Ride Report – “La Petite Étape” – Sunday 11th May

Five Cycling – Report written by Nick (Enid Blyton being unavailable)

Five riders made the rendezvous point at the Windhover/BVW to enjoy the delights of this ride led by Alex (Alex, Miriam, Terry, Milton and Nick).  Maybe it would have been more but the previous evening’s weather forecast was not particularly fair.  As it turned out however the rain had cleared, the sun was out and the wind was blowing.  A great day for drying your washing but an even better one for riding a bike!

We set off in good spirits and headed north through Church Brampton before hitting the hills on the roller-coaster roads heading east from Holdenby through Spratton and up to Brixworth.  Happily each of the hills was easily conquered with the large helping hand supplied by the not inconsiderate tail wind.  It was then north and north-east through the picturesque lanes linking Brixworth to Cottesbrooke and Haselbech.  On the hill up to Haselbech we were reminded of the need for caution when riding near horses when an oncoming beast (with rider) was seriously spooked.  Apparently it was something to do with the sight of Milton’s knees!

Onwards to Naseby and then a seriously fast descent in the direction of Clipston (wind-assisted) but then turning south-east to Kelmarsh and Arthingworth.  From here we climbed the Strava Queen of the Mountains section used in Wednesday’s Stage One of the 2014 Women’s Tour of Britain.  At the top, outside the Tollemache Arms pub, we paused for a breather.  It was at this point that we realised that we had actually ridden three of the four Queen of the Mountain stages used on Stages One and Two of the Women’s Tour.  A little bit of messing about with a smart phone and we were ecstatic to discover that all five of us had ridden two of the sections faster than the professional riders on Wednesday and Thursday had.  FANTASTIC – however, just for the record we did it in the opposite direction …..

Not long after Arthingworth it was pay back time; we turned right and headed south and south-west across the flat land of the former aerodrome at Harrington which put us right into the teeth of the gale!!!  Alex was the leader so we all hid behind him.  We took a hilly detour off this road through Draughton – its a strange day when you prefer including a hill to avoid the flat – but it did cheat the wind.

The tightly formed peleton close to Lamport

The tightly formed peleton close to Lamport

Through the villages of Old, Walgrave, Hannington and Holcot before closing on the destination of Moulton.  Terry and Milton peeled off for home whilst those left enjoyed a coffee at the J-Gallery in Moulton before wending our way home.

Game for a laugh!

Game for a laugh!

Grateful thanks to Alex for leading this ride. It lived up to its name and happily, despite the often ominous clouds scudding along, we did not get rained upon.

The route is here on Garmin Connect.

Ride Report – “Ride the Route” – Sunday 4th May

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.

With the emphasis on the reason for the ride, the mandatory photo at the start featured the 6 ladies at the front.

With the emphasis on the reason for the ride, the mandatory photo at the start featured the ladies at the front.

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.

There was a celebratory photo outside the Guildhall.

There was a celebratory photo outside the Guildhall.

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.

“Ride The Route” – Sunday 4th May – Update!

I did a second recce of (part of) the route today.

I had a second look at one part; and I went in to The George at Brixworth to speak to the staff there about lunch.

I’m clear about the route from Geddington to Rushton. Of the two minor roads west out of Geddington we’ll take the one which goes past the Dovecot tea-room at Newton. Almost immediately upon passing the tea-room, it has the newest, smoothest tarmac of any minor road in the county! This emerges at a new large roundabout on the A6003 where we’ll go right (north) for two hundred metres on the dual carriageway before turning left (west) on the minor road to Rushton.

I also called in at The George at Brixworth. “Hello Sir! You taught me history in Year 9!” said a splendid barmaid. I’ve confirmed the booking as fifteen for lunch. We’ll have a pleasant room set out with tables for four. Zoe confirmed again that they are happy to serve the children’s portions of the roast dinner menu (at £4.95) if you’re not up for the full portions (at £8.95).

Thinking about the route after lunch, I’m going to stick to the route here on RideWithGPS – avoiding the A5199 and A428. I’m grateful to John C for a helpful e-mail which, among many points, advised that the A5199 would be safe for a large group going south. But our diversion also avoids parts of the “Spires & Squires” sportive route. If the sportive riders are still out in the afternoon, we’ll meet them between Great and Little Brington where they’ll be going in the opposite direction.

Numbers
I think we will be a group of twenty riders at the start.

