James went on this ride, led by Milton, and writes:
Twelve of us departed from Moulton under conditions very reflective of the ride organiser’s temperament: grey, sullen and slightly damp. At the same time, his the choice of destination – the World Peace Café at the Nagarjuna Buddhist centre in Kelmarsh – typified his more positive qualities, e.g., his lifelong commitment to the enlightened one’s emphasis on equanimity and loving-kindness as the core values of daily existence.
In order to encourage more people to come out and ride, Milton – in a familiar display of thoughtfulness – had devised faster and slower route options. The ‘proper’ brisk route followed a slightly more circuitous path to Kelmarsh – going via Orton – than did the moderate one, which was shorter by something like five miles. Of course, the division also gave some of the slightly faster and, err, more competitive riders the challenge of trying to catch up and overtake the second group before they reached Kelmarsh. It was childish, but I did it …
As we progressed through Holcot, Hannington, Walgrave and Old, the sun started making increasingly frequent appearances and by the time the brisk set diverted off to Orton it was warming up nicely. A couple of the quicker riders caught up with the “moderates” just outside of Harrington and sped on to bag some good seats in the café‘s serene back garden. The remainder of the two groups all arrived within fifteen minutes or so, and it wasn’t long before we were all enjoying the high quality fayre we’ve come to associate with the caféand its delightful staff. Some of us attempted to respect the Buddha’s emphasis on frugality by just taking green tea and a few biscuits. Unfortunately, one rider, i.e., Giles ‘Bake Off’ Barringham, was less sensitive to this precept and keen to declare he was eating his fifth (large) piece of cake in five days.
By the time we departed the sun was in its full glory and this continued to be the case as we came back en masse via Haselbech, Cottesbrooke, Brixworth and Holcot. Once back at Moulton it was blazingly hot and bright, both which served to top off a most enjoyable little jaunt.
As ever, sincere thanks must go to Milton for his patience and beautifully devised routing.
Milton is organising two rides (moderate & brisk) from Moulton Co-op and writes:
Both rides will leave from the Co-op at 9.30 heading to Holcot, Hannington, Walgrave and Old. From Old we take the lovely single track road towards Mawsley and then head towards Harrington. The moderate ride will then cross the A14 and turn left on the outskirts of Harrington and go to Kelmarsh. The brisk group will take an additional 5 mile loop that takes us east through Orton before turning west again and returning almost to the start of the loop before following the other group to Kelmarsh.
After coffee and cake at the Buddhist Centre it’s an attractive trip home via Haselbech, Cottesbrooke and Brixworth. It’ll make a change going down the steep hill at Haselbech for once, rather than climbing it!
It’s quite a short flat ride for both groups so I hope that one or two people who might normally be nervous of their ability to stay with the riders might venture out on the moderate ride. And for the brisk ride, I’m expecting it to be fairly quick. The loop is put in as a bit of a test for us all to see if we can reach coffee at the same time, or before, the others.
We can expect to be back at Moulton by around 1pm. I hope to see you at the start.
Phil J led this ride and writes:
Seven riders gathered at the start for this undulating ride to Naseby including new rider Peter B on his first group ride.
The first descent out of the blocks had a surprising headwind which seemed to be present on a few more of our subsequent drops. Once through the eco village of Upton, St Crispin’s provided the first unlikely climb of the day as we settled into the ride.
We levelled off towards Harlestone before we all got into the small chainring and the slow grind up Church Brampton.
Sedgebrook Hall passed by during another long haul which split the group a bit and took us up to the Market Harborough road and the route to Pitsford. A rapid descent on the busy road was then quickly followed by another testing rise to the entrance of Pitsford Water.
Through Brixworth the group went, when Phil L and I suddenly found ourselves on our own. We’d turned left in full view of the rest of the group but they continued over. Head scratching ensued before the group appeared from another direction much to our relief and amusement.
The fast downhill on the Spratton road came next with Milton suggesting this could be one of the fastest downhills in the area. We all took full advantage of the opportunity and headed for Spratton. The bridge closure wasn’t on our route and we climbed uninterrupted through the village before regrouping at the top for a well earned breather and refuelling.
Over the Welford Road another opportunity to test the descending skills. We dropped swiftly towards Teeton and as expected we soon started to climb as the road ramped up once more.
