Ride Report – Sunday 1st February

Brian, our Secretary, led this ride and writes:

The weather forecast on Saturday looked distinctly wintry for the Sunday morning with the prospect of ice and very cold temperatures.  Following a few phone calls to the regulars everybody seemed keen to get some fresh air and by Saturday evening five riders had signed up subject to no icy roads. Saturday had been sunny and fortunately the overnight temperature was only down to 2 degC so no ice.

The five riders met at East Hunsbury on a cool overcast morning.  We set off with a following wind and made good time to Silverstone where the sun emerged.  We had the cycle track to ourselves as we headed south to Stowe, with the sound of sports cars on the Silverstone circuit alongside.

The National Trust Café at Stowe was quite busy.  Our conversation about the delights of hot sausage rolls was overheard and a plate of steaming rolls appeared just as we got to the till.  Suitably refreshed and warmed up we headed north on very quiet roads to Syresham and Wapenham straight into a strong wind.  Milton waxed lyrical about the buzzards and kestrels along the hedgerows and this and the open countryside made up for the extra effort against the wind.  It wasn’t long before we turned east slightly out of the wind and on to Slapton and Greens Norton before heading home.

We were back in Northampton at about 2 p.m. but the sun had dropped, as had the temperature. Given it was February we were lucky to get in a ride on a day that turned out to be good cycling conditions, not to mention of course the good company!

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“Hannah Barnes’ Favourite Ride” – Sunday 2nd March

Brian, our Secretary, is leading this ride and writes:

This ride was inspired by an article in Cycling Weekly in July 2013 which described the favourite training route of national rider Hannah Barnes who lives in Towcester and starts/finishes her route there. Hannah does her 40 mile route in about 2 hours but we will probably take a little longer and not just because we start in Northampton!

We’ll start from Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ (behind the Tesco Superstore) at 9.30 a.m. prompt.

Route: Blisworth, Shutlanger, short stretch of A5 then across to Silverstone.  Down past Stowe School and on to Chackmore and the Stowe National Trust property and through the Corinthian Arch for coffee.

On then to Biddlestone, Helmdon, Sulgrave, Thorpe Mandeville, and across to Canons Ashby for lunch at the NT property (sandwiches and baked potatoes are available).  It is a short ride back via Litchborough, Greens Norton and Tiffield to Northampton.  That makes for 54 miles.  It’s hilly in parts but the roads are mainly very quiet.

We will return mid-afternoon. (If you want to join us for just the morning, you could return to Northampton from Stowe.)

Brian Tunbridge 01604 622073 (07722 055149 on the day)

You can see the route here on RideWithGPS.

Ride Report – Middleton Cheney – Sunday 25th August

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

First thing on Sunday morning, things were looking decidedly autumnal. The air was cool and damp and it hadn’t long finished raining. One breakfast later, I was headed over to East Hunsbury, not bothering to dodge the showers as they were very light and wondering whether we’ve been spoiled by all the recent sunshine. Crossing Northampton, it all dried up and, in fact, we didn’t see another drop of rain all day after that.

It was still quite cool though as the three of us assembled for a ride that promised some new roads, Banbury being an area we seldom visit.

Following Ian’s newly acquired Garmin box, we headed out through Tiffield and Greens Norton to Sulgrave Manor for elevenses (and received a much warmer welcome than last time!) and it was still autumnal enough to justify their “ye olde 16th century hot chocolate” – interesting blend – before heading on to Middleton Cheney and the local golf club for lunch, by which time, of course, the sun was out and it was getting rather warm and summery once more.

Note to webmaster: it’s worth adding the golf club to our list of food stops. All-Day veggie breakfast is great value.

Having navigated the hitherto unseen “Barley Hill” in Culworth on the return leg, we were FORCED by the heat to stop at Canons Ashby, where we ran into a couple making the most of the long weekend on their Pino tandem (if you’ve never heard of one, google web-search it. It looks like a sit-up-and-beg rear-ended a recumbent but they ride a lot better than that sounds), and Ian’s satnav then brought us back through Pattishall to our start point making a total trip of just under 48 miles with nothing, really, in the way of hills above the usual Northamptonshire rolling countryside. The Endomondo trace of the route is here, with the usual wandering around at tea stops: http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/235886762/5180977

I’m sure Ian will be posting his GPS trace up as well, to see how the two compare.