Marianne’s group will start and return to Oundle in a loop. They may turn back before Brixworth and so that’s why there’s a smaller number booked for lunch.

Fancy a half-day ride?

Join us in Brixworth!  We’ll be at The George from 12.30 p.m. to 1.30 p.m and then you could cycle with us in the afternoon.  You don’t even have to go all the way of the route – you could jump back to the town centre from Nobottle or Hunsbury!

Thanks to everyone! Really looking forward to this!

 

“Ride The Route” – Sunday 4th May

 

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.

The route

 

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.

Numbers

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!

 

 

Morning leisure ride – a Lamport Loop – Saturday 8th March

Iain D, our Rides Secretary, will be leading this ride and writes:

We will be assembling in Moulton at 9.30 a.m. on Saturday for a leisurely morning ride.

Our route will take us through Holcot and Hannington and up to Walgrave (where we will, no doubt, be taking a very careful look at the manhole covers) and then through Old and Brixworth, which will see us missing Lamport itself (sorry).  It’s a straight run from there down the Brampton Valley Way to the old station before we cut across to Church Brampton for our brew stop.

The final couple of miles will take us back to Moulton through Boughton.

As you’ll have noticed, the route’s not entirely flat but none of the hills are terribly steep or particularly long and we’ll be keeping a fairly relaxed pace as we amble round this little route (which may be subject to slight variation on the day, according to circumstance). The weather’s due to be quite clement as well.

A total of 20 miles at a leisurely pace.  Iain is on 07909 992468.

See you on Saturday at 9.30 a.m. outside Moulton Co-Op, NN3 7TB.

Late report on Sunday 19 January ride

Ian M went on this ride, led by Iain D, and writes:

Apologies to Iain D!  I promised to write up a report on his ride to Kelmarsh and then forgot!

A dozen riders gathered at Moulton for Iain’s ride and, once again, he took us on a route that was different from one we had ridden before; and certainly not what any of us were expecting.  That’s always a bonus!

Gathering at Moulton

Gathering at Moulton

 We left Moulton along the Pitsford road and then headed up to the reservoir, crossed the dam, and pedalled into Brixworth.  We left that village on the Creaton road before heading into Cottesbrooke, crossing the A5199, and climbing up to Guilsborough.  This was indeed going to be a different route to Kelmarsh!
Next we were off to Cold Ashby before going through Welford and approaching Naseby from the west!  Then we were over and under the A14 – on some lovely smooth tarmac which Iain had deliberately sought out – and into Kelmarsh (and the World Peace Café at the Buddhist Centre) by noon.  In a large group, which constantly re-arranged itself, these twenty-five miles flew by with conversation and banter!

A breather at Cold Ashby

A breather at Cold Ashby

 The café proved up to serving twelve hungry cyclists and showed that we don’t have to have beer with every meal!
We started again after lunch going further north to Arthingworth and signposts for Desborough before turning south through Harrington, crossing the A14 (for the sixth time!), and pedalling through Old, Walgrave and Holcot on our way back to Moulton.  Fifteen miles after lunch.
Thanks to Iain for a well organised route: at this time of year a one-stop ride means we got the mileage in and were home early in the afternoon well before the need for lights.  This could be a model for one or two rides in the summer on occasions when members don’t want to be out all day.  Everyone certainly enjoyed themselves!
And the weather was kind to us too!
The route is here on RideWithGPS.

 

Ride to Kelmarsh – Sunday 19th January

Iain D is leading this ride and writes:

We’ll be heading out to the Buddhist Centre in Kelmarsh on Sunday.  Sadly, their free drink for the New Year offer has ended but their café always has something suitable on the go for hungry cyclists so it will be a pleasure to visit again, I’m sure.

The route out takes us through Brixworth and Cold Ashby and into Welford before ducking back towards Naseby and Kelmarsh. The return leg involves Arthingworth and Old and should bring our mileage for the trip up to around 45 miles. This is a one-stop-only ride after all!

The route is a little contorted, mainly so I can include a couple of my favourite stretches of tarmac – no apologies – but also to give us a shortcut in case of cruddy weather. Which hopefully won’t be the case. I’m hoping Cold Ashby won’t be living up to its name too faithfully either.

Although we should be back well before dark, it would be sensible to bring lights to be seen by.