The journey to Guilsborough was perfect “active recovery” and we enjoyed the dry country roads and comfortable speeds. The road to Cold Ashby seemed rather more caked in dried mud but it was pleasant nonetheless as we started to see the signs for Naseby.
With another couple of miles in our legs All Saints church at Naseby came into view. We arrived at The Old Vicarage café just as some cyclists were leaving but they insisted they had left some cakes for us.
With renovations underway outside we were lead along the corridor to possibly the grandest venue we may have ever had refreshments in. A large dining room with a table that was almost impossible to reach over due to its huge size and a chandelier over the centre. We almost expected a butler to start serving us but various group members took that role upon themselves. The service was equally splendid and the food exquisite.
The loop continued through the Cottesbrooke estate and probably the most hair raising descent of the day. Plenty of gravel and uneven tarmac at the base making it a heart in mouth situation just before entering the village. All safely down and the gated road to Brixworth lead us to the steep climb back into the centre and onto Pitsford once again.
Four of us were lured by a second stop at the Willow Tree Café whilst the remaining three continued home.
The rest of the ride back mirrored the ride out with another mix of testing ascending and fast descending.
This was a pretty difficult ride today with over 3000ft of climbing but all riders performed superbly.
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.
Brisk & Moderate Rides to Welford
Eleven riders – a good number for a December morning – gathered at the Brampton Valley Way meeting point for a morning organised by James. We welcomed new rider, Phil W; and welcomed back John for his first CTC ride since his accident. Drizzle in the air was not going to dampen our spirits.
A late change of plan and routes – our original café stop at Kelmarsh being unavailable because of a Buddhist holiday – meant that we were to head for a café new to nearly all of us: Mini-Meadows Farm Café just outside Welford on the Naseby road. Five riders opted for James’s brisk ride; six for the moderate route plotted by Brian and led by Ian M. James must have taken to heart Mother Theresa’s dictum that “Brisk means Brisk” and by Church Brampton the brisk group was down to four and the moderate group up to seven.
The moderates pedalled through East Haddon, Coton, Guilsborough and Welford to reach the café after seventeen miles at 11.05 a.m. finding the brisks already ensconced – having been through Holdenby, Spratton, Brixworth and Naseby after eighteen lumpier miles in an hour-and-a-quarter! The drizzle hadn’t turned to anything worse but those who had no mudguards had nice stripes-of-honour up their backs.
The café served good coffee and cakes (the Xmas Tiffin was much consumed); conversation was lengthy; and both groups set off again at 11.45 a.m. The moderates pedalled through Naseby (welcoming the easier approach from the north-west), Cottesbrooke, Creaton, Teeton and Holdenby to return to the BVW after 15 miles by 1.15 p.m. The brisks headed on to Sibbertoft, back to Naseby, and then through Kelmarsh, Harrington, Old, Scaldwell, Brixworth, and Holcot before splitting on the edge of Northampton after 28 miles just after 1.30 p.m.
So twenty-nine miles for the moderates, forty-eight miles for the brisks and a splendid morning enjoyed by all.
Thanks to James for the morning plan and to Brian for reminding us of the recommendation for the café from Peter W and the CTC Leicestershire group.
Phil J went on this ride led by Ian M and writes:
Seven riders assembled at Brampton Valley Way on a crisp sunny morning for Ian’s ride north to Kilworth. Milton showed off his new Titanium tourer in stunning silver before we left. Once we departed, the Brampton climb gave the group a heart thumping start to the morning before we settled into an easy pace. With time on our side before the first café was due to open, we ambled along without any great urgency and everyone enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.
The first few miles towards Teeton really undulated. One quick downhill followed by the uphill equivalent almost immediately keeping the ride interesting but the group together. Horses at the Teeton junction gave the group an impromptu stop before moving on through the village. Milton tested the tourer on the downhills and it tested him on the uphills.
Creaton passed in a moment and it wasn’t long before we were meandering through the glorious Cottesbrooke estate anticipating the big climb at the end but Ian cleverly avoided that with a left turn through easier terrain.
