Ride report – Sunday 30th April

Milton went on this ride led by Tim and writes:

Eleven cyclists set off from the canoe centre last Sunday on a warmish breezy day for Tim’s 56 miler to Keysoe. Good to see new rider Mark on a fine traditional steel Thorn with Rohloff hub gears and a front hub dynamo – a true touring set up – and to welcome again Chris.

With the quite fierce breezes in our faces it was nearly a struggle to reach Scald End Farm just outside Thurleigh, but very worth while. We were welcomed at the cafe by exceptionally cheery and efficient service and a few full breakfasts were ordered to say nothing of the bacon butties. The addition of cake was too much after that, but most of us managed.
Homeward bound then with bulging stomachs, but with the wind behind us, saw the peloton split in a number of places. Front runners were deservedly punished for going through a junction ahead of the leader by taking a wrong turning at Felmersham and had to be called back. One was too far ahead to hear and, no matter that attempts were made to phone him, he was never seen or heard from again. We hope you made it home John C, but if not and you’re still out there pedalling like mad, I can recommend a fine B and B in Glasgow which, at the speed you were going, you should have reached by now!
We had eaten too much for there to be any excuse to stop at Castle Ashby, so we did, and the coffee and cake was as fine as ever.
Back to base and we realised that we’d all averaged something over 14mph which, for a ‘steady ride’ was not at all bad. Couldn’t have been done without the cake.
Lovely ride Tim, thank you. Good quiet roads and a certain amount of new territory covered..
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Ride Report – Sunday 20th March

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Assembling at the Canoe Centre on Sunday morning!

James went on this ride, led by Brian, and writes:

Seven of us departed from the Canoe Centre on a cold, overcast morning for what was the longest ride of the year so far; a sixty-plus mile round trip to Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire.  After heading out through Little Houghton – where we met up with our two newest members, Alison and Carwyn – we journeyed on at a leisurely pace via Cogenhoe and Poddington towards Melchbourne, where the option of a shortcut to Harrold Country Park was on offer to any riders lacking the stamina to make it to Grafham and back.  Happily, everyone was feeling healthy and strong and nobody took up this alternative route.  The fact that the sun was (contrary to the forecast) making frequent appearances, combined with the picturesque scenery, meant that the miles passed quickly, and it wasn’t long before we’d cycled through Perry and arrived at our destination.

Any thoughts of filling our faces with bacon rolls or jacket potatoes (or both) were soon put out of our minds by the poor overworked chap who – due to staff shortages – was running the restaurant at Grafham by himself and, understandably, didn’t have the time to cook as well as serve drinks to the assorted walkers, runners, windsurfers, etc.  Still, he was kind enough to rustle up some sandwiches for us and there was plenty of cake for sale on the counter.  Leaving Grafham the weather was noticeably cooler and the sky slightly darker.  However, a few miles of pedalling soon warmed us up, and the sunshine made a welcome reappearance as we headed homewards via Felmersham and Chellington.

Given the length of the ride and the lack of satisfactory refreshments at Grafham the journey back included a stop off at the aforementioned Harrold Country Park.  Fortunately, the café here was fully operational and able to accommodate nine famished cyclists in search of flapjacks and caffeine.  Suitably stuffed, we remounted and continued homewards on a route that was just as scenic as the outward trip – passing, as it did, through Easton Maudit and the ever impressive Castle Ashby.  Alas, whatever energy we’d regained at Harrold was quickly drained away by Whiston Hill and the “Col de Cogenhoe’, two sharp little inclines that were made all the more demanding given that they were on the final stage of the ride.  With this in mind, then, it was clearly a notable achievement that none of us collapsed into weeping heaps by the roadside or required oxygen cylinders, defibrillators or ambulances once we’d conquered them!  As well as providing the final climb of the ride, Cogenhoe also served as the end point of our journey where we said our farewells and broke off into smaller groups.

All in all, this was a lovely ride, which thanks to the sunshine and lambs in the fields, signalled the fact that Spring has properly arrived and with it the prospect of many more enjoyable miles on our bikes.  Happy Easter!

Ride Report – Sunday 3rd March

Iain Dawson went on this ride and writes:

Six of us gathered in the bright but chilly forecourt of the Canoe Centre – three of us equipped in usual day-ride trim, two on fixed gears and one poor soul who’d decided to see how his bike rode with a week’s worth of touring gear strapped to it!

Brian led us off into the sunshine and down the A45 cycle-path before dispatching the climbs into Cogenhoe and Grendon in a brisk-ish fashion before we hauled ourselves through Wollaston and into Podington to find Eleanor basking in the sun while waiting for us to turn up.

After a quick comfort/shopping stop at the garden centre, we rolled eastwards and out onto the A6 (the road itself, because some berk had parked his car right on the cycle path) then past the motte-and-bailey at Yelden and up to the old airfield at Bedford, familiar to those who’ve ridden the Guy Barber ride.

Lunch was at a very good garden centre café in Milton Ernest. Not only had they reserved us a table but they’d had to because the place was so busy. I guess it must be spring or something. Anyway, highly recommended for future stops.

The return leg was just as pleasant with a steady roll through Felpersham, sorry Felmersham, and Bozeat before hitting the lovely swooping lanes behind Castle Ashby. Discretion being the better part of valour, Brian elected to give Whiston Hill a miss and so we took the easy way round to Cogenhoe (with its unmissable hill), the group starting to split as various riders turned for home on the way. The small rise to Little Houghton and a brief sprint along the A428 brought the ride (well just me actually, the others all having split off by now) back to the Canoe Centre just before a quarter past three, with the sun still shining and the forecourt considerably warmer than it had been when we left.

Thanks to Brian for a pleasant day’s ride, and for searching out a new lunch stop for us.

See you next time!