Milton went on this ride led by Tim and writes:
Seven of us braved a fairly dark and chilly morning to meet up at East Hunsbury for Tim’s 52-mile steady ride around Northampton.
The half-way point saw us getting stuck into cake and coffee and sausage rolls (possibly in that order) at the cafe in Brixworth Country Park having swept round the south and west of the county through Kislingbury, East Haddon and Spratton climbing what felt like most of the Northants cols on route.before Brixworth.
The second stage included Holcot and Earls Barton before crossing the river and climbing up the day’s last mountain to the peak at Castle Ashby where we stopped for more coffee and cake. We had dropped Phil L off by this stage but picked up another, Elspeth, at the Castle so we were still seven and then we lost Geoff who was nearer home than he would be at any other time and so we were six.
We six nipped back towards East Hunsbury via Denton and Preston Deanery at which point three more of us set off homewards and the remaining three – well, who knows – I was safely tucked up at home with coffee and a well deserved couple of slices of cake.
I heard later that the final three made it back to the start point safely, so a good day out was had by all. A well devised route with thanks to Tim!
Tim, our webmaster, went on this “leader-less” ride to Yelvertoft and reports:
Five riders congregated at Brampton Valley Way for Milton’s “Steady ride to Yelvertoft”. Sadly Milton wasn’t able to be one of them having been laid low the day before by Norovirus; we wish him a speedy recovery.
We headed west via Holdenby and East Haddon before turning north at Long Buckby towards West Haddon and on to our most northerly point at Yelvertoft. From here it was back south to Crick where we had an impromptu stop outside St Margaret of Antioch Church for an energy bar or two.
There was a minor deviation from Milton’s planned route at this point to avoid the road to Ashby St Ledgers (discovered to be coated with a rather unsavoury layer of semi-liquid mud and horse manure on a reconnaissance ride the Thursday before!). Instead we branched off down a very pleasant gated road to Watford village before rejoining the planned route just east of Welton.
From here a section of “Milton special tarmac” (to borrow from Eric Morecombe – “all the right pieces, just not in the right places”) led us to Norton and thence to our planned stop at Whilton Locks where bacon butties were eagerly consumed.
It was then just a short ride back to the start via Great Brington and Harlestone.
All in all a very pleasant December morning out: no blue skies but warm and dry nonetheless. Thanks to Milton for providing us with a fine selection of quiet country lanes to enjoy.
Milton will be back to lead the “Boxing Day Bash” (departing 9.30 a.m. from the Canoe Centre – 28 miles with a stop for elevenses at Salcey Forest) so why not come along and join him?
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.
Ian M will be leading Saturday morning’s ride and writes:
Meet: Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road Crossing NN6 8AA (There is a BVW car park just up Brampton Lane)
Start: 9.30 a.m.
Distance: 27 miles
Speed: Brisk-ish (slower than Brisk!) – aiming at 14 mph and happy to achieve 13 mph
Elevenses: The Red Lion in Crick
The route is out via the Harlestones, Great Brington and Long Buckby to Crick; return via West Haddon, Ravensthorpe and East Haddon – here on RideWithGPS. (For avid fans of OS maps, you’ll need *three* sheets – 140, 141 and 152 – as one mile of the route is on a corner of the Kettering & Corby sheet!)
Quiet roads (apart from three very short sections of the A428) – so quiet that on my recce on Tuesday there were two cows on the gated road just north of Watford village!
Elevenses at The Red Lion in Crick after 14 miles. There’s no teashop or café in the village but the pub opens at 11.00 a.m. and offers coffee and a small selection of cakes. (I had the coffee and walnut.) If we find we’re going to be early then Mary, the landlady, has offered to open for us at 10.45 a.m. and I’ll phone her from Long Buckby.
We should be back at BVW by 12.30 p.m., allowing for the coffee stop.
Questions? Contact Ian M on 07960 302095.
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.
I did a recce of the route of Stage 1 of The 2014 Women’s Tour on Wednesday. It went well. I know all the turns!
Meeting & start time
If you’ve booked a place in the LandRover/trailer combination, please be at the Canoe Centre at 7.45 a.m. so that we can be loaded and away at 8.00 a.m. Iain D will drive us to Oundle.
Iain will park up in the car park behind the Joan Strong Centre in East Road, Oundle. Half of this car park has a 2m height restriction and half is unrestricted. My contact at Oundle Town Council has confirmed that it will be open on the day. He also adds that, “If for some reason there are no spaces you could use the Co-op car park which is owned by the Council. No height restrictions there.”
