Report: Annual Guy Barber Memorial Ride, Sunday 23 July, in aid of Headway Northampton

Our Secretary Brian did much of the organising of this year’s Guy Barber Ride and he reports:

Now in its 12th year this challenging ride attracted eighteen riders from the CTC groups in Northampton, Milton Keynes and Kettering.  This was the first year of a route to Oxford with two start options of Northampton and Buckingham giving three rides of 94, 66 or 55 miles, all meeting up at Oxford for lunch.

Despite the early morning drizzle ten riders left East Hunsbury at 8.30 a.m. for the first leg to Buckingham of the 94-mile ride.  This took us on mainly quiet roads through Blisworth, Pury End and Leckhampstead.  The drizzle stopped, and the sun emerged from the cloudy skies, as the group made Buckingham at 9.45am. Perfect timing to meet the eight MK riders who had cycled out from Stony Stratford and beyond.

The Northampton group set off for the first café stop seven miles away in Twyford whilst the remaining group signed in and left a little later.  An early puncture close to the start split the second group and this was further split when the Community Café at Twyford had unexpectedly closed that morning.  The shop was open but, after a brief stop for snacks, the first group motored on to Oxford leaving a second group to pick up the punctured riders.

As we meandered through the small villages of Marsh Gibbon, Piddington, Boarstal and Stanton St John, there was little traffic on the roads.  The sun came out and we had ideal cycling weather.

Oxford “arrived” when we met the ring road, a dual-carriageway roundabout with a couple of underpasses.  Then we were through Headingley on a separate cycle path at and then onto marked tracks alongside the main road.   After a steep hill down into the centre of Oxford. it was only a short distance to Café Couscous for lunch.  Just to add to the “best laid plans” the last stretch of road before the café was closed for road works.  So much for the recent reconnoitre!

The first group arrived at noon and had just finished lunch as the second group arrived at 1.00 p.m.  This was good timing for the café.  The forecasted midday rain did not materialise and we enjoyed sun and blue skies at the café.

One rider's lunch at Café Couscous - vegetarian tagine!

One rider’s lunch at Café Couscous: vegetarian tagine!

The first group took the route back to Northampton via Islip, Kirtlington, the Heyfords and on to Aynho where Ian peeled off to Buckingham and a stop at Stowe Park for tea (the only rider to complete the 66m route) whilst the rest rode on to Farthinghoe for the last café stop.  Only twenty-two miles now, on familiar quiet roads, back to Northampton via Helmdon, Wappenham and Greens Norton. This group arrived in Northampton at around 5.00 p.m.

The second group finished a very good lunch by 2.00 p.m. and split for the return journey.  The MK riders returned via Beckley, Brill (hill !), Ludgershall and onto Buckingham, stopping at the Green Dragon Eco Centre near East Claydon for tea and possibly even cakes!

This left 4 riders to return via Islip and a detour via Brackley for tea and cookies, sitting in the late afternoon sun outside a café before returning to the original route to Northampton arriving at 6.15 p.m.

A donation of £85 has been sent to http://www.headwaynorthampton.org.uk/

Who was Guy Barber ? Please see our web site http://www.ctc-northampton.org.uk/history.html

Thanks to all who supported this event.

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“Boundary Rides” – Two morning rides circling Northampton – Saturday 11th March

Phil L has organised these two rides and writes:

Start: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Brampton Valley Way (BVW)/A5199 crossing near The Windhover, NN6 8AA.  There is a BVW car park just up Brampton Lane.
Distance: 40 miles (brisk), 35 miles (moderate).
Refreshments: Salcey Forest Café

This circuit of Northampton skirts/circles the Borough boundary keeping the Express Lift Tower as our “hub” all morning – taking in Boughton, Moulton, Overstone, the Houghtons and Salcey Forest for an early brunch.  Then we complete the circuit through Quinton, Blisworth, Milton Malsor, Rothersthorpe, Kislingbury and return to BVW.

Brisk ride led by Phil L; moderate ride led by Brian.

Questions?  Phil is on 07867 388592.

Ride Report – Saturday 9th January

Brian writes:

At 9.00 a.m. the prospects of a morning ride were a bit grim.  Phil J was down with a cold so had asked me to lead the ride.  The previous week I had been in the same situation and Phil L had stepped in to lead what had been a pretty wet ride.  Was this to be my chance to enjoy the rain?

It was bucketing down so I decided on the easy option – to put the bike in the car and drive to this morning’s meeting point East Hunsbury given the chance that nobody would venture out in this rain.  By 9.25 a.m. it was still raining and no sight of any riders.  By 9.30 a.m. I thought that was it but decided to go and have a quick look in case anybody was sheltering in the underpass.  At this point James turned up having having cycled over in the rain!  We had a quick discussion.  The rain stopped at that point, so we decided to go!

