STEADY ride to Hogshaw – Sunday 20th August

Tim is leading this ride and writes:

Start: 9.30am, Sunday 20th August
Meeting point: East Hunsbury Library, Overslade Close, NN4 0RZ
Distance: 63 miles
Anticipated Speed: 13-14mph
Refreshments: Green Dragon Eco Centre Cafe

This Sunday’s ride heads south via Gayton Marina and the villages of Tiffield and Caldecote before a short section of A5 lets us gain the village of Duncote from where generally quiet country roads take us on our journey to the west of Buckingham and on to our lunch stop at the most southerly point of the ride at The Green Dragon Farm at Hogshaw.

Our return journey heads north east to Winslow and then on to Stony Stratford (complete with a nice downhill section for a couple of miles just after crossing the A421 south of Nash). Familiar roads then lead us to Hanslope and Salcey Forest before the final homeward leg along the Quinton Road and suburbs of East Hunsbury.

The ride is planned with a single stop at approx 33 miles, so it may be a good idea to bring an energy bar or two for any impromptu roadside stops. However if the urge for morning coffee or afternoon tea (or indeed both!) proves too strong there are options in the guise of Boycott Farm (at 20 miles) and Salcey Forest (at 57 miles).

We should be back at East Hunsbury library mid to late afternoon, depending on the number of stops we choose to make on the day.

The proposed route can be viewed (and downloaded as a gpx file) from the CTC Northampton group on RideWithGPS:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23647762

Any questions please contact Tim – 07749 477231.

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Ride report – Bank Holiday ride to Milton Keynes

Iain D, our Rides Secretary, led this ride and writes:

With the planned route involving redways and their bollards, and this being the first anniversary of our ride to Monschau (blog readers can remind themselves of that day’s events here), I was a little apprehensive at the start, especially given the fog that had settled over Northamptonshire.

We were joined by a few of the regular crew, one occasional member and a new rider who also teaches spin classes! And I’d got such a gentle ride planned.

The seven of us took the usual route out from East Hunsbury towards Towcester, cut across the A5 south of town to Whittlebury and then had a pleasant and trouble-free run into Potterspury where we arrived for elevenses, at eleven o’clock, just as the shop was opening for the day.

Refreshed, and with the GPS now running (!), we headed off to Deanshanger and the lanes west of Milton Keynes before turning towards the conurbation itself. With thanks to Google Streetview, we found our desired redway fairly painlessly. This was important as that particular redway should, in theory, have delivered us all the way across MK directly onto the Willen Lake promenade. Alternating between wooded/grassy areas and some of the less salubrious housing estates, it actually made good on its promise and we arrived, unscathed, at Willen Lake not 50 yards from lunch. This pleased Milton immensely.

It being a sunny Bank Holiday Monday, there was a bit of a wait for food but since we’d bagged ourselves a table out in the sun we weren’t too fussed. It seemed better to wait than to ride back in towards the town centre.

Navigating away from lunch was harder, but we headed north on the redways then west across Great Linford to pick up the Millennium Cycleway then the Grand Union canal north out of town. That lane is now more cratered than ever, and just north of the bridge it’s a little muddy, but still usable. I hear it flooded a bit over the winter which doesn’t surprise me.

We were resting up in Hanslope a short while later, taking on a few mouthfuls of water, when a large 4×4 pulled over. The window came down and we thought we knew what was coming next. What they actually wanted to know was whether we were all okay or whether we needed any assistance! That doesn’t normally happen …

The group split in Quinton, those from the east side of town opting to avoid the town centre, leaving the rest of us to make our way back to East Hunsbury and the end of a very pleasant day’s riding.

The route for the (last 2/3rds of) the day is here. I forgot to turn the GPS on at the start (oops) and, interestingly, it failed to pause itself at Willen Lake. That does seem to be a recurrent issue there. Maybe MK messes up GPS somehow?

Bank Holiday ride – Monday 21st April

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

Easter Eggs! Burn them off on the Easter Monday Bank Holiday ride.

We’ll be rolling through the wooded lanes south of Whittlebury, stopping for elevenses at Wakefield Farm in Potterspury and heading out to the west of Milton Keynes before testing the ride leader’s navigation skills on the MK Redways as we try to find Willen Lake and lunch.

If we’re successful, we’ll then leave Milton Keynes by way of Mill Road and Hanslope before passing through Salcey Forest on our way back into Northampton.

All up, it should total about 55 not-too-strenuous miles.

We meet in Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, at 9.30 on Monday morning (NOT Sunday!)

Ride Report – Saturday 23rd November

Iain, our rides secretary, went on this ride led by Phillip G and writes:

An overcast start to the morning meant that we would, at least, be riding without fear of drivers being blinded by the sun.  It also meant that our leader had much to do to keep us motivated. Seven of us were motivated enough to be there at the start but there had been mention of shortcuts.

We departed East Hunsbury fairly briskly on the usual route out through Blisworth to Roade and from there past the pub at Ashton where the Christmas meal is being held this year. There did seem to be a fair amount of mud on the junctions round here, not that it caused us any problems, but it is that time of year so take a bit of care if you’re out that way.

We made it over the rail line to Long Street in good time and nobody opted for the shortcut, so Phillip’s route must have been keeping our spirits up, besides which it wasn’t cold enough to cause problems – once you’re moving, that is. It was rather chilly whenever we stopped.

We looped south through Hanslope and back up again to Stoke Goldington, passing Olney signs on the way, before escaping from the Milton Keynes district to cut across the middle of Salcey Forest and head to the café for coffee. The café was doing good trade for a winter’s morning and there were even a couple of non-cyclists in there, though they were hugely outnumbered.

Between Salcey and Quinton, we passed the construction entrance for the M1 Windfarm that’s currently under development and which will boast nine smaller-than-planned turbines by the time it’s finished. At Quinton the group split. Riders from the east side of town opted to avoid the west turn to Courteenhall, as did Rowan who, with a dangling front light, was opting for the shortest route home, leaving a much reduced group to brave the A508 between two lovely stretches of country lane. That road doesn’t get any better, which is a shame because the lanes to and from it are lovely and very quiet.

The stretch back through Blisworth to East Hunsbury brought us up to the 29 mile mark, according to my route planner, rounding off a very pleasant, briskish, winter’s morning ride.

Thanks to Phillip for organising the route.

Morning ride – Saturday 23rd November

Philip G will be leading this ride and writes:

Join CTC Northampton for a brisk(ish) ride to Salcey Forest this Saturday, 23 November 2013.
The route will take us south-east through Roade and Hanslope to Gayhurst, then back north-west through Stoke Goldington to Salcey. There is the option for a teastop at Salcey Café, after which we return to the start via the pretty Courteenhall Road. The aim is to ride with as few stops as possible, at a good but sensible pace for the time of year (12-14 mph). Terrain is reasonably flat apart from Hunsbury Hill and Roade to Hanslope. Road bikes are ideal.
The full distance will be 27 miles – with various optional shortcuts available.
The weather forecast is cool (2 to 5 degrees C) but dry with a light northerly wind, and potentially some sunshine.
Ride starts from East Hunsbury (Overslade Close, near Hunsbury Library) at 9.30 am.
Hope to see you there!