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.

Ride review – Sunday 19th February

Phil J led this ride and writes:

Seven riders gathered at the start for this undulating ride to Naseby including new rider Peter B on his first group ride.

The first descent out of the blocks had a surprising headwind which seemed to be present on a few more of our subsequent drops.  Once through the eco village of Upton, St Crispin’s provided the first unlikely climb of the day as we settled into the ride.

We levelled off towards Harlestone before we all got into the small chainring and the slow grind up Church Brampton.

Sedgebrook Hall passed by during another long haul which split the group a bit and took us up to the Market Harborough road and the route to Pitsford.  A rapid descent on the busy road was then quickly followed by another testing rise to the entrance of Pitsford Water.

Through Brixworth the group went, when Phil L and I suddenly found ourselves on our own.  We’d turned left in full view of the rest of the group but they continued over. Head scratching ensued before the group appeared from another direction much to our relief and amusement.

The fast downhill on the Spratton road came next with Milton suggesting this could be one of the fastest downhills in the area.  We all took full advantage of the opportunity and headed for Spratton.  The bridge closure wasn’t on our route and we climbed uninterrupted through the village before regrouping at the top for a well earned breather and refuelling.

Over the Welford Road another opportunity to test the descending skills.  We dropped swiftly towards Teeton and as expected we soon started to climb as the road ramped up once more.

The journey to Guilsborough was perfect “active recovery” and we enjoyed the dry country roads and comfortable speeds.  The road to Cold Ashby seemed rather more caked in dried mud but it was pleasant nonetheless as we started to see the signs for Naseby.

With another couple of miles in our legs All Saints church at Naseby came into view.  We arrived at The Old Vicarage café just as some cyclists were leaving but they insisted they had left some cakes for us.

With renovations underway outside we were lead along the corridor to possibly the grandest venue we may have ever had refreshments in.  A large dining room with a table that was almost impossible to reach over due to its huge size and a chandelier over the centre.  We almost expected a butler to start serving us but various group members took that role upon themselves.  The service was equally splendid and the food exquisite.

The loop continued through the Cottesbrooke estate and probably the most hair raising descent of the day.  Plenty of gravel and uneven tarmac at the base making it a heart in mouth situation just before entering the village.  All safely down and the gated road to Brixworth lead us to the steep climb back into the centre and onto Pitsford once again.

Four of us were lured by a second stop at the Willow Tree Café whilst the remaining three continued home.

The rest of the ride back mirrored the ride out with another mix of testing ascending and fast descending.

This was a pretty difficult ride today with over 3000ft of climbing but all riders performed superbly.

Ride to Naseby – Sunday 19th February – new riders welcome

Phil J is leading this ride and writes:

Meeting time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting place: Overslade Close, Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ
Distance & pace: 50 miles steady
Refreshments: Naseby, Pitsford Water

This ride initially heads for Pitsford Water / Brixworth Country Park before continuing on a loop towards Naseby and back to Pitsford again before the last leg of the ride home.

Harlestone and the Bramptons are en route to Pitsford giving the ride a few climbs to conquer along the way.  Once at Pitsford we’ll head out of the back of Brixworth and the long haul up to Spratton.  Teeton, Guilsborough and Cold Ashby are up next and we’ll soon arrive in Naseby and a welcome stop at the Old Vicarage Café.  Continuing the loop we head through Haselbech, the Cottesbrooke estate and back up to Brixworth with Pitsford further along.  We can stop for another break at the Willow Tree Café if required.  The route back home from there pretty much mirrors the route out so there’ll be no surprises in store.

Contact Phil J on 07927 377191 with questions or for more details.

 

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 – Sunday 3rd April

Phil J led this ride and writes:

Four riders undeterred by the prospect of a testing loop through Naseby joined me on an overcast morning at East Hunsbury.  Alex and Andrew joined regulars Brian and Ian M to make the foursome.  All of us were unaware of the drama to unfold later that afternoon.
Upton and St Crispin’s provided the urban backdrop to the start of the ride before reaching familiar ground through Harlestone and the Bramptons.  The climb through Church Brampton was the first real test for the group but we all pretty much arrived at the summit in unison.