I’m afraid the rest of you missed out on a rather decent ride!

Ride to Middleton Cheney this Sunday!

Ian M will be leading this ride on Sunday and writes:

I had a good recce today of a route for Sunday’s ride.
You can see my meader to Banbury and back here  on http://www.ridewithgps.com.  (I just thought I’d have a change from Endomondo.)
I set off from Hunsbury at the usual time for a Sunday and reached Sulgrave Manor just as it was opening.  Same times on Sunday!
I then pedalled slowly to Middleton Cheney, thinking that that would be a better stop for lunch than Banbury.  And it has lovely Morris & Co stained glass in the church – a complete set from 1862.  But The New Inn is closed until next year and The Dolphin is just, well, closed!
So I pedalled on to Banbury, enticed by several signposts indicating I was on the Oxfordshire Cycleway.  I was led into enormous roadworks and a completely pedestrianised town centre.  Avoiding Debenhams tea room and a Pizza Express, I found the Banbury Cross – and a pub called “The Banbury Cross”.  Open but no food.  Will you have food over the Bank Holiday weekend?  No, mate – there’s no call for it here!
I struggled out of Banbury and pedalled back on a different route to Middleton Cheney.  The Dolphin was still closed.  I then pedalled a different route north and came across the Cherwell Edge Golf Club.  An A-board at the road advertised carvery lunches on Sundays!  At the entrance to the club house, bar meals were advertised!  A quick bacon butty later and I had learned that while the carvery might require booking for Sunday, the bar meals did not.  Seemed good!
I did have a tea stop in the afternoon at Canons Ashby.
If I’m not selling this route to you, may I say that the cycling is delightful and through many wonderful villages we don’t normally pedal through.  The villages are quite close together so that there’s always a feeling of moving on.  Helmdon was voted Best Northamptonshire Village in 2011.  So here’s the route for Sunday in terms of villages (with my timings from today):
Leave Overslade Close, Hunsbury (0940)
Milton Malsor
Tiffield
Caldecote
Duncote
Greens Norton
Brandon
Slapton
Wappenham
Helmdon
Sulgrave (1105-1125)
Marston St Lawrence
(edge of) Thenford
Middleton Cheney
Lunch at Cherwell Edge Golf Club
Thorpe Mandeville
Culworth
Moreton Pinkney
Canons Ashby (1440-1455)
Adstone
(towards) Blakesley
Cold Higham
Pattishall
Gayton
Milton Malsor
Back at Overslade Close, Hunsbury, at 1555.
That route is really delightful!
I haven’t reserved a table for the carvery at the Golf Club.  I’m assuming that on a warm August day (sunny day with isolated showers, high of 21 degrees C) colleagues would prefer a lighter bar meal.  We can always top up with tea at Canons Ashby – or not!
So, meet at Overslade Close, Hunsbury at 0930 for a splendid day.  We’ll go at a simple pace and so I can’t absolutely promise to be back for 1555.  Just over 50 miles.
Questions?  01604 843894 / 07960 302095 or ian.m@ctc-northampton.org.uk
I hope to see you there!

 

Ride Report – Sunday 23rd June – Stowe Park Loop

Iain Dawson, our Rides Secretary, went on this ride and writes:

For various reasons, not least of which may have been the damp and dismal weather forecast, only three of us turned out for Sunday’s Stowe Park Loop ride. This was disappointing but we are nearing peak season for other cycle-related activities so perhaps it’s not too surprising that turnout was low. Brian, David and I enjoyed ourselves though.

Heading out into the wind, we worked our way down through Stoke Bruerne, past the southern tip of Towcester and onto the lanes that lie between Paulerspury and Milton Keynes, passing a familiar Sustrans face heading the other way, before Brian navigated us down into Buckingham while managing to avoid traffic completely.

