Morning ride to Staverton – Saturday 11th February

Phil L is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ
Length: 43 miles (brisk), 35 miles (moderate)
Refreshments: Skylark Farm Café (25 miles)

Our route takes us via Gayton, Pattishall, Litchborough and Newnham to a new coffee stop for us: the Skylark Farm Café at Staverton.

We return via Newnham, Daventry, Norton, Whilton and Flore.

Milton will be leading the moderate ride; we will all be meeting at the café for elevenses.

Questions?  Phil is on 07867 388592.

Ride report – Saturday 12th December

Phil L led this ride and writes:

Following all the dire weather forecasts emanating from the Met Office for “continuous heavy rain from 5.00 a.m. onwards” I had my doubts that this morning’s planned brisk ride would even start.  By 8.30 a.m., however, it was still dry and seemed promising so I met the other three wanting to ride at the Brampton Valley Way start point.  And then it started raining!  Later than predicted but enough to make it a bit of a wet start.

But we got a good brisk pace going despite a fairly tough headwind and soon took in Flore, Nether Heyford, Stoke Bruerne, Ashton and Hartwell before it started to abate.  We called in at Salcey for a coffee and quick “steam”!

Our usual return loop through Quinton, Preston Deanery and Great Houghton was pleasantly aided by a following wind and so a good quick 35 miles were achieved and enjoyed.

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 1st June

Eleanor went on this ride, led by Ian M, and writes:

Eight of us arrived promptly at the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) near The Windhover for our ride, a loop around Daventry.  One new rider (Ken from Morecambe) who was visiting family in the area joined us.  We set off enjoying blue sky and sunshine – which lasted all day – along familiar and then less-well-known lanes taking in lovely views over a very green countryside.  After our coffee stop at The Willows in Barby, we left on schedule along quiet lanes dotted with gates and cattle grids to negotiate.  Our final obstacle was a flock of sheep we herded along and off into a field before arriving at The Windmill in Badby for lunch.

Eleanor discovers her inner shepherdess

Eleanor discovers her inner shepherdess near Lower Catesby

With the few delays and after a longer lunch we eventually got moving and headed for home.  Four of us split just before Flore, the rest heading back to BVW.  I hope you all arrived safely home and like me enjoy a great day out.

Thanks to Ian M for his time in organizing and leading the ride.

The route is here on RideWithGPS.

 

Ride Report – Leisure ride – Saturday 24th May

Brian, our Secretary, went on this ride on Saturday afternoon led by Iain D, our Rides Secretary, and writes:

It rained solidly all Saturday morning and the forecast was grim. However, it often happens that there is a break in the rain before the next rain front arrives.  This was true to form and at 1.00 p.m. there was a break in the clouds and by 2.00 p.m. when three riders met at East Hunsbury the sun was about to break through.

Iain D was on his Brompton folder, being a leisure ride, but he seemed to be rocket powered as we sped along Banbury Lane. We never quite found out what he had in the large bag on the front of the bike!

Given that we were three regular riders we adopted Plan B which was to extend the route to Weedon and try the cafe next to Joyride Cycles on the A45.  The café turned out to be closed but we enjoyed a quick visit to the bike shop and a chat with Natalie who we met recently at the cycle day in the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.

Back to Plan A and we set off to the The Paddocks tea-room in Flore where we received a warm welcome and very good coffee and cake.  After the morning rain the air was very clear and we had great views over the countryside as we made our way from Flore across to the Nobottle road and then back into town.  Riding from Sixfields down to the canal, the approaching dark clouds looked distinctly ominous.  We split up at Hunsbury and Milton and I set off on the cycle tracks across town only to be caught by hailstones about a mile from home.

Despite this it was a very pleasant afternoon ride and thanks to Iain D for leading the route.

Afternoon leisure ride – Saturday 24th May

Iain D, our Rides Secretary, is leading this ride and writes:

For those of you not venturing out to Beaumanor for the weekend, we are laying on a leisurely ride to Flore this Saturday afternoon.

We will be leaving East Hunsbury at 2.00 p.m. and heading out on estate roads and lanes over the M1 and through Bugbrooke and Nether Heyford before a tea-and-loo stop at the halfway point: the nursery in Flore.

The return trip will take us back across the eastern side of the M1 and through Nobottle, the Berry Wood estate (never been through there so that could be interesting), the Upton Park estate and along cycle tracks in Northampton back to our start point.

See you Saturday, 2.00 p.m., Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ.