Onwards at a leisurely pace we passed Sedgebrook Hall before reaching the A508 followed by another steep climb into Brixworth Country Park for a well-earned tea stop.  Milton was already there in the Spring sunshine and we duly joined him whilst one or two of the group looked in at Pitsford Cycles adjacent to the cafe.

On the move again, now six strong, we blazed down the steep gradient at the back of Brixworth where a slight breeze kept our speed down just a little.  It wasn’t long before we were in low gears again though as we grinded up the long haul to Spratton which splintered the group a bit.  Regrouping at the top we headed for another fast descent skirting Teeton before hitting another rise on the way to Guilsborough.  The roads then flattened out for a while and we all enjoyed the scenic views as we cruised along the quiet country lanes in the now glorious sunshine.

Once through Guilsborough we turned for Cold Ashby on more scenic roads and another fast downhill to enjoy.  Andrew headed the group and soon reported that he had hit a pothole that he was unable to see.  The rest of us avoided it.  A pinch puncture was the inevitable result and we all came to a stop although there are worse places to have a puncture than our picturesque location and nobody was in any rush to carry on!  The change of inner tube didn’t go as straightforwardly as it should have but with one or two tubes and a number of pumps to hand we finally got on our way again.

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Puncture repair? Or a chance for a rest in the sunshine?

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Our ride leader (left) demonstrates his ability with a pump after Andrew (right) suffered after hitting a pothole!

We reached Cold Ashby and the road to Naseby.  Or so we thought!  As we reached the main A road we spotted a large sign pointing us back a mile or two for Naseby and the battle site.  Having ridden the route before, I was sure we were going the right way despite the sign but, convinced by the group that I had taken a wrong turn, we headed back to the last junction and beyond only to see another sign to Naseby pointing in the opposite direction!  We headed back the way we had gone initially and Andrew realised that the large sign on the crossing had indeed been hit by something and was spinning freely.  He dismounted and pointed it in the right direction. Puzzle solved!

A couple of miles later we arrived in Naseby at the Old Vicarage right opposite All Saints Church.  Eleanor had already arrived and was relaxing in the lovely grounds.  We all sat down and enjoyed lunch together in the open air.

Andrew decided after lunch to make a beeline for home on a direct route whilst Eleanor joined us for the planned ride back.  Through Cottesbrooke we avoided riders and runners on a local triathlon event and made our way through lovely surroundings and onto the gated road for Brixworth.  The inevitable climb back was next before six became one as everyone except me headed for Holcot and their own way home!

I pushed on through one or two more climbs and continued on the route back home.  I called it a day at Hunsbury Meadows and avoided the last climb of the day back to the start.  A dramatic day – what with one thing and another – with plenty of climbs and impressive descending from all the riders.

Well done everyone!

Ride to Naseby – Sunday 3rd April

Phil J is leading this ride and writes:

Start: 9.30 a.m.
Start point: East Hunsbury (Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ)
Distance: 45 miles
Two refreshment stops

From East Hunsbury we’ll head towards the urban areas of Upton and St Crispin’s before winding our way through Harlestone and the Bramptons.  With one or two climbs behind us, we’ll soon arrive at Brixworth Country Park for our first well-earned pit stop at the Willow Tree Café with the Pitsford Cycles Shop.

On the move again, the fast descent at the back of Brixworth is then followed by the long haul up to Spratton.  Guilsborough and Cold Ashby follow soon afterwards, on quiet country lanes.  All Saints Church at Naseby will then be on the horizon where we’ll stop either at the cafe or use the convenience store nearby.  Please bring your own snacks just in case we miss both!  (Another stop back at Brixworth is an option as we return.)

The loop continues through Haselbech and the Cottesbrooke estate before climbing back into Brixworth again.  From there we’ll pretty much retrace our steps back to Harlestone before turning for a short stretch along the Roman Road.  Another fast descent through Harpole brings us to Pineham with its wide cycle paths over to Hunsbury Meadows leaving us with just a mile or so back to the start.

It’s a bit of a climber this one. Last time out Brian rode with me and clocked it at around 3000ft of climbing. But with pit stops along the way, you should be able to fuel yourself round without too many problems.