Luckily the rain had stopped for good that morning.  But ten minutes into the ride I had a p*nct*re.  A change of tube and we were off again on a busy road to Wootton and then on to quieter roads to Quinton and over to Cogenhoe and Whiston.  We decided against a coffee stop at Castle Ashby and headed for Denton.  When we reversed the road to Quinton in the late morning, blue sky appeared and we decided to extend the ride to Courteenhall and on to Blisworth.  From here we had warm sun on our backs and a tail wind all the way back to East Hunsbury.

The forecast had been for rain at 9.00 a.m. followed by a clear spell later in the morning.  This turned out to be correct but it was cutting it a bit fine to get a ride in, free of rain and with comfortable temperatures!

“Hannah Barnes’ Favourite Ride” – Sunday 2nd March

Brian, our Secretary, is leading this ride and writes:

This ride was inspired by an article in Cycling Weekly in July 2013 which described the favourite training route of national rider Hannah Barnes who lives in Towcester and starts/finishes her route there. Hannah does her 40 mile route in about 2 hours but we will probably take a little longer and not just because we start in Northampton!

We’ll start from Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ (behind the Tesco Superstore) at 9.30 a.m. prompt.

Route: Blisworth, Shutlanger, short stretch of A5 then across to Silverstone.  Down past Stowe School and on to Chackmore and the Stowe National Trust property and through the Corinthian Arch for coffee.

On then to Biddlestone, Helmdon, Sulgrave, Thorpe Mandeville, and across to Canons Ashby for lunch at the NT property (sandwiches and baked potatoes are available).  It is a short ride back via Litchborough, Greens Norton and Tiffield to Northampton.  That makes for 54 miles.  It’s hilly in parts but the roads are mainly very quiet.

We will return mid-afternoon. (If you want to join us for just the morning, you could return to Northampton from Stowe.)

Brian Tunbridge 01604 622073 (07722 055149 on the day)

You can see the route here on RideWithGPS.

Ride to Newport Pagnell – Saturday 22nd February

Phil L is leading this ride and writes:

We’ll start at 9.30 a.m. at Hunsbury (Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ) for a ride of approximately 38 miles at a brisk pace (say 14 mph).

The route takes us out via Blisworth, Ashton and Castlethorpe to Newport Pagnell for brunch.  We’ll return via Hanslope and NCR 6.

This is slightly shorter than the route originally in the programme due to the recent flooding but allows us to stop for coffee and cake/snacks in Newport Pagnell instead of at Willen Lake.

Phil is on 07867 3889592.

Ride Report – Saturday 23rd November

Iain, our rides secretary, went on this ride led by Phillip G and writes:

An overcast start to the morning meant that we would, at least, be riding without fear of drivers being blinded by the sun.  It also meant that our leader had much to do to keep us motivated. Seven of us were motivated enough to be there at the start but there had been mention of shortcuts.

We departed East Hunsbury fairly briskly on the usual route out through Blisworth to Roade and from there past the pub at Ashton where the Christmas meal is being held this year. There did seem to be a fair amount of mud on the junctions round here, not that it caused us any problems, but it is that time of year so take a bit of care if you’re out that way.

We made it over the rail line to Long Street in good time and nobody opted for the shortcut, so Phillip’s route must have been keeping our spirits up, besides which it wasn’t cold enough to cause problems – once you’re moving, that is. It was rather chilly whenever we stopped.

We looped south through Hanslope and back up again to Stoke Goldington, passing Olney signs on the way, before escaping from the Milton Keynes district to cut across the middle of Salcey Forest and head to the café for coffee. The café was doing good trade for a winter’s morning and there were even a couple of non-cyclists in there, though they were hugely outnumbered.

Between Salcey and Quinton, we passed the construction entrance for the M1 Windfarm that’s currently under development and which will boast nine smaller-than-planned turbines by the time it’s finished. At Quinton the group split. Riders from the east side of town opted to avoid the west turn to Courteenhall, as did Rowan who, with a dangling front light, was opting for the shortest route home, leaving a much reduced group to brave the A508 between two lovely stretches of country lane. That road doesn’t get any better, which is a shame because the lanes to and from it are lovely and very quiet.

The stretch back through Blisworth to East Hunsbury brought us up to the 29 mile mark, according to my route planner, rounding off a very pleasant, briskish, winter’s morning ride.

Thanks to Phillip for organising the route.

Ride on Saturday morning – 22nd December

Phil Letts will be leading this ride and writes:

Start  9.30 a.m.  Brampton Valley Way (BVW) by “The Windhover”.   Brisk club ride – 35 miles. 

This is ride follows or shadows the Midshires Way all of which is now on good road surfaces so road bikes required.

Route links the Bramptons, Harlestone, Nobottle, Flore (coffee break) Bugbrooke, Gayton, Blisworth, Roade to Salcey Forest for an early brunch/lunch (25 miles)

Then the return follows the National Route 6 back through Quinton, Great Houghton and Northampton to BVW (10miles)

Phil is on: 07867388592