Any questions? Iain is on 07909 992468

Brisk morning ride to Canons Ashby – Saturday 26th April

Phil L originally planned a brisk ride this Saturday.  As he gets better from his accident, we’re grateful that Philip G has volunteered to lead it.  He writes:

This is a “brisk” cycle ride to Canons Ashby.  The aim is to maintain 14-15 mph average with as few stops as possible.  A shorter alternative route will be available for those who want a slower pace.  The route, which includes several hills, is roughly Brampton Valley Way – Althorp – Little Brington – Flore – Weedon – Everdon Stubbs – Sustrans Route 70 (south) to Canons Ashby (teastop).  Then return by Banbury Lane – Pattishall – Kislingbury. Distance 35 miles, return by 1.00 pm.

This should be a varied, enjoyable but slightly demanding route with a nice teastop at 20 miles.  Current weather forecast for Saturday is unsettled with a risk of showers, possibly heavy, 10 – 12 degrees with moderate breeze from the SSE.  So nothing the right clothing won’t deal with!

Road bikes are advised. Meet Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road Crossing (NN6 8AA) for a 9.30 a.m. start.  The BVW car park is on Brampton Lane opposite The Windhover.

New riders welcome.

For further information contact Philip on 01604 720522 or philip.g@ctc-northampton.org.uk

Morning off-road ride – Saturday 22nd March

Phil L is leading this ride and writes:
We start at 9.30 a.m. from the Brampton Valley Way (BVW)/A5199 Welford Road crossing (NN6 8AA).  [There is a BVW car park up Brampton Lane opposite “The Windhover”.]
The route is partly off-road and so a off-road or mountain bike is required.  We’ll go to Harlestone Firs and then follow the Grand Union Canal towpath to Gayton Marina before going on to Bugbrooke, Nether Heyford and Flore.  At Flore we’ll leave the towpath for a coffee stop.  We then head to Little Brington and return, via Althorpe and Harlestone Firs, to the BVW.  Altogether between 25 and 30 miles.
Phil is on 07867 388592

Brisk ride on Saturday morning, 13th April

Phil Letts will be leading this ride and writes:

We start at 9.30 a.m. from the Brampton Valley Way (BVW), at the crossing of the A5199 near The Windhover, for a brisk ride of 35 miles.

The route follows or shadows the Midshires Way – all of which is now on good road surfaces so off-road bikes are not required.

We go out via the Bramptons, Nobottle, Flore, Gayton and Roade to Salcey Forest for a coffee stop after 25 miles.

We return following the National Route 6 through Quinton, Great Houghton and Northampton to the BVW after 10 more miles.

Phil is on 07867 388592.

Our shortest ever ride?

On Sunday 17th March, despite leaving home with the sleet falling we were convinced that the weather forecast  “4°C with rain later” would be correct. Four of us met up at the new start point at Sixfields – Iain (the ride leader and in high spirits as he’d ridden the newly-surfaced Brampton Valley Way and through the flooded underpass at Kingsthorpe, although he noted that the track to Mill Lane from the BVW is as rough as ever), Brian, Ian and Phil J. We were of one mind.  Plan 1: 25 miles to Farthingstone and 25 miles back.

At 9.30 a.m. – our start time –  the sleet turned to light snow flakes so we amended our plan. Plan 2: ride to Flore and make a decision over elevenses. The day was bound to warm up and, besides, the snow wasn’t sticking.

Riding through Upton the snow flakes got larger and by the time we reached Duston the snow was heavy and lying.  The slush was deep.

IMGP5793 Phil and Brian on the cobbles of Upton

At this stage we adopted Plan 3: head to Sainsbury’s for coffee and a reassessment of the day.  We watched the snow continue to fall. It was over an inch deep in the supermarket car park.

With the snow / slush that substantial we adopted Plan 4: head for home! Iain and Ian walked to Kingsthorpe, Phil was picked up by car, and Brian walked into town. By the time Brian reached Billing Road the roads were wet rather than icy and he managed to cycle on after that, getting home by mid-day.  Likewise, for Iain and Ian, by the time they reached Kingsthorpe and were able to cycle home in wet / slushy roads rather than ice and snow.

IMGP5794It wasn’t like this when we started

IMGP5795The view from Mill Lane looking towards Kingsthorpe Church

The weather forecast was certainly a long way out but it was a good day to  test out the rain-wear. Iain will probably confirm that shorts and bare legs are the most breathable after centuries of development.

IMGP5796Iain demonstrates that bare legs are the answer to snow

Of course, by the time each of us arrived home, the sun was about to breakout!

Thanks Iain for a short and memorable ride.  Short?  As a group, we managed just under 1½ miles!  Route here!