Brian, our Rides Secretary, went on this ride led by Phil L and writes:
It was quite cool on Saturday morning (3°C) but the roads were not icy. Four of us set out from our Brampton Valley Way meeting point up through Church Brampton and then across to Althorp. We had the wind behind us as we made our way through West Haddon and Long Buckby to Yelvertoft on very quiet country lanes. Then we turned south into the breeze as we made our way down National Cycle Route 50 through Crick and Ashby St Legers, great countryside on quiet roads. As we approached Daventry there was hail in the
wind and we were glad to stop for coffee at the Country Park café which we almost had to ourselves. The last stage back to Northampton was a bit of a battle against the wind and it felt much colder with a hint of rain in the air, although we did not get seriously wet.
Many thanks to Phil L for leading the ride which was just right for a breath of fresh air on a winter’s morning.
Phil J led this ride to Draycote Water and writes:
Just three riders decided to brave the biting cold on this day ride to Draycote Water which looked promising initially as the sun was shining early on. We plummeted down into the valley and the temperatures followed as the sun went behind gloomy skies.
We spun across Pineham’s smooth cycle paths, aware of the ground frost on the excellent surfaces. Harpole presented the first real road riding culminating in a heart thumping climb out of the village and onto the Roman road.
We levelled off for a while through Harlestone and the Firs before a combination of climbing and fast descending around Althorp.
Heading towards Whilton we toyed with the idea of having an impromptu café stop at Whilton Locks just to warm us up in the difficult conditions but we decided to stick to the plan and head for Barby instead. The gated roads at Norton posed no problems and were traffic-free as we looked forward to the comfort of the cafe at The Willows.
Once inside the options were given to carry on riding or return home. Phil L who had been struggling with the cold, sensibly decided to return home. Dave and I decided to continue on to Draycote.
On leaving the cafe the sun came out lifting the mood of the group as did the “4 miles to Dunchurch” sign shortly after. Crossing the border into Warwickshire we were greeted with freshly laid tarmac which helped our progress towards the reservoir. At the A426 we used the designated cycle paths to keep us safe with hardly anybody else using them.
The main road through Dunchurch seemed easy as was the last mile or two into Draycote Water using the busy A426.
We were greeted with a busy reservoir and had to wait to be seated at the restaurant. So we opted for bracing balcony seating giving us a table straight away.
Hot soup and tea warmed us up as well as eating the biggest jam and cream scones we had ever seen.
Suitably refuelled we retraced our steps back towards the town and the route back to Barby. On the way the inevitable happened. I hit a patch of ice and briefly slewed before righting myself again without falling. A close call.
With the sun still shining the route back seemed better but it was still very cold and difficult to feel any benefit.
We continued past Whilton Locks to the last real climb of the day to the top of the Roman road and we both climbed admirably.
At Harpole Dave continued on to Duston whilst I followed the same route back over Pineham and Hunsbury Meadows, calling it a day there and cleverly avoiding the need to climb “Mount Tesco” back to the official start.
This was a tough challenge today due to the cold conditions but we did superbly whatever our distance.
Brian, our Secretary, went on this ride led by Ian M, our Chairman, and writes:
It is not often that we get a chance to do a linear ride without returning to the start but last Sunday week, twenty riders met on the Market Square in the centre of Oundle at 9.30 a.m. to ride the route of Stage 1 of The Women’s 2014 Tour: 100 km finishing at the Guildhall in Northampton. Six of us took advantage of Iain D’s landrover and a borrowed trailer to get to the start; some went by car with a lift back to the start with ride leader Ian M; three others cycled out from Northampton; and, to complete the group, four riders associated with Oundle School joined us.
As a large group, a quick briefing from ride leader Ian outlined the grouping for the ride. As it turned out, riders were all experienced and of similar ability so we kept in small groups within sight of the leader regrouping from time to time. Apart from crossing a few main roads the route was quiet and traffic-free, through some very pleasant countryside. It was sunny, warm and with only a light wind, ideal for riding.
Unusuallly for a CTC ride there were no cafés along the first part of the route (not that the ‘Tour’ race organisers would be planning for that) so a brief respite at Rushton gave us time for socialising as well as preparation for the quoted “queen of the hills” at Harrington. This hill was not so much steep as relatively long and sustained.
