Ride to Barby & Everdon, Sunday 29th October

James who is leading this ride writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:
Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road Crossing, NN6 8AA.  There is a BVW car park a little way up Brampton Lane.
Distance: 52 miles
Refreshment stops: Barby Garden Centre (16 miles), Plough Inn, Everdon (34 miles)
Pace: Steady

This Sunday’s steady ride is taken from the Macsporran archive.  Whilst the great man himself is (sadly) unable to join us, the route he’s plotted is fun, very scenic and – if Tuesday’s recce is anything to go by – full of surprises.

Starting off from Brampton Valley Way, we’ll head out towards Norton via Great Brington and Whilton.  Once in Norton we then take a delightfully quiet, albeit ‘agricultural’ lane in the direction of our first coffee stop: Barby Garden Centre (16 miles).  Suitably refreshed, we’ll continue on through Willoughby and Priors Marston, where we’ll be greeted by a short – but rather sharp – climb, which will strain the lungs and legs of even the fittest among us.  Heading on towards Badby and then Everdon, we’ll again be on some very quiet lanes populated by wandering hens, lost sheep and the occasional duck pond.

Our lunch stop will at be The Plough Inn in Everdon. It’s a very welcoming place, popular with other cyclists and walkers, and serves a varied menu including an impressive array of local ales and, err, gins.  It’s quite a quirky joint with its own junk/bric a brac shop in the garden, where the range of sailor’s hats, ancient sheepskin coats and old brogues – all at very reasonable prices – is sure to satisfy the most discerning of CTC members.

The final stage of our journey sees us heading us back to Northampton via Nether Heyford, Bugbrooke and Harlestone.

At the risk of overselling it, I’ll repeat that this is a really nice route – not too demanding -with some lovely picturesque sections.  Whilst there are a few steep(ish) areas, it’s fair to say its undulating rather than hilly with a total distance around the 52 mile mark.

More details from James on 07841 933046.

Sunday 3rd September – Naseby Figure-of-8

Meeting point: Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / A5099 crossing – near the Windhover.  There is a BVW car park a little way up Brampton Lane.
Meeting time: 9.30 a.m.
Distance: 40 miles
Speed: Tourist speed – with time to stop and stare!
Refreshments: Elevenses, if required, at Kelmarsh Buddhist Centre (18 miles).  Main stop at Naseby Vicarage where we are booked in at 12.30 p.m. / 1.00 p.m. (28 miles)

This Sunday’s ride is a little different in that we will be visiting well-known places but pausing from time to time and trying to appreciate them as if we were seeing them for the first time.
From BVW we will ride via the Harlestones (viewing the Dovecot), Althorp (gazing at the House over the ha-ha), Great Brington (contemplating dead Spencers), East Haddon (the old water pump), Holdenby (considering the fate of kings), Cottesbrooke (the wealth of turkeys) and possibly stopping at Kelmarsh (as described by James in the last ride report).
Then a tour of Clipston, Sibbertoft and Naseby takes us around the viewpoints of the Battle of 1645 before arriving at the Vicarage where we have booked the large and grand table for lunch.
On the return, which is only twelve more miles, we shall inspect “probably the most impressive seventh-century building north of the Alps” at Brixworth before emerging from the country park at Pitsford and returning to our start point via Chapel Brampton.
We should be back by 2.30 p.m.
The reason for this ride’s different pace and approach is that we will have a visitor from Aachen in Germany with us.  Back in 2013, Philip G organised a twinning visit there for CTC Northampton members where we were hosted by ADFC Aachen members.  (The ADFC is the German equivalent of the CTC.)  Eight of us went – and Alex and I were hosted by Sabine Neitzel.  Alex and I stayed with Sabine again last year and now she is visiting Northampton for a long weekend.
Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!
Ian
Questions? 07960 302095

Ride report – Saturday 17th December

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?

Ride report – Brisk ride to Ashby St Ledgers, Sat 8 Oct 2016

Philip Gray led this ride and writes:
Seven riders gathered at Brampton Valley Way on Saturday 8 October in crisp Autumn weather for a brisk ride to Ashby St Ledgers, which turned into something of an “adventure cross” ride – with an unexpected bonus at the end.

