Roman Ride – Ride Report – 11th October

Saturday morning, six of us gathered in the rapidly-clearing mist in East Hunsbury for this brisk ride out to Whilton Locks. Two Brians and two Phils – an usual mix for our group.
PhilJ had obviously been doing his homework because once clear of Banbury Lane, I don’t think we hit an actual road again until  we were nearing Harlestone Firs. Cycle path all the way (in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if part of that route gets used for a leisure ride next year, it was so pleasant).
While the mist had cleared at ground level, the cloud base was still below the top of the lift tower as we left town, when it also started raining, albeit only gently. It did seem to keep the traffic at bay on the Roman road out to Whilton though; it was very quiet for a Saturday.After meeting up with John Cutler at Whilton, the return leg promised to be a little easier on the navigation. It proved to be quite hard on tyres, however, one Phil complaining of a flat at the top the hill out of Whilton, the other Phil about 10 yards later.
Top tip of the day: to avoid p*nct*res, don’t be called Phil.
(One of those p*nct*res later turned out to be the result of a broken spoke so not the fault of the rain washing grit into the road).

The Roman road passed, as you might expect, a little quicker on the way back, being downhill and everything, although one of us did nearly come a cropper on the way through Harpole when a kindly motorist flung their door open without checking for traffic. (If you were that motorist, it pays to check… If you missed a group of highly-visible cyclists (and we were), you’d easily have missed a car and now be looking for your driver’s door somewhere down the road …). Fortunately, we were keeping our distance.

Without further incident, we returned from whence we came via the newly-christened “Mount Tesco”*, also known as “the Towcester Road”, completing nearly 30 miles of reasonably brisk riding.

Next time, Phil’s promised to take us to Draycote Water. I’m looking forward to that now.

* NB: Other retailer-based naming conventions are available.

Ride report – Sunday 27th July – Hellidon

IainD, our Rides Secretary, went on this ride and writes:

Yesterday morning, 7 of us – including a remarkably fresh looking PhilL – gathered at the Canoe Centre in the Bedford Road.

Also there was the leader for the day’s Sky Ride, which was heading off along the riverside at 10:00. We wished him luck as we were starting out in the same direction.

Shortly after 09:30, Milton led us out through the town along the river, and then the canal, before emerging onto Banbury Lane to head for the hills of western Northamptonshire. Litchborough, Farthingstone (at which point PhilL left us, being under strict instructions to build mileage slowly. He did tackle the steepest hill on the ride before peeling off though. I’m sure that was a coincidence), Everdon, Badby and Catesby came and went fairly quickly. So quickly, in fact, we arrived at lunch before the pub was open!

After settling down to sandwiches, baguettes and chips for an hour, we took to the road again with Milton promising us that (almost) all the hills were done with, and it proved to be a remarkably level trip back through Charwelton, Preston Capes and Maidford before we dropped over the A5 and then had to climb again to Gayton, working our way round the south of the town and down the last hill through Great Houghton (where of course we’d followed the route of the Women’s Tour 12 weeks earlier. Anyone know what Vos and Armitstead were up to yesterday?).

Many thanks to Milton for laying on such an interesting route, ordering the tailwind for the return leg and showing us some different stretches of tarmac in an area we all thought we knew pretty well already.

Curate’s egg GPS track of the route can be found here:

Tyre Tip

No Ride Report this week (it was the big group AGM yesterday) so I thought I’d share with you a tyre tip with you instead. And the timing’s not bad given that we’re now in the winter riding season (that’d be “winter” then) and the maintenance classes are due to start this week.

Some of us believe that if we get tyre back on the wheel, we’re done.

Others, however, get all pedantic about lining the label up with the valve. Something about it “looking right” and finding “things”.


It’s quicker, that’s why.

The bendy bike suffered a p*nct*re last week, and I couldn’t find what had caused it.

Not until I found the hole in the inner tube, that is, lined it up against the tyre and then squeezed that bit of tyre very, very hard. The stone that caused it wasn’t visible or feelable unless you put an immense amount of pressure on the tyre (which, of course, is what happens when you ride).

You know why it’s important to find the cause I trust …

So, when I put the tyre back on, I spent that extra 2 seconds making sure it was refitted exactly as it had come off :


all lined up, ready for next time.

The Rutland Ride – 2 Takes

We have two different perspectives on last Sunday’s ride to Rutland.


Brian’s Account
Following a request by email 7 riders assembled early at Moulton and we made a prompt start at 9.30am heading off north towards East Carlton Country Park for the coffee stop. The weather was fine and sunny with autumnal temperatures. However, within the first hour we were all stripping off layers as the temperature rose to a very pleasant summer’s day, just great for being out on a bike.

Phil L was only out for the morning but as he peeled off we were joined by John C as we approached the Country Park for coffee, where we sat outside enjoying the sun.

A long downhill sweep took us into the valley, past Eyebrook Reservoir and on to the caravan site of Sweet Hedges where we received a warm welcome and enjoyed a selection of roast lunches. It was tempting to stay in the rural setting enjoying the mid-day sun and good company, but as we were only half way we pressed on towards Uppingham before turning home through the ‘seductive’ Vale of Welland (Philip’s words although the long hill out of the vale provoked a different comment ! ). The route was then a switchback of hills on quiet roads through the hamlets of Medbourne and Weston, to the hidden Dale of Dingley, before re-entering the Shire with an ascent to the plateau of Harrington and Lamport and back to Moulton at about 4pm.

If you read the original rides email we did not fall victim to any Orcs, Nazgul or the rumoured Worm of Uppingham, but we did cover the 55 miles and it was fairly hilly with a little more than 1000 metres of climbing. Although many of the roads were familiar this was a new route and it amazes me that there is such variety of day rides in the county (and beyond). Well done Philip.


The Leader’s Account
On Sunday last, the 6th day of October, seven members of the Fellowship of the Flying Wheel left Moulton in the Shire for a challenging ride through many hills and dales, seeking the Kingdom of Rutlandia.

We were blessed with clement weather, perhaps the last of the summer. But during our journey, the Raucous Drongo was called home – to be replaced later by the Sabbath Rider at Rothwell.

We restored ourselves with the secret brews of East Carlton Country Park cafe, before continuing through the quiet, grand countryside near Eyebrook Reservoir. We followed the path less travelled to the well concealed restaurant of Sweet Hedges, where generous meals in the plain country style awaited us.

But here, as he consulted the ancient OS map, an awful realisation dawned upon our leader. This was not Rutlandia! In fact our route stayed just within the border of the Shire of Leicester, while the Mountains of Rutlandia towered overhead…

Forced to return without entering that fabled Kingdom, we wended our way back, over long energy-sapping hills and short sharp drumlins. But our spirits were lifted up by views of the Welland Valley, Dingley Wood and the Harrington Uplands.

We had ridden 56 miles and climbed over 3400 feet. For those who made it back to the Shire of Northampton, it was clear: another expedition will one day enter the Kingdom and penetrate its mysteries. The Fellowship shall ride again!


(I don’t know what the leader’s been putting is his cocoa lately, but I’ve never seen mountains in Rutland. A couple of sharpish hills, yes, but mountains? The mind boggles. – Ed)