Report – Ride on Sunday 17th February

Ian Macsporran led this ride and writes:

On a beautifully sunny morning, nine riders gathered at the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) crossing with the A5199 at 9.30 a.m. (and a tenth was waiting for the group at the Waterloo Farm Café).  Iain D, Brian, David, Eleanor, Phil L were joined by Malcolm, Hartley and Vikki – these three being guest riders out to see what we were like.  Bill was waiting at the café.  I had chosen, in retrospect a bit of a leg-stretching ride: only 45 miles but plenty of bumps.  I had no excuse, having recce’d it only two days earlier.

Before elevenses,the high spot (literally) was pausing at Naseby Church.  Every route in to Naseby seems to involve a considerable climb.  But the sunshine and the company made it pleasant work.  We reached the café – at 18 miles – at 11.15 a.m.  I’d booked a table for eight at the Foxton Locks Inn and, by phoning ahead at this stage, was able to increase it to ten.  Through East Farndon (downhill for once – as Iain noted) and Lubenham was delightful.  We reached the locks at 12.30 p.m.

The inn was fully booked for lunches, and there was a queue – so it was good to have a table set for ten waiting for us; and a helpful waitress bringing us drinks and meals.

Leaving Foxton at 1.30 p.m. we went on some lanes new to most of the group – to Theddingworth and Sibbertoft from the north. We climbed up to Naseby again and enjoyed the fast descent.  Then the last big climb of the day was up into Guilsborough.  One or two pimples brought seven of us back through Teeton and Holdenby to the BVW and the A5199 by 3.40 p.m.  (Iain, Eleanor and Bill had peeled off at appropriate points.)

Everyone claimed to have enjoyed the route but, as a distinguished music critic once said that an orchestra is nothing without listeners, so a planned route is nothing without riders.  My thanks are heartfully felt to my nine fellow pedallers.  I hope that Malcolm, Hartley and Vikki join us again.

 

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Report on recce for Sunday 17th February ride

I’m glad I left my recce to the last minute.  Today was the nicest biking weather for quite a while.

Start from the Brampton Valley Way near The Windhover at 9.30 a.m.  Elevenses at Waterloo Farm Café.  Lunch at Foxton Locks Inn.  Return to The Windhover.

Out via Holdenby, Spratton, Creaton, Cottesbrooke, Naseby and Clipston to Great Oxendon at the Waterloo Farm Café  .Don’t be alarmed by the A5199 between Spratton and Creaton; we’ll use the dual-use path on the eastern side.

On via East Farndon and Lubeham to Foxton Locks.

Return via Theddingworth, Sibbertoft, Naseby, Guilsborough, Teeton and Holdenby to The Windhover.  There’s a short stretch of A road (the A4304) just before Theddingworth; it’s about ½-a-mile and the only A road on the whole day.

That makes it a very narrow figure-of-eight centered on Naseby.  As I was a history teacher for forty years, I can’t get enough of Naseby.  One of the three most important battles in English history!  (The other two being the Battle of Hastings and the Battle of Britain.)  Riding the area on a bike is a close to seeing the view from 17th-century horseback as you’ll ever get.  You appreciate why, at dawn on the day of the battle, both sides raced to control Naseby church with the view from its spire.  Fairfax’s own view on the ground is magnificent enough!

Some may want to join us at Waterloo Farm.  Some may want to say goodbye at Foxton Locks.  Timings:  if we leave The Windhover at, or shortly after, 9.30 a.m., we’ll reach Waterloo Farm at approximately 11.00 a.m.  A table is booked at Foxton Locks Inn at 12.30 p.m.  If we leave Foxton Locks at, say, 1.30 p.m. then we’ll be back at The Windhover at 3.20 p.m.

If anyone needs afternoon tea, then Seatons at Guilborough will be open and serving hot drinks, although I was given the impression that hot drinks would be from a machine.  Certainly the café space there is much reduced since I last visited.  I got the impression it was under new owners.  We’ll be in Guilsborough at about 2.40 p.m.

Distance: just over 45 miles.  Route on Endomondo here.

Here’s the Foxton Locks Inn’s menu for Sunday.  There’s a range of roasts and Sunday dinners at one end, with filled warm baguettes at the other end.  Today, I had a pint (of very good real ale) and a filled baguette.

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IMAG0209I hope to see lots of you on Sunday morning!

Ride Report – Sunday 20th May

Ian Macsporran went on this ride, led by Iain Dawson, and writes:

Five members assembled outside Moulton Co-op at 9.30 a.m. – Iain D (our leader for the day), Brian, Dave, Mike and Ian M – for a loop to the north, around Market Harborough.  Elevenses were planned for the Waterloo Café at Great Oxendon and lunch for the World Peace Café at the Buddhist Centre in Kelmarsh.  It was also agreed that we’d use roads, rather than the Brampton Valley Way, to get to the first café. We started promptly.

 

The route can be found here.  (Speed and ascent details are missing but Brian gives the total ascent as 2,700’.) It was a splendid route, taking us into parts of south Leicestershire we don’t often visit and such delights as a very smoothly surfaced descent from Harrington to Newbottle Bridge and a memorable lane north out of Market Harborough over the A6.

 

We were in good spirits at the Waterloo Café and a bacon sandwich was consumed prior to the expected vegan cuisine of the Buddhists’ café.  Market Harborough and Great Bowden were quiet.  The lane from Great Bowden to Welham is accessible really for non-motorised travellers only and was full of cycles, horses, dogs and ponies.  The descent on the B6047 south of the Langtons was enjoyable then we were up into Foxton and Lubenham and Iain D’s favourite climb through East Farndon.  Quiet lanes took us to the Buddhist Centre at Kelmarsh where disaster almost struck – the café was closed because the Buddhists had all gone to a Spring Celebration.

 

A short detour took us to Kelmarsh Hall and its tea-room.  Added bonus – although it’s probably not official CTC policy to admire motor cars – was to find the Mercedes-Benz Club’s W123 Rally taking place with a host of classic Mercs parked on the drive in front of the Hall.

After lunch, it was a straightforward pedal back though Haselbech, Cottesbrooke and Brixworth to cross the dam at Pitsford Water and return to Moulton.  Brian was a Good Samaritan outside Brixworth, helping a lady cyclist who was trying to get to Hinckley without a map!

 

It was a cool day.  Everyone arrived at the start with plenty of layers on – and none were shed during the entire ride!  We all agreed at the finish, however, that it had been an excellent day’s cycling and that big thanks were due to Iain D.

P.S. Tales of Bromptons, Manchester and Rain!

Further to my stories at the Waterloo Café of the Brompton World Championship Launch last month – riding my Brommie around the Manchester Velodrome, the rain in Manchester, and the Bromptonaut from Sunderland pedalling into the Bridgewater Canal – here is some further amusement/evidence:

The official Brompton Bicycles video of the event with good footage of the velodrome is here – it’s short (1’31”) and even if you don’t blink at 1’07” you’ll miss me.

The best video of the Bromptonaut in the canal is from my friend Mick Blackman here.

My own photos are here.