Naseby beckoned and with a quick u-turn along the way the seven were back on track as we headed passed the majestic All Saints Church in all its splendour in the morning sun. Skirting the Cottesbrooke estate again gave us a bit of respite along flat roads that allowed the group to up the pace towards the first cafe stop at the World Peace Café at the Buddhist Centre. Right on cue we arrived for elevenses in the tranquil setting with the sun shining perfectly. Over tea and cake riders revealed how many bikes they owned. Some going into double figures!
Leaving Kelmarsh there were six, with Milton going his own way home. The rest of us doubled back and headed up the long haul to Sibbertoft and onto the Welford Road allowing the group to open up a bit on the open roads. The gliding school alongside giving a lovely backdrop against the sunny skies. Now Nick left us. A perfect day for gliding and cycling for that matter!
At the next junction a plane flew low overhead towing a glider on a line on its way to the release altitude. Perfect timing.
A country lane or two later we approached the urban road of North Kilworth before entering the more picturesque location of South Kilworth soon after and made our way swiftly through. After Swinford we entered the impressive grounds of Stanford Hall. Roads that were made just for cycling through. Just walkers and us. Villages with names like Stanford-on-Avon and Clay Coton summed up the wonderful location we were riding in. Purely Idyllic.
Wind turbines seemed visible from all angles in the distance and all moving steadily in the breeze.
The Red Lion at Crick was our next port of call and we were accommodated quickly by the friendly staff. John Cuttler had ridden in and joined us for lunch too. Roast dinners consumed and pints put away we were soon on our way again for the last leg of the ride.
Leaving Crick we headed for Watford – as in Gap not Watford Herts. But not before long we were climbing into Long Buckby and out the other side. A road closure some way along didn’t divert our ride and we breezed through it enjoying closed roads for a while. Brington church then came into view and the mood changed with thoughts of the climb in mind. Probably the hardest climb of the day was left to the end but everyone climbed admirably. The long stretch at Church Brampton was the only rise left to do before turning back the way we had come and the finish at the Windhover.
A great days riding in perfect weather.
Phil J went on this ride organised by James and writes:
Eight cyclists assembled at Moulton for James’ Queen of the Mountains ride of two halves on a glorious sunny morning. Moderate or brisk? The choice was yours. The sides were quickly picked and gave us four riders in each group. We set off on the long road out towards Holcot and the groups splintered as expected. Our moderate group set into a nice steady pace which included Elspeth once again.
The sun shone but a gentle breeze cooled us sufficiently and made it one of the best days for cycling so far this year. The pace quickened for the moderate group but with still no sign of the faster riders in the brisk group ahead. We meandered through picturesque villages without much traffic to hold us up and it wasn’t long before we were entering the wonderful Cottesbrooke estate with its steep climb at the end. But we skirted round this and soon headed for Naseby with a number of testing hills there instead. Cyclists passed us as we regrouped but we managed to rein one or two of them in on the climbs as they lost power much to our satisfaction.
Some miles on after a short stretch along the busy Market Harborough road we approached the tea stop at the Waterloo Farm Café and a welcome break for us all. The brisk group hadn’t arrived yet as they were still out covering the extra miles and climbs on their own particular route but the “moderates” were ahead of time according to our leader.
We settled onto an outside table and it wasn’t long before the “brisks” arrived and joined us. The location was baked in sunshine and we all enjoyed teas and coffees whilst some got stuck into tasty fayre.
On the move again we all set off together before two became one after the first rise. The route continued through familiar territory including the long haul up Harrington Hill, the final QoM stage, ending at the Tollemache Arms which seemed rather tempting on a hot day but we continued without succumbing to a swift pint or two!
Towards Foxhall a police roadblock was in place and a helicopter circled overhead where a stolen car had been abandoned in the nearby field. Further on Old and Walgrave tested the weary legs of the group before we met up again with the brisk group just outside Holcot.
The final stretch into Moulton was the last couple of miles of the day and we blazed down the road whatever group you were in. James and I had a bunch sprint to the finish which of course he won and punched the air in delight. A great days riding with a choice of ways to do it.
Thanks to James for devising the QoM route. James lead the brisk group at a challenging pace leaving Brian, Phil and Co to enjoy a more steady pace.
