Ride report – Saturday 10th December

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.

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At Mini-Meadows Farm Café

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.

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Ride report – Sunday 2nd October

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.

Thanks Ian.

Ride report – Saturday 16th April

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!

Ride Report – Leisure Ride – Saturday 25th October

Rowan went on this ride, led by Iain D.  She writes:

Four of us met up at the entrance to the Brampton Valley Way (BVW), near the Windhover pub on Saturday afternoon for what was the last of our summertime rides.

Luckily for us, the sun came out and we enjoyed some very mild, if a little windy, weather as Iain D. led Milton, Dave U. and myself northwards up the BVW path, over loose chippings and through some puddles (eek!) until we hit a beautifully smooth surfaced (in comparison) road towards Creaton village and up the rather steep but scenic hill!

Our ride was rather challenging in terms of ups and downs; certainly it was for me after having a few weeks off from suffering a twisted neck muscle but as we got into the swing of it I would say we might have re-titled our ride “brisk”.

We rode through Creaton, Hollowell, Ravensthorpe, East Haddon and lastly along the Holdenby road towards our refreshment stop, Café Monde, Church Brampton. We went “up hill and down dale” for the whole ride, but I seemed to go up a few gears on the final stretch towards my waiting coffee! Milton left us at this point to go and walk his dog ….

The remaining three of us were very pleased to meet up at our tea stop with John Alcock , who had cycled over from his home in Duston to be with us. Thanks to John we had a great conversation ranging from our shared re-collections of Chesterfield and Worksop to the future of our CTC groups.

Thanks to Iain D for organising this ride and for everyone else’s company.

Ride Report – Saturday 23rd August

Brian, our Secretary, went on this ride led by Philip G.  Brian writes (with photos by Philip G):

This was a brisk morning ride through the hilly area around Creaton, Cottesbrooke and Naseby and then up to Marston Trussell.  This route confirmed the original ride description that “there are several ‘medium difficulty’ hills – nothing too vicious but they may mount up.”  Digital maps and GPS reveal all and on the 36-mile route only 20% of the route (7 miles) was on the level and the hills added up to 2500ft of ascent.

At Haselbech

At Haselbech

Nevertheless, Philip led the pace – fresh from his L’Etape du Tour in the Pyrenees – with the four remaining riders hanging on in what seemed a continuous head wind – even on the way back!  We had plenty of sun but the temperature was distinctly autumnal.  We nearly entered the A14 by mistake – oops! – but a hasty retreat up the slip road and we were back on quiet country lanes with little traffic.

Returning via Sibertoft, and a final challenging hill up to Guilsborough, we were soon in the Café Monde at the Stables in Church Brampton enjoying well-earned coffee and cake.

Outside the coffee stop

Outside the coffee stop

A really good morning ride.  Many thanks to Philip.

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.

Afternoon ride – Saturday 12th April

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

We have a leisurely ride planned, leaving from the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road crossing at 2.00 p.m.  (Postcode NN6 8AA; parking at BVW car park up Brampton Lane opposite The Windhover.)  We will cross the dam at Pitsford, tackle part of the BVW and the Gamboro Plantation track to Cottesbrooke.   Then we head back through Creaton and Holdenby to Church Brampton for coffee; then it’s back down the hill to where we started.

Only one significant climb but please note that one of the tracks is unsurfaced so we might all be walking that one (short) rough stretch!

Weather forecast is currently dry so I hope to see you down at the Brampton Valley Way at 2.00 p.m. on Saturday.

Iain is on 07909 992468.