Familiar roads took us through Long Buckby, which was busy with other cyclists out enjoying the morning, then north-west to Yelvertoft, and sharp south to Crick, on mainly good roads. After crossing the A5 we wound into historic Ashby St Ledgers and saw the famous room where the Gunpowder Plot reputedly was hatched.

We then followed smaller unclassified roads from Welton to Norton, and the disintegrating road through Dodford Lodge Farm, which involves opening and closing four gates, then slithering along half a mile of deep gravel.

Phil and Milton found this more fun than they could bear, and left us at the A5, mumbling excuses about family engagements… 🙂 The rest of us continued on the pretty but dodgy gated road through Brockhall, as it started to rain.

Pop-up Coffee

Pop-up Coffee

After a further challenging surface from Whilton, we reached Great Brington. Here by serendipity we noticed some bunting and a “Pop-Up Cafe – Cyclists Welcome” sign outside a house, and swiftly agreed to stop. We were received very warmly by the purveyors of Great Brington Coffee who were running this “pop-up cafe” in their garden in aid of Scope. Not only were the coffee and the cakes excellent, but we discovered a shared interest in cycling with other guests, including a group of young women cyclists .

After this well-timed stop, it was a short ride back through Althorp and Church Brampton to the star for a round trip of 38 miles.

Thanks all for your company.

PS I set off afterwards for an extra loop, only for my rear gear cable to snap after a couple of miles – which made for an interesting limp home, with only two gears… At least it didn’t happen on the ride!

Saturday morning rides – 27th August – A Report

Milton went out on Saturday and writes

Ten of us met up at East Hunsbury for James’s 40 mile tour through some of the more rural parts of western Northants to coffee at Daventry Country Park. Six opted for the brisk ride led, in the absence of James through injury, by Giles, and four for the moderate paced effort led by Iain. On a showery day, only once were we soaked, on the outward journey, and that was by a short sharp downpour around Preston Capes. As ever it took me until the shower was over and I was drenched to find and put on my waterproof jacket. Are there Di2 versions for the likes of me?

The brisk group kept up a fine spanking pace until Newnham hill when some of us came as close as it gets to a wheezing halt without actually falling off. Thank you Giles and Chris for waiting for us at the top – could you look a little more knackered next time?

We were soon safely seated at the country park and after about half an hour joined by the moderate group who had also had a pleasant time until the hill. Can’t it be levelled somehow?

Coffee and cake and bacon and egg butties (7/10 from Giles)  and the brisk group were off to battle home on the lovely route through Whilton, Great Brington, Upper Harlestone and down through Upton to the river and home. We were only caught by another shower just as we got to our homes, although I understand the moderate group had a bit of a dousing along the riverside.

Good to have Chris out for his third run and to see Hartley for the first time in a while. Iain D sported a new machine which, on passing Leisure Lakes Bikes, was taken in for some minor brake adjustment (as in “I had no brakes!”, which they sorted without quibble or charge despite me not having bought the bike from them! So many thanks to the staff there – Iain). How many people conspire to have a mechanical outside a bike shop?

Thank you leaders both –  Iain and Giles, and we look forward to Giles getting the promised reading glasses so that he can see his Garmin better, although, as he hasn’t a clue how to work it, I can’t imagine what difference it’ll make!

Ride to Catthorpe – Easter Monday

Brian, our Rides Secretary, has planned a lovely ride for us this Easter weekend:

Bank Holiday Monday

Start: 9.30 a.m.
Start point: Brampton Valley Way (BVW) – Welford Crossing, NN6 8AA – near “The Windhover” – there is a BVW car park just up Brampton Lane
Distance: 47 miles
Refreshments: Catthorpe (lunch), Whilton Locks (possible tea stop)
Return by 3.00 p.m.

The ride takes us out through Guilsborough, Cold Ashby and Yelvertoft on mainly quiet country roads to Catthorpe (23 miles) for lunch at the Manor Farm Kitchen Café.

We return is via the outskirts of Rugby and through Barby and Norton with a possible tea stop at Whilton Locks.  Then through Great Brington and back to BVW.

Note that this is also the first ride of BRITISH SUMMER TIME this year !

Hope to see you there, Brampton Valley Way, 9.30 a.m. MONDAY morning.

Crick Loop – Brisk-ish Ride – Saturday morning 13th June

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.