We were all ready for a lunch stop in Brixworth. Although we arrived at about 12.45 p.m. ‘Sunday lunch’ in the pub took some time for a large group and we did not depart Brixworth until 2.45 p.m. somewhat behind schedule but having had a very sociable break. As arranged a number of riders left the group at this stage to return home and a reduced group continued for the second half of the ride. This took in some of the steepest hills on the course especially between Brixworth and Great Brington. We could not go through the closed section of the Tour route through Althorp but thanks to Ian’s recce earlier in the week, our detour followed the official route as close as possible.
From Nobottle it was a relatively fast run on a straight road to the outskirts of Duston, where it seemed as if we were nearly home. However, the route turned south around Northampton taking us as far east as Great Houghton before it returned along Bedford Road and into the Derngate for a sprint finish – won, of course, by Emily and Chloe.
The race organisers certainly chose a great route through the County with some of the best cycling on quiet roads. I wonder what the Tour riders will make of some of the road surfaces en route.
Many thanks to Ian M for sorting out the route and leading so ably on the day. Just for the record the route was 58miles (93km), total ascent 3048 ft (938m), 37%up, 33% down, 30%level (<1%). Average speed 13+ mph.
The route is here on RideWithGPS.
I did a recce of the route of Stage 1 of The 2014 Women’s Tour on Wednesday. It went well. I know all the turns!
Meeting & start time
If you’ve booked a place in the LandRover/trailer combination, please be at the Canoe Centre at 7.45 a.m. so that we can be loaded and away at 8.00 a.m. Iain D will drive us to Oundle.
Iain will park up in the car park behind the Joan Strong Centre in East Road, Oundle. Half of this car park has a 2m height restriction and half is unrestricted. My contact at Oundle Town Council has confirmed that it will be open on the day. He also adds that, “If for some reason there are no spaces you could use the Co-op car park which is owned by the Council. No height restrictions there.”
So if you’re making your own way to Oundle, Plan A would be to park behind the Joan Strong Centre (PE8 4BZ). Plan B is the Co-op Car Park, St Osyth’s Lane (PE8 4BG). I believe the St Osyth’s Lane car park has a public toilet that is open from 7.00 a.m. on Sundays.
I think, therefore, that we will meet up in the Plan A car park ready to roll round to the Market Square for 9.30 a.m. I’ll try and keep in touch by mobile if I think the LandRover/Trailer is going to be late. My mobile number is 07960 302095.
At 9.30 a.m. we’ll have a photo in the Market Square and make a start.
There are eleven of us travelling from Northampton and there could be up to fifteen Oundle cyclists joining us.
For our ride, we won’t be going through the two private estates – Broughton and Althorp – but on quiet roads around the perimeters.
The first really busy part, shortly after the Broughton estate, is to cross the A6003. I meandered a bit here on the recce but I think it best to stick to the race route: from Geddington past the hamlet of Newton and coming out onto the new roundabout on the A6003, turning right for 200m on the dual carriageway, then left onto the quiet road to Rushton.
The second busy road would be the A508 from Lamport to Brixworth. We shall avoid this by taking the Scaldwell Road out of Lamport and entering Brixworth on the Holcot Road.
The next busy roads would be the A5199 from Spratton to Chapel Brampton, soon followed by the A428 past the entrance to Althorp that the race will use. We’ll avoid these stretches (and anyway we can’t pedal through Althorp) by going from Spratton via East Haddon to pick up the race route again at Great Brington.
The road was closed on my ride at Little Brington for renewing the water mains – more of a problem for the race than for us, as we can squeeze through one at a time. I popped into Nortoft (the county council’s organisers for race day) at Nobottle and it’s their biggest worry.
After Nobottle, the route is busy-ish down Sandy Lane to the roundabout where we’ll go across the A4500. Then it’s fairly quiet again to the southern edge of the southern development where cars can speed along Wooldale Road towards Caroline Chisholm School. Then it’s quiet again through Great Houghton to the A428 Bedford Road into town. I stuck to the main road here but it’s easy to ride on the shared-use pavement pretty much all the way from Great Houghton to Becket’s Park if you prefer. Then from Becket’s Park it’s 300 metres up Derngate to the Guildhall. I think we’ll have another photo here at 4.00 p.m.
The route is here on RideWithGPS.