Looking for coffee in Buckingham, we wandered into a courtyard arrangement, similar to where we go in Olney, which held not just a brasserie/bistro but also a bike shop. The shop staff made it clear that there are only two decent places in which to get coffee in Buckingham, and there was nowhere to park bikes within sight of one of them. That left the bistro in the courtyard as the other (and our preferred) choice. Highly recommended, especially for Canadian-style pancakes.

A couple of mini-roundabouts and a short climb saw us out of Buckingham and on the straight, and very grand, approach to Stowe Park but rather than head into the grounds we skirted round them for a short stretch before turning off towards Biddlesdon and thence to Syresham, which appeared to have been taken over by scarecrows for the weekend. From there, the plan was to head up through Helmdon to Sulgarve Manor for lunch but this was a little scuppered when we discovered that the road to Helmdon was closed. After a quick review of the map, it was determined that we could simply do the other two sides of the square so we were stuck on the main road a little longer than had been anticipated, but when we finally turned off it: Tailwind!

Sulgrave was also busy, it being open garden weekend. (And also open-your-car-door-without-looking weekend! Don’t ride too close to parked cars).

Lunch was, I have to say, a disappointment. We’ve been to Sulgrave over and over again and it’s always been fairly reasonable but not so on this trip. I don’t know why it’s changed but changed it has and much for the worse. Thank heavens for coffee-stop pancakes.

Brian had cunningly contrived to make the home leg of the route tailwind-assisted all the way so we made excellent time back to Northampton, Greens Norton’s signpost deficit notwithstanding. Sadly, it wasn’t quite an excellent enough time to prevent us from getting drenched on the A45 cycle path. It seems that the weather had got fed up with us ducking under trees for a couple of minutes when it threw a light shower down and decided to throw everything it had at us when there was no shelter around. It was going alright up until then.

Thanks to Brian for a different and interesting route. The full details are to be found here, with a bit extra (although don’t believe all you read there. It appears to show us getting lost, exceeding 100 mph and climbing a mere 2000 feet)!
See you next time and don’t forget Wednesday’s BBQ,

Report – Ride on Sunday 10th February

Ian Macsporran went on this ride, led by Bill Simpson, and writes:

Just like the last time we cycled to the A5 Rangers Club-House in Towcester (for the CTC Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes AGM), four wet riders met in the pouring rain at Hunsbury.  This time we were Ian, David, Phil L and our leader Bill.  This time the venue was hosting the annual Cyclists’ Jumble Sale!

Again, we didn’t hang about after 9.30 a.m. and Bill set a good pace to get us to Towcester and dry shelter!  It was the first time I’d been to this annual event and it was fascinating – not just for the items for sale but for the coffee and cake and, of course, the conversations with old friends.

IMGP5682The plan was always that we would make our ways home independently.  Phil pretty much turned round for the return leg straightaway; David must have followed him shortly afterwards; and Bill was to head for a cycle shop in Milton Keynes.

I had two lots of coffee and cake and felt fortified enough not just to skip lunch at Greens Norton (my original plan) but to add to that part of the loop by going through Abthorpe, Slapton and Bradden as well.  Route here.

From Hunsbury back to Hunsbury, this was 26 miles.  Add to and from home, and I enjoyed a damp but worthwhile 37 miles.

Footnote: returning to the town centre down Towcester Road, I stopped to photograph two houses which a friend who grew up in the area told me were the only houses built in a proposed Northampton Garden Suburb.  Photos and more details in my personal blog here.

 

Ride to Towcester – Sunday 10th February

Iain Dawson, our Rides Secretary, writes:

On Sunday morning, at 9.30 a.m., we will be gathering in East Hunsbury for a ride over to Towcester and the annual cycle jumble at the A5 Rangers Clubroom.

Bill will be leading the group there but it may be a case of making your own way back, especially if you divert to Greens Norton for lunch.

Bring some pennies and stock up on brake blocks and p*nct*re repair kits (or bring some pounds and see what bigger stuff takes your fancy).