So if you’re making your own way to Oundle, Plan A would be to park behind the Joan Strong Centre (PE8 4BZ). Plan B is the Co-op Car Park, St Osyth’s Lane (PE8 4BG). I believe the St Osyth’s Lane car park has a public toilet that is open from 7.00 a.m. on Sundays.
I think, therefore, that we will meet up in the Plan A car park ready to roll round to the Market Square for 9.30 a.m. I’ll try and keep in touch by mobile if I think the LandRover/Trailer is going to be late. My mobile number is 07960 302095.
At 9.30 a.m. we’ll have a photo in the Market Square and make a start.
There are eleven of us travelling from Northampton and there could be up to fifteen Oundle cyclists joining us.
For our ride, we won’t be going through the two private estates – Broughton and Althorp – but on quiet roads around the perimeters.
The first really busy part, shortly after the Broughton estate, is to cross the A6003. I meandered a bit here on the recce but I think it best to stick to the race route: from Geddington past the hamlet of Newton and coming out onto the new roundabout on the A6003, turning right for 200m on the dual carriageway, then left onto the quiet road to Rushton.
The second busy road would be the A508 from Lamport to Brixworth. We shall avoid this by taking the Scaldwell Road out of Lamport and entering Brixworth on the Holcot Road.
The next busy roads would be the A5199 from Spratton to Chapel Brampton, soon followed by the A428 past the entrance to Althorp that the race will use. We’ll avoid these stretches (and anyway we can’t pedal through Althorp) by going from Spratton via East Haddon to pick up the race route again at Great Brington.
The road was closed on my ride at Little Brington for renewing the water mains – more of a problem for the race than for us, as we can squeeze through one at a time. I popped into Nortoft (the county council’s organisers for race day) at Nobottle and it’s their biggest worry.
After Nobottle, the route is busy-ish down Sandy Lane to the roundabout where we’ll go across the A4500. Then it’s fairly quiet again to the southern edge of the southern development where cars can speed along Wooldale Road towards Caroline Chisholm School. Then it’s quiet again through Great Houghton to the A428 Bedford Road into town. I stuck to the main road here but it’s easy to ride on the shared-use pavement pretty much all the way from Great Houghton to Becket’s Park if you prefer. Then from Becket’s Park it’s 300 metres up Derngate to the Guildhall. I think we’ll have another photo here at 4.00 p.m.
The route is here on RideWithGPS.
Timings and refreshment stops
I started after 10 a.m. and then had a p*nct*r* at Rushton so I was out-of-kilter for café stops. Geddington would be too early anyway. The Dovecot at Newton doesn’t open until noon on Sundays. At Rushton I changed inner tubes on a picnic table outside The Thornhill Arms. By the time I’d done that it was noon, the pub opened and I had coffee and a sandwich. But noon is the opening time on Sundays too and we’ll be through Rushton by then. An ideal cafe in Desborough doesn’t open on Sundays. And the Tollemache Arms in Harrington opens at noon on Sundays for roast dinners only.
The George in Brixworth at 31 miles (out of 58) may be the best bet for a lunch stop but I’ll give it some more thought. One advantage is that riders who don’t fancy a full day could join us at lunchtime in Brixworth for the afternoon. And as we go around Northampton there are many points where one can leave the ride and go straight into town.
If I were to finalise the plan as having lunch at The George, then you might want to bring something to eat for a roadside elevenses at about 20 miles.
We’ve a minimum of 11 riders and a maximum at present of 26. Brian and I will be contacting Marianne at Oundle to get a better idea of her numbers and whether they want to ride all the way. Don’t worry if you booked a place on the LandRover/Trailer combination: there’s still only six of us for that option. But …
I have suggested 7.45 a.m. at the Canoe Club for those on the LandRover/Trailer so that we can be loaded and away at 8.00 a.m. (A late start from Oundle won’t help us as I discovered.)
At the end of the ride, I’ll be pedalling to Kingsthorpe with Iain D and Emily. I’ll then drive the three of us to Oundle to pick up the LandRover/trailer and Emily’s car. There could be two more spaces in my car for this drive. (Just … it’s only a small car!) Speak to me before the day if you would like a lift.
Again, any questions? I’m on 01604 843894 and 07960 302095.
Any suggestions or improvements? Don’t wait until we’re about to start the ride! Speak to me during the week!
Phil Letts, who was to have led this ride, writes
Even with a possible rapid thaw, the route I planned, up and down some of the lesser used roads, is still likely to be hazardous.