roads back to Bugbrooke and the start of the ride at Sixfields.

It’s worth packing a snack or two and refilling your bottles at the White Lion before we head back. This is easily a sixty miler that won’t trouble the Guy Barber supremo’s but will be a challenging ride for the rest of us.

Brian T kindly provided a gpx file when we did the ride last year and I’ll probably be following pretty much the same route although I’ll do the ride this week myself just to be sure. I can dig it out for anyone who wants it and will send it to Pete Bayles for inclusion on our rides calendar.

Hope to see some of you there.



Ride to Culworth – Saturday 10th August

Chris Duff is leading this ride and writes:


Start time:  9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Hunsbury Hill Library, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ
Distance:  Brisk 45 mls, Moderate 40 mls
Refreshment Stop: Forge Coffee
Average Pace:   Brisk ~15mph, Moderate ~12mph
Time Expected Back:  Around 2.00pm


The main route for the moderate riders is Milton Malsor, Gayton, Dayton, Pattishall, Blakesley, Woodend, Weston and


For the brisk riders there is a slightly wider circuit after Blakesley that goes to Bradden, Wappenham and Helmdon then turns West along the B5425 for a bit before turning north for Culworth.

The café has great coffee and good storage for the bikes in the garden at the back.  The food is limited in range but should have good cake and some other snacks all local sourced with vegetarian options.

From Culworth the route back is Moreton Pinkney, Cannons Ashby, Adstone, Maidford, Farthingstone, Upper Stowe, Nether Heyford, Bugbrooke, Kislingbury, Hunsbury.

New riders would be very welcome.

For any further questions, please feel free to contact Chris Duff on 07770 976291

Brisk Route:  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30637370

Moderate Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30637348

Ride report – Sunday August 4th

PhilJ went on this ride and writes:

A great days riding was enjoyed by everyone on todays ride. No mechanicals, no punctures, just good solid riding around a great route devised by our webmaster Tim H.

Our destination, The Emmaus Centre is always a popular stop for cyclists with its lovely spacious café complete with seating indoors and out. It’s great that they provide bike racks for our benefit giving it that cycling friendly feel.

Emmaus Village Carlton is a homeless charity based in north Bedfordshire offering active support to formerly homeless people. It’s a drop off centre for your unwanted goods on one side of the street with the café located on the other.
Tim insisted this was a steady ride and led the riders out through the well ridden villages of Cogenhoe, Castle Ashby and Bozeat before we enjoyed his planned descent at Dungee Hill.
Despite seeing the three mile signs for Carlton at one point, Tim insisted we continue on a 12 mile loop to build up our appetites. Through, as it happens some very quaint villages like Felmersham and Pavenham. The road undulated most of the ride and by the time the signs appeared for the Emmaus Village we were ready for a break.

Fortunately the electrical problems that had occurred in the village on one of our previous rides to Emmaus didn’t repeat themselves and we were able to enjoy good food and drink without problems. The fayre is superb at this café and the recommendation of the sausage sandwich was hard to resist by several of the group. The service was second to none and despite the numbers nobody had to wait for any orders.

Geoff from our Kettering group arrived to join us and tested the bike parking facilities only to upend the rack his bike was leaning on. I’m sure it wasn’t the weight of Geoff’s bike that caused the issue but the weak foundations of the rack. Nonetheless it was amusing for everyone there!

The ride back from Carlton was equally as picturesque as the ride over with some negotiation required on the short stretches of busier road along the way. The group split here and there but Tim held the pace nicely for the accompanying pack. A second stop at Salcey Forest was considered but there were no takers and we were soon flying down Quinton road with the end in site.
Along the way hoards of cyclists were everywhere including TT riders speeding along Bedford road just as we set out. It’s good to see so many club and occasional cyclists out on the road.

An excellent route from Tim. If you missed it you missed out!


Ride to Carlton – Sunday 4th August

Tim H is leading this ride and writes:


Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, Northampton NN4 7AA
Distance: 57 miles
Refreshment stop: Emmaus Village, Carlton (at approx. 30 miles). Optional second stop at Salcey Forest Café (at approx. 50 miles)
Pace: Steady (approx. 13 mph)
Time expected back: approx. 3:30 p.m.


This Sunday’s ride takes us through a series of villages to the east and south of Northampton. From the Canoe Centre, we head out on familiar roads through Little Houghton, Cogenhoe, Castle Ashby, Easton Maudit and Bozeat before enjoying the descent down Dungee Hill.

From here, we take a 12 mile loop around Odell, Felmersham, Pavenham, Oakley and Stevington en route to Carlton and our café stop for lunch at The Emmaus Centre (their sausage sandwich comes highly recommended).

On leaving the Emmaus Centre our route homeward takes us through Turvey, Newton Blossomville and Emberton. There follows a short section of A509 (cycle path available for those who would prefer it) after which we re-join quiet lanes through Filgrave and Tyringham before climbing up through Bunsty Wood (there has to be some pay back for the earlier descents of Cogenhoe and Dungee hills) and on to Tathall End, Hanslope, Pindon End and Hartwell.

We then have the option of a stop at Salcey Forest Café for afternoon tea before completing our journey back to the Canoe Centre via Quinton, Preston Deanery and Great Houghton.

At 57 miles, this is a longer than average route with a fair bit of up and down but nothing steep enough to be awarded a chevron by the Ordnance Survey. The ride is intended to be ridden at a steady pace (13 mph or thereabouts) and no-one will be left behind. Nonetheless, there are 30 miles to the café stop, so it may be worth packing an energy bar or two in your jersey pocket. The weather forecast seems to be somewhat variable at the moment so please also remember to bring a waterproof (unless we chance upon another heat wave).

Note that for those that would like a shorter ride, the 12 mile loop from Odell to Carlton can be cut short in a couple of places. One option skips the entire loop, continuing direct via Harrold; other options are to shorten the loop at either Felmersham or Pavenham. Such short cuts would be “self led” (unless it rains in which case we might all be keen to take advantage of them!).

The proposed route can be viewed (and downloaded as a gpx file) from the CTC Northampton group on RideWithGPS:


Any questions please contact Tim – 07749 477231.


Ride report – Saturday 27th July

James C led this ride and writes:

Five members arrived at an already rainy Hunsbury library, each hoping to be the only one there, but putting on a brave face when it became apparent there would be a ride in the wet.

Braving the rain and headwind on the climb to Gayton, we were soon rewarded with a quick breather as Darryl suffered an early puncture. Inner tubes were traded and soon installed, inflated in 0.2 seconds with an icy blast of C02 and we were on our way.

A small detour meant the rest of the route to Daventry was completed on time and a very bored looking café owner was waiting to greet us at the country park. Our plan to retain dry saddles were soon thwarted as she insisted we move our bikes from under cover into the bike racks, but service was quick and the food welcome.

Upon leaving it seemed like the roads were holding a lot more standing water and any attempt to avoid the puddles was now futile. We now took the more direct route home via Roman Road and a tailwind helped us take Little Brington and Nobottle in quick succession, the occasional splash from passing cars providing welcome refreshment.

On through Harpole and we had another puncture, this time Pete S giving us a short break to admire his oily legs. Soon changed, we were on our way back to Hunsbury via the smooth cycle paths through the Pineham industrial estate and on to home.

A wet morning but the warm weather and company meant this was still an enjoyable ride, see you next time!