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 – Brisk ride in the dark – Saturday 6th December

Milton, our new Secretary, went on this ride and writes:

A hardy band of nine met up at the Brampton Valley Way starting point for Phil G’s 30-mile brisk ride.  He could really have advertised it as icy brisk, as it was certainly that.

We headed out through the Bramptons and thence to Holdenby, Guilsborough and West Haddon by which time the hilly terrain had done for two of us who took the offered short cut to the pub at Great Brington via the beautiful and historic Ashby St Ledgers.  Later Phil would stop the main group there to point out the building in which the gunpowder plot was reputedly hatched.

As the sun sank and our lights went on we came across a couple of lads trying to push their broken-down car up the single track road to Welton to find a safe spot to leave it.  We downed bikes and heaved them to a safe spot before setting off again and starting to wonder if we’d kindly helped a pair of thieves with their booty.  Who can tell?  If they were thieves, they were grateful ones!

By the time we reached Long Buckby it was pitch black and the single track and lonely road to the pub at Great Brington loomed large to those of us with less than adequate lights … me that is.  I stuck to the well endowed in the lighting department as s*** sticks to a shovel and made it through.

We, all nine of us now, had a beer or two in front of a fine open fire and reluctantly, as it was colder than ever and annoyingly still dark, we set off on the final few miles back to our starting point via Harlestone and Church Brampton.

How did I find my first ever night ride? … Bonkers, totally bonkers but much fun.  We all enjoyed it and owe a debt of gratitude to Phil G for leading it.

Ride Report – “Ride the Route” – Sunday 4th May

Brian, our Secretary, went on this ride led by Ian M, our Chairman, and writes:

It is not often that we get a chance to do a linear ride without returning to the start but last Sunday week,  twenty riders met on the Market Square in the centre of Oundle at 9.30 a.m. to ride the route of Stage 1 of The Women’s 2014 Tour: 100 km finishing at the Guildhall in Northampton.  Six of us took advantage of Iain D’s landrover and a borrowed trailer to get to the start; some went by car with a lift back to the start with ride leader Ian M; three others cycled out from Northampton; and, to complete the group, four riders associated with Oundle School joined us.

With the emphasis on the reason for the ride, the mandatory photo at the start featured the 6 ladies at the front.

With the emphasis on the reason for the ride, the mandatory photo at the start featured the ladies at the front.

As a large group, a quick briefing from ride leader Ian outlined the grouping for the ride.  As it turned out, riders were all experienced and of similar ability so we kept in small groups within sight of the leader regrouping from time to time.  Apart from crossing a few main roads the route was quiet and traffic-free, through some very pleasant countryside.  It was sunny, warm and with only a light wind, ideal for riding.

Unusuallly for a CTC ride there were no cafés along the first part of the route (not that the ‘Tour’ race organisers would be planning for that) so a brief respite at Rushton gave us time for socialising as well as preparation for the quoted “queen of the hills” at Harrington. This hill was not so much steep as relatively long and sustained.

We were all ready for a lunch stop in Brixworth. Although we arrived at about 12.45 p.m. ‘Sunday lunch’ in the pub took some time for a large group and we did not depart Brixworth until 2.45 p.m. somewhat behind schedule but having had a very sociable break. As arranged a number of riders left the group at this stage to return home and a reduced group continued for the second half of the ride.  This took in some of the steepest hills on the course especially between Brixworth and Great Brington.  We could not go through the closed section of the Tour route through Althorp but thanks to Ian’s recce earlier in the week, our detour followed the official route as close as possible.

From Nobottle it was a relatively fast run on a straight road to the outskirts of Duston, where it seemed as if we were nearly home. However, the route turned south around Northampton taking us as far east as Great Houghton before it returned along Bedford Road and into the Derngate for a sprint finish – won, of course, by Emily and Chloe.

There was a celebratory photo outside the Guildhall.

There was a celebratory photo outside the Guildhall.

The race organisers certainly chose a great route through the County with some of the best cycling on quiet roads. I wonder what the Tour riders will make of some of the road surfaces en route.

Many thanks to Ian M for sorting out the route and leading so ably on the day.  Just for the record the route was 58miles (93km), total ascent 3048 ft (938m), 37%up, 33% down, 30%level (<1%). Average speed 13+ mph.

The route is here on RideWithGPS.