Rowan, our Ladies Rep, went on this ride and writes:
It was a damp and grey start to the inaugural “moderate” series of cycle rides but that did not stop four riders congregating at the Brampton Valley Way meeting point bedecked in rain legs, overshoes and warm cycling attire. Brian and I met with two new riders Andrew and Brian (another one!) at the start and were met later at Brixworth by a second Andrew (on a Sully complete with touring kit) who hoped to make this the first of his two CTC rides this weekend!
We cycled steadily, initially through Chapel Brampton and then along the Pitsford Road, over a few “bumps” passing Sedgebrook Hall, towards Harrington in rather damp conditions – but by the time we reached our coffee stop at the Buddhist Centre in Kelmarsh the sun was peeping through and we could appreciate the new spring growth in hedgerows and a myriad of daffadils. After digesting the centre cafe’s excellent cheese scones and cakes and putting the world to rights, we rode home along a more challenging route, roller-coasting through the Cottesbrooke estate and Creaton, towards Teeton and Holdenby. By the time we reached the Brampton Valley Way, our final destination, it felt like a different weather day and we rode our separate ways home rather overdressed and hot!
Thanks to Brian for leading the ride and setting the route. I tried out the “Tail End Charlie” job for the first time. Any feedback would be welcome!
Our next moderate ride is entitled the “Bluebell Ride” and will visit Stowe Dairy Farm Café on Saturday 14th May. See you there!
Phil J led this ride and writes:
Four riders undeterred by the prospect of a testing loop through Naseby joined me on an overcast morning at East Hunsbury. Alex and Andrew joined regulars Brian and Ian M to make the foursome. All of us were unaware of the drama to unfold later that afternoon.
Upton and St Crispin’s provided the urban backdrop to the start of the ride before reaching familiar ground through Harlestone and the Bramptons. The climb through Church Brampton was the first real test for the group but we all pretty much arrived at the summit in unison.
Onwards at a leisurely pace we passed Sedgebrook Hall before reaching the A508 followed by another steep climb into Brixworth Country Park for a well-earned tea stop. Milton was already there in the Spring sunshine and we duly joined him whilst one or two of the group looked in at Pitsford Cycles adjacent to the cafe.
On the move again, now six strong, we blazed down the steep gradient at the back of Brixworth where a slight breeze kept our speed down just a little. It wasn’t long before we were in low gears again though as we grinded up the long haul to Spratton which splintered the group a bit. Regrouping at the top we headed for another fast descent skirting Teeton before hitting another rise on the way to Guilsborough. The roads then flattened out for a while and we all enjoyed the scenic views as we cruised along the quiet country lanes in the now glorious sunshine.
Once through Guilsborough we turned for Cold Ashby on more scenic roads and another fast downhill to enjoy. Andrew headed the group and soon reported that he had hit a pothole that he was unable to see. The rest of us avoided it. A pinch puncture was the inevitable result and we all came to a stop although there are worse places to have a puncture than our picturesque location and nobody was in any rush to carry on! The change of inner tube didn’t go as straightforwardly as it should have but with one or two tubes and a number of pumps to hand we finally got on our way again.
We reached Cold Ashby and the road to Naseby. Or so we thought! As we reached the main A road we spotted a large sign pointing us back a mile or two for Naseby and the battle site. Having ridden the route before, I was sure we were going the right way despite the sign but, convinced by the group that I had taken a wrong turn, we headed back to the last junction and beyond only to see another sign to Naseby pointing in the opposite direction! We headed back the way we had gone initially and Andrew realised that the large sign on the crossing had indeed been hit by something and was spinning freely. He dismounted and pointed it in the right direction. Puzzle solved!
A couple of miles later we arrived in Naseby at the Old Vicarage right opposite All Saints Church. Eleanor had already arrived and was relaxing in the lovely grounds. We all sat down and enjoyed lunch together in the open air.
Andrew decided after lunch to make a beeline for home on a direct route whilst Eleanor joined us for the planned ride back. Through Cottesbrooke we avoided riders and runners on a local triathlon event and made our way through lovely surroundings and onto the gated road for Brixworth. The inevitable climb back was next before six became one as everyone except me headed for Holcot and their own way home!
I pushed on through one or two more climbs and continued on the route back home. I called it a day at Hunsbury Meadows and avoided the last climb of the day back to the start. A dramatic day – what with one thing and another – with plenty of climbs and impressive descending from all the riders.
Well done everyone!