Hope to see you there!

Phil is on 07927 377191.

Ride Report – Sunday 29th November

Brian, our Secretary, went on the “Double Pit-Stop” ride led by Phil J and writes:

Despite early morning rain, four riders started in the dry from East Hunsbury.  The first pit-stop was coffee at Pitsford Reservoir and we had a good tail wind most of the way, via Upton (mainly on cycle paths), Harlestone, Chapel Brampton to Brixworth.  A strong cross wind on the A508 really had us hanging on the bars and it was a relief to get to the café. The welcome break was followed by a return to Brixworth.  Phil L left us here to return to domestic duties.  At Teeton Dave departed for home.  The sky was very overcast and looked as if it could drop a lot of rain at any time.  However, we had no rain at all and the temperature was mild for the time of year.  Our only challenge was the wind and a few hills as we then made our way (now down to two riders) via Guilsborough, Cold Ashby to Naseby – our half way point.

We were tempted to stop here for a break at the vicarage café when we found the village shop had closed at noon, just 10 minutes before we arrived.  But, with the wind howling in the trees, we decided to eat our emergency rations instead and head on via Haselbech to Cottesbrooke and then on to Brixworth for a third time. Unsurprisingly we encountered hardly any traffic.

Deciding against a second pit-stop by the reservoir we returned along a busy A508 before turning off to the Bramptons and Harlestone.  Phil and I split up at Sixfields, to get home in good light and before the heavy rain came later that afternoon.

It was quite a hilly ride but the key feature was the very strong wind.  Because of the changes in our direction we had a real mixed bag of head- tail- and cross-winds all day, none lasting for many miles before it changed again.

It was a good winter route on quiet lanes which were never that far from Northampton so that if the weather had broken we could easily have
headed for home.  Thanks to Phil for a good ride!

Ride report – Saturday 8th August

Phil J led this Saturday “brisk” ride and writes:

A glorious and cloudless sunny morning was the reward for the six riders who set off from East Hunsbury to Pitsford Water near Brixworth, including first timer Liam and occasional CTC rider Giles.

First, we descended into the valley at a fast pace setting the agenda for the rest of the
ride.  Skirting Hunsbury Meadows we headed for Rothersthorpe and a couple of early inclines to raise the heartbeats of the group.  Cruising towards Kislingbury got the riders warmed up in the wonderful morning sun before making our way towards Harpole on the safe cycle path alongside the main A4500 road.  The short sharp climb out of Harpole provided the first real test of the day but everyone climbed admirably.  A short run along the Roman road at the top led to another off road stretch on the near perfect cycle paths towards Harlestone before taking the road option again past the garden centre.  Another fast descent beckoned past the Fox & Hounds on the smooth tarmac giving us momentum up the other side and the turn towards the Bramptons.  More fast descending and climbing followed towards The Windhover and eventually up to the main Market Harborough road ahead.  Two more fast downhills and long climbs lay ahead before the arrival into Pitsford and we were all grateful to see the signs up ahead.

Eleanor had already secured a table for us all and we joined her for refreshments in the open air.  After a very pleasant stop, five of us headed back whilst Eleanor and Brian made their own way home.  The first downhill out of Pitsford was accompanied by a sudden headwind, coming out of nowhere, making the subsequent climb that little bit harder to make.  The second dip was avoided though as we turned right towards Brampton Halt where new boy Liam took the helm with a turn of pace to the Northampton Road junction.  At this point Phil L branched off leaving a team of four to continue.  The road went upwards again before the rewarding dash down through Church Brampton and back past the Fox & Hounds for a second time.  Upper Harlestone was next en route which looked picturesque in the morning sunshine.  We meandered our way through the village and onto the Roman road again where a headwind hit us immediately, just as if the gods had seen us coming!  We moved swiftly though and were soon turning for the exhilarating downhill into Harpole which would be the last on the ride and one to enjoy.  Pineham provided more smooth off road riding over to Hunsbury Meadows.  The final climb to the finish went up Hunslet Lane for a change, a shorter sharper rise than the usual route we normally take and caught some of the group by surprise.  A quick dip before another rise completed the climbing and the morning’s ride.

Well done everyone!

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!