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.

“Ride The Route” – Sunday 4th May

 

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.

The route

 

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.

Numbers

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!

 

 

Ride Report – Sunday 5th May

Iain Dawson led this ride – “A Ride of Two Rivers” – and writes:

There were five of us ready, outside the Canoe Centre, for this trip on Sunday morning and the weather was looking promising as well. Better than it did last time I tried to lead this ride anyway.

After a short deviation into the industrial estate, we picked-up National Cycle Route 6 in Great Houghton, rode on past Salcey Forest, and down through Haversham on the north side of Milton Keynes. Then we turned onto a gated road that brought us out by Stantonbury Wharf and the Grand Union Canal. We followed this, more or less, half way to Willen Lake, the only snag being that whoever drew the Buckinghamshire street map didn’t know where the bridges over the canal were! Redway navigation is tricky at the best of times, because you never see the street signs, but to have bridges spring up out of nowhere? That’s a new one on me! Anyway, after a couple more pauses to check the map and the signs on nearby streets (thanks Karen and Dave), we found a sign, an actual sign, for “Willen Lake” and were duly delivered to the café there.

Refreshed, we took to the Redways once again to cut through a corner of the original Milton Keynes, with its 12th-century church, and past the Open University, which wasn’t quite as exciting as I’d hoped. We did, however, get to see a lot of the greenery that Milton Keynes has to offer before we cut through the car parks at the west end of the shopping centre and headed up past Linford Wood to the old railway line that now serves as a pedestrian/cycle link between northern MK and Newport Pagnell. A short ride from there – up through Sherington and Emberton Country Park – saw us installed in our favourite Olney café for lunch, sitting out in the sun. I have to say, each time we crossed the Ouse I was getting more and more tempted to drop down to it and take a dip. The weather was magnificent for May.

With only the few miles separating Olney (on the Ouse) from the Canoe Centre (on the Nene), we set off with just Cogenhoe hill left requiring any real work ahead of us and we had an uneventful final leg back to Northampton to finish around 4pm. Not bad for a 52 mile ride taking in some very congested Redways with a couple of navigation errors thrown in to temper the pace.

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.

Ride on Saturday morning – 22nd December

Phil Letts will be leading this ride and writes:

Start  9.30 a.m.  Brampton Valley Way (BVW) by “The Windhover”.   Brisk club ride – 35 miles. 

This is ride follows or shadows the Midshires Way all of which is now on good road surfaces so road bikes required.

Route links the Bramptons, Harlestone, Nobottle, Flore (coffee break) Bugbrooke, Gayton, Blisworth, Roade to Salcey Forest for an early brunch/lunch (25 miles)

Then the return follows the National Route 6 back through Quinton, Great Houghton and Northampton to BVW (10miles)

Phil is on: 07867388592

Afternoon ride around Northamptonshire parish churches – Saturday 21st July

Our Chair, Philip Gray, leads this ride and writes:

This Saturday afternoon, CTC Northampton invites you to join a short cycle tour of some Parish churches to the south-east of Northampton, the second in our Summer of Cycling Leisure Series rides.

Depending on time and access, we will visit two or three of the following churches. Whiston is said to be one of the most interesting churches in Northamptonshire, little changed since 1534 and still without electric light. In Denton there are murals by celebrated Northampton artist Henry Bird. Preston Deanery is a small, very old church now cared for by the Historic Churches Conservation Trust. And finally Great Houghton is unusual in this county in having a Baroque exterior.

After our tour of spiritual places we will enjoy some temporal relaxation at the Britannia pub.

So, if you can bear not to watch Brad Wiggins in the final Tour de France time trial, please come out and enjoy fresh air and a hint of the eternal with us.

We start from the Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road at 2.00 p.m. and should return by 5.00 p.m. The ride will be 15 – 18 miles at a leisurely pace. There are some hills but we will take them easy. The weather forecast is currently for sunny intervals and up to 19 degrees (you may wish to retrieve your suncream from wherever you left it last summer…).

Non-members are welcome but please contact me first (01604 720522 or chairman@ctc-northampton.org.uk) if you have not ridden with us before.

Hope to see you there!

Ride report – Saturday 7th April

Phil Letts led this ride and writes:

Despite an unpromising grey sky and spats of rain, Philip Gray and I met at the Brampton Valley Way’s Welford Road Crossing (by “The Windhover”)  for this brisk circuit of Northampton.  We were delighted to be joined at the last moment by three new riders: Simon, Graham and Fiona. They had seen the ride advertised in the paper and were attracted by the description as “brisk”.

And brisk it was to with a good steady pace of 15-16 m.p.h. all the way via Kislingbury and Blisworth to Salcey Forest for morning coffee.  Then on via Great Houghton and Ecton to Moulton.  Our new friends departed for their neck of the woods in the Creaton area.

Good to get out and good to ride with some new folks. Let’s hope they come again!