See you Sunday, 9.30 a.m. in Moulton.  (Outside Moulton Co-operative Store, NN3 7TB)

Ride Report – Sunday 5th January

Ian M went on this ride today and writes:

It was lovely to get back riding with the group today. When we met at the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / A5199 crossing, the temperature was just above freezing. Although there were occasional slushy bit of ice early on, we were to be very fortunate with the weather. Two leaders (Bill and Brian) marshalled eight riders – including one new rider from Brixworth – and numbers were to fluctuate as there were joiners at Waterloo Farm Café and leavers at Sibbertoft. Bill was leading those who had booked the New Year’s Lunch at Sibbertoft Reading Room; Brian promised to lead home those who hadn’t booked! Rowan made sure that females were represented.

A unanimous vote chose an on-road route to Waterloo Farm. We CTC members don’t seem to like the BVW (well, not in this weather).

Bill took us up through Spratton and Creaton where we left the A5199 to head to Cottesbrooke and Kelmarsh – where we joined the A508 to Great Oxendon and the café. Reasonably sized refreshments were eaten at this point – even by those faced with only a short ride to lunch. Iain D, who joined us at this point, thought that a balmy 36F didn’t merit more than a t-shirt and a hi-via waistcoat – although he did wear long trousers rather than shorts!

Elevenses at Waterloo Farm Café

Elevenses at Waterloo Farm Café

A larger group pedalled after the café, heading via Clipston to Sibbertoft and there we split. Brian kindly made sure there were several more hills for those of us riding home at this point. Naseby, Thornaby, Guilsborough and Holdenby were conquered. The rain – forecast for days – only began between Teeton and Holdenby and then only gently! True to his plan, Brian led us back to our starting point just before 2.00 p.m.

A hearty thank you to Bill and Brian; and personal thanks from me to you all for your splendid company!

Our route is here on RideWithGPS.

Ride to Braybrooke and back – Sunday 8th December

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

Start: Moulton Co-op   9.30 a.m.   40 miles.   A challenging ride at this time of year.

This will be our last ride before Christmas. A one-stop ride via Braybrooke and then skirting Market Harborough to the Farndon Fields Farm Shop café.  (http://www.farndonfieldsfarmshop.co.uk/the-cafe)

The planned route is Moulton, Walgrave, Draughton, Thorpe Underwood, Braybrooke, Market Harborough, Farndon, Naseby, Guilsborough, Brixworth and back to Moulton (subject to the weather).  There are several short-cut options en route.

We shall ride mainly on quiet roads with the exception of 100m of gravel path around Pitsford Reservoir at the end.

The ride time is just over three hours plus a stop so we should be back before 2.00 p.m. at the latest.  Still worth bringing lights to be seen by at this time of year.

For more details ring Brian on 01604 622073 (or 07722 055149 on the day).  Please check your e-mails on Saturday for any last minute alterations.

For digital map aficionados, the route is here.

P.S. Don’t forget to book the CTC Christmas lunch on the 16th Dec. Details on
www.ctc-northampton.org.uk

Ride Report – Saturday 12th October

David went on this afternoon leisure ride and writes:

Iain and Milton were at the start point where the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) crosses the A5099 when I arrived, followed shortly by John C suffering the effects of a bad cold, that he was sure would be the death of him.

We followed Iain along the newly tarmacked section of the BVW towards Mill Lane going under the recently completed railway underpass that has been designed to allow passage by bicycle or walker even when the river overflows with a raised section just wide enough to get through and under.

NCN Route 6 as it goes under the Northampton-Long Buckby railway line

The Brampton Valley Way (NCN Route 6) as it goes under the Northampton-Long Buckby railway line

While heading up towards the Cock Hotel Brian joined us as we began the urban cycle ways of Kingsthorpe, passed the University Campus and through Moulton to Pitsford Reservoir.

Urban cycling in Kingsthorpe

Urban cycling in Kingsthorpe

The ride round Pitsford Reservoir on the gravel track provided a pleasant view of the sailing boats as the terrain gradually changed to woods and tarmac again crossing the dam to the Willow Café for refreshments.

Around Pitsford Reservoir

Around Pitsford Reservoir

After a brief look at what the cycle shop had on show, we took the rough track trail connection back from Brixworth to our BVW start passing Brampton Halt and the trains along the way. A lot of varied and interesting sections from Iain’s led route.

Merry Tom Lane connects Brixworth to the Brampton Valley Way

Merry Tom Lane connects Brixworth to the Brampton Valley Way