Timings and refreshment stops
I started after 10 a.m. and then had a p*nct*r* at Rushton so I was out-of-kilter for café stops. Geddington would be too early anyway. The Dovecot at Newton doesn’t open until noon on Sundays. At Rushton I changed inner tubes on a picnic table outside The Thornhill Arms. By the time I’d done that it was noon, the pub opened and I had coffee and a sandwich. But noon is the opening time on Sundays too and we’ll be through Rushton by then. An ideal cafe in Desborough doesn’t open on Sundays. And the Tollemache Arms in Harrington opens at noon on Sundays for roast dinners only.
The George in Brixworth at 31 miles (out of 58) may be the best bet for a lunch stop but I’ll give it some more thought. One advantage is that riders who don’t fancy a full day could join us at lunchtime in Brixworth for the afternoon. And as we go around Northampton there are many points where one can leave the ride and go straight into town.
If I were to finalise the plan as having lunch at The George, then you might want to bring something to eat for a roadside elevenses at about 20 miles.
We’ve a minimum of 11 riders and a maximum at present of 26. Brian and I will be contacting Marianne at Oundle to get a better idea of her numbers and whether they want to ride all the way. Don’t worry if you booked a place on the LandRover/Trailer combination: there’s still only six of us for that option. But …
I have suggested 7.45 a.m. at the Canoe Club for those on the LandRover/Trailer so that we can be loaded and away at 8.00 a.m. (A late start from Oundle won’t help us as I discovered.)
At the end of the ride, I’ll be pedalling to Kingsthorpe with Iain D and Emily. I’ll then drive the three of us to Oundle to pick up the LandRover/trailer and Emily’s car. There could be two more spaces in my car for this drive. (Just … it’s only a small car!) Speak to me before the day if you would like a lift.
Again, any questions? I’m on 01604 843894 and 07960 302095.
Any suggestions or improvements? Don’t wait until we’re about to start the ride! Speak to me during the week!
Phil L originally planned a brisk ride this Saturday. As he gets better from his accident, we’re grateful that Philip G has volunteered to lead it. He writes:
This is a “brisk” cycle ride to Canons Ashby. The aim is to maintain 14-15 mph average with as few stops as possible. A shorter alternative route will be available for those who want a slower pace. The route, which includes several hills, is roughly Brampton Valley Way – Althorp – Little Brington – Flore – Weedon – Everdon Stubbs – Sustrans Route 70 (south) to Canons Ashby (teastop). Then return by Banbury Lane – Pattishall – Kislingbury. Distance 35 miles, return by 1.00 pm.
This should be a varied, enjoyable but slightly demanding route with a nice teastop at 20 miles. Current weather forecast for Saturday is unsettled with a risk of showers, possibly heavy, 10 – 12 degrees with moderate breeze from the SSE. So nothing the right clothing won’t deal with!
Road bikes are advised. Meet Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road Crossing (NN6 8AA) for a 9.30 a.m. start. The BVW car park is on Brampton Lane opposite The Windhover.
New riders welcome.
For further information contact Philip on 01604 720522 or email@example.com
Many CTC Northampton members took part in this year’s “Cycle 4 Cynthia” Ride which started and finished at Althorp; most followed the 50-mile route. The entry fee and riders’ sponsorship raises money for the Cynthia Spencer Hospice in Northampton. (It’s a little surprising that entering and sponsoring online isn’t easier.) The hospice is named after the present Earl Spencer’s grand-mother; hence the venue at the Spencer estate. This little report is made up from contributions from David, Philip and Alex. Nick has written an account in his own blog, “Cycling Downhill”.
Nick (“Cycling Downhill” blogger) No 1083
The route had changed from previous years and there was a bit of confusion (pandemonium?) at the start as the organisers – bewilderingly – changed the start line at the last moment. With over a thousand riders, this didn’t help our plans to meet up. Five members started together and about ten others were on the ride. Two CTC couples rode tandems. Eventually riders got away by 9.45 a.m. The rain, which had been threatening all morning, came down at 12.30 p.m. and it started to get cold. This made socialising at the end difficult (everyone went straight home) but we all enjoyed the ride – or, at least, finishing it!
Perhaps the nicest things about the day were the many lovely volunteers and the spectators in the rain giving encouragement to the riders. So ended the Summer of Cycling! Congratulations to everyone who finished quite a tough ride!