Ride Report – Sunday 17th May

Phil J led this ride and writes:

A sunny but windy day greeted the seven riders at East Hunsbury for this second club ride to Draycote Water this year. They included new boys Norman and Geoff as well as recent newcomer Tim.

Assembling at the start in East Hunsbury

Assembling at the start in East Hunsbury

Once over the cycle paths at Pineham, which allowed everyone to warm up, we hit the road proper at Harpole culminating in the short sharp climb onto the Roman Road. The next few miles around Harlestone allowed all the riders to recover before the long haul up to the top of Brington Hill where we saw other cyclists reaching the top just ahead of us.

The journey through the village of Whilton was pleasant and the fast decent into Whilton Locks even better although we did seem to have no choice but to pedal downhill due to the force of the wind. The sun seemed to have long gone at this point too.

The gated roads from Norton beckoned and apart from the first corner of gravel posed no problems for the group and were virtually traffic-free. We pressed on towards Welton at a steady pace and onto Barby before an impromptu stop outside Barby Nurseries for everyone to take on whatever fuels they needed.

On the move again we soon hit decent road conditions over the border into Warwickshire and another long haul towards the main road into town. Cycle paths provided much welcome protection from the busy road into Dunchurch before the last mile or two on the A426 into Draycote Water.

All but one of us chose the much talked about Draycote scones – some riders even suggesting they could eat two! At this point Geoff decided that he would make his own way back home and so the six of us set off on the return journey.

View of bikes, dam and reservoir from Draycote Water café

View of bikes, dam and reservoir from Draycote Water café

The lane through Grandborough was welcomed by the group as new tarmac seemed to have been laid for a good couple of miles. Willoughby was then next en route where we slowed to admire some fantastic classic cars assembled by the side of the road. We cruised through Braunston before re-joining the route we had come in on just outside Welton.

The gated roads on the way back provided one of the biggest climbs of the day with a two-tier climb before eventually reaching Norton again. A byway was the next part of the ride and proved interesting in a number of ways. Two fast descents with plenty of gravel at the base of each provided a hair raising experience for us but we all escaped unscathed. The surface then became more off road than road as we slewed and slid our way out the other side and again nobody came unstuck.

Back on solid ground we skirted around Brockhall and onto Flore with another climb or two to keep things interesting. The pace then gathered somewhat through Nether Heyford and Bugbrooke but everyone regrouped towards Rothersthorpe for the final push home. With nobody opting to go their own way all six riders returned to the start but not before climbing “Mount Tesco” – a great achievement with almost 60 miles in our legs.

Great riding everyone!


Ride report – Sunday 18th January

Phil J led this ride to Draycote Water and writes:

Just three riders decided to brave the biting cold on this day ride to Draycote Water which looked promising initially as the sun was shining early on.  We plummeted down into the valley and the temperatures followed as the sun went behind gloomy skies.

We spun across Pineham’s smooth cycle paths, aware of the ground frost on the excellent surfaces.  Harpole presented the first real road riding culminating in a heart thumping climb out of the village and onto the Roman road.

We levelled off for a while through Harlestone and the Firs before a combination of climbing and fast descending around Althorp.

Heading towards Whilton we toyed with the idea of having an impromptu café stop at Whilton Locks just to warm us up in the difficult conditions but we decided to stick to the plan and head for Barby instead.  The gated roads at Norton posed no problems and were traffic-free as we looked forward to the comfort of the cafe at The Willows.

Once inside the options were given to carry on riding or return home. Phil L who had been struggling with the cold, sensibly decided to return home.  Dave and I decided to continue on to Draycote.

On leaving the cafe the sun came out lifting the mood of the group as did the “4 miles to Dunchurch” sign shortly after.  Crossing the border into Warwickshire we were greeted with freshly laid tarmac which helped our progress towards the reservoir.  At the A426 we used the designated cycle paths to keep us safe with hardly anybody else using them.

The main road through Dunchurch seemed easy as was the last mile or two into Draycote Water using the busy A426.

We were greeted with a busy reservoir and had to wait to be seated at the restaurant.  So we opted for bracing balcony seating giving us a table straight away.

Ride leader!

Ride leader!

Hot soup and tea warmed us up as well as eating the biggest jam and cream scones we had ever seen.

Ride.  Eat cake.  Sleep.  Repeat.

Ride. Eat cake. Sleep. Repeat.

Suitably refuelled we retraced our steps back towards the town and the route back to Barby.  On the way the inevitable happened.  I hit a patch of ice and briefly slewed before righting myself again without falling.  A close call.

With the sun still shining the route back seemed better but it was still very cold and difficult to feel any benefit.

We continued past Whilton Locks to the last real climb of the day to the top of the Roman road and we both climbed admirably.

At Harpole Dave continued on to Duston whilst I followed the same route back over Pineham and Hunsbury Meadows, calling it a day there and cleverly avoiding the need to climb “Mount Tesco” back to the official start.

This was a tough challenge today due to the cold conditions but we did superbly whatever our distance.

Well done!

Ride Report – Sunday 1st April

Phillip Gray led this ride to Draycote Water and Dunchurch.  He writes:

Seven riders took part in Sunday’s ride to Dunchurch. Setting off in crisp but cool sunshine, we headed west for an early teastop at Whilton Locks garden centre. This built us up for the hilly route via Norton and Welton towards Braunston. Here we took the track past the church and lost village of Wolfhamcote. About 1.5 miles of rough semi-metalled track, with several gates, tested our tyres and co-ordination but was a refreshing short-cut through isolated, picturesque farmland. Emerging near Grandborough, we headed through the village and then north along an A road to Draycote Water.

No sooner up on the reservoir wall, than we found that this was the day the flies had chosen to come out and mate, with huge swarms reminding us that the happy cyclist is the one without the flies in his teeth. Draycote was strikingly low – not surprising to learn that Severn Trent Water is working to pump water in from near Leamington Spa.  Despite this, the blue reservoir was beautiful in the sunshine.

Leaving the reservoir, after a short stint on the road, we stopped at The Green Man in Dunchurch for a good, economical pub lunch and pleasant conversation in the sunny garden.

The route back took quiet roads and a steep hill into Barby, then back to Whilton, Little Brington and Harlestone, a total 50.7 miles back at the Brampton Valley Way.

Events in April

Sunday 1st April – Day ride to Dunchurch & Draycote Water

Meet 9.30 a.m. at “The Windhover”.  50 miles.  Stops at Whilton Locks (elevenses) and Grandborough (lunch).  Leader Philip Gray (01604720522)

Saturday 7th April – Brisk morning ride encircling Northampton

Meet 9.30 a.m. at “The Windhover”.  35 miles.  Elevenses at Salcey Forest.  Return by lunch.  Leader Phil Letts (07707 118389)

Saturday 21st April – Leisurely ride exploring “Connect-2”

Meet 2.00 p.m. at the Canoe Centre, Bedford Road.  15 miles.  Leader Iain Dawson (07909 992468)

Sunday 1st April – Ride to Dunchurch & Draycote Water

Philip Gray, our Chairman, writes:

This Sunday’s ride is a 50-mile, medium-paced ride into Warwickshire, to check the levels at Draycote Water – where we should see some sailors if there is any wet stuff left … !

There will be a teastop at Whilton Locks Garden Centre and lunch at a pub near Draycote.

Meet at the Brampton Valley Way, Welford Road crossing (near “The Windhover”), at 9.30am.

The current weather forecast for the weekend is a few degrees cooler – but still no rain …!  Hope to see you then!

Philip can be contacted on 01604 720522.