Ride to Keysoe – Sunday 30th April

Tim, our webmaster, will be leading this ride and writes:

Start: 9.30 a.m.
Meet: Nene Whitewater Canoe Centre, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7AA. (If coming by car, don’t park within the car park barrier.  There is plenty of space on the approach road.)
Distance: 56 miles
Speed: 12-14 m.p.h.
Refreshments: Scald End Farm, Thurleigh (at approx 30 miles)

From the Canoe Centre we head out in a generally eastwards direction through the villages of Cogenhoe, Grendon, Bozeat, Odell, Sharnbrook and Riseley en route to our most easterly point at Keysoe.  From here we turn south and west to our stop for refreshment at Scald End Farm, located just outside Thurleigh.  Here you can feast on the breakfast “fit for a king” or maybe one of the several cakes on offer.  There is also the benefit of a cosy wood burning stove to warm oneself by.

Once replete, we continue south westwards through Milton Earnest, Harrold and Lavendon before heading north & west on our final homeward leg via Yardley Hastings, Castle Ashby (where a second tea stop is eminently possible) and Cogenhoe Hill before arriving back at the Canoe Centre.

The route can be viewed (and downloaded as a gpx file) at: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/20043554

Any questions?  Please contact Tim on 07749 477231.

Ride Report – Sunday 6th November

Brian, our secretary, went on this ride led by Milton and writes:

Looking out of the window at 9 o’clock, there was wall to wall sunshine and blue skies.  The reality, however, was that it was only a few degrees above freezing outside.  At the Canoe Centre, Milton and I decided that the weather must have put off riders that morning but then Colin and Nick arrived.  Given the temperature, the four of us set off without delay for Castle Ashby, welcoming the hills in between to get warmed up.  At Easton Maudit Geoff joined us on his tricycle and the five of us then made our way to Harrold and on to the picturesque village of Newton Blossomville.  With a good tail wind, warming sun and ever quieter roads it was perfect autumn weather for a ride.  When we saw the sign “Welcome to Central Bedfordshire” we knew we were not far from the Bike Bus Café, a red London double decker bus parked on a farm at Bourne End.  Arriving at 11.30 a.m. we were soon enjoying excellent coffee and sausage baps, sitting outside, soaking up the sun and warmth.

Having seen a couple of other cycling groups leave, we were soon on our way to Sherington after which we changed direction and headed back into a very chilly wind.  Fortunately we were often sheltered by hills and tree-lined roads but it was noticeably cooler now.  Our route took us through Tyringham Hall deer park and not long after turning onto the Newport road the predicted rain clouds appeared and for the rest of the way home through Salcey Forest the rain got steadily heavier.  We were well prepared for the rain and made good time to the Canoe Centre arriving just after two o’clock, damp but in good spirits, having had an excellent day’s ride.  Thanks to Milton for planning and leading the ride!

Ride Report – Sunday 7th February

Milton went on this ride led by Brian and writes:

On a fairly cold and windy but clear skied morning only three of us were at the Canoe Centre for the start.  As it was one of the few dry starts of the past couple of months, it was surprising to see so few people.  Perhaps we’ve got out of the habit in recent wet and windy times.

We set off to Cogenhoe and on to Grendon where we found Geoff waiting to join us – and on his “fixie” too, which he rode all day as if it had a multiplicity of gears!  On to Wollaston to Poddington and to Melchbourne and Souldrop before stopping for our only break at the Garden Centre in Milton Ernest.  The world’s most expensive cakes surprised us, but the newly re-furbished room was warm and welcoming and not too busy, so we forgave them the £3.00 bits of cake and ordered meat and potato pies instead.

We returned via Harrold, Bozeat and Castle Ashby and were back by 2.30 p.m. as promised.

Largely blown to Milton Ernest, we fought a stiff breeze for most of the way home, and, with 55 miles on my computer, we were pretty knackered.

The rain stayed largely where it should, in the clouds, and I think we had a cracking day of it.  Lots of quiet country roads with little traffic meant it had been, unsurprisingly, well planned, and was well led, and our thanks, as ever, to Brian.

Ride Report – Easter Monday

Iain D, our Chairman, went on this ride led by Brian, our Rides Secretary, and writes:

Eight of us gathered on a spectacularly warm – for early April – Monday morning at the Canoe Centre on Bedford Road, including two faces I’d not seen before and the ever-welcome Ken.

Brian led us out through Cogenhoe, Wollaston and Poddington where we encountered the first problem of the day: the Brompton – my ride for the day – didn’t want to make the turn at the bottom of Poddington’s hill. It was eventually persuaded round but the front tyre was looking rather empty. I think the two are linked.

Which leads me on to the second problem of the day, and a lesson for all of us: bring your tyre levers AND the right pump for the inner tube. Honestly, who puts a Presta valve on a 16″ tube ? Won’t be buying those again … . Anyway, thanks to Milton, we got rolling again fairly quickly and on to something I’m not used to – being passed by a bin wagon. A little reminder that we were out on a weekday, for a change.

The day’s route spent a few miles running against the grain on previous years’ Guy Barber route before cutting down to Sharnbrook and following the same in the more familiar direction, and since the café in Sharnbrook was closed, we looped over the A6 again and back to Milton Ernest for lunch at their fine garden centre.

Leaving Milton Ernest, we hit snag no. 3: Network Rail’s ongoing plan to raise bridges on the Midland Main Line. Rather annoyingly, the road closure signs promised 26 weeks of closure starting 03rd October last year. We’re now into week 27 and they’re a long way from done yet. I’m told the current estimate is completion by 31st May. Fortunately, there’s a well-trodden path across an adjacent OSR field that leads out to another road. Phew.

Carlton – Harrold – Bozeat – Castle Ashby and you know the rest. All completed without further mishap and not a single drop of rain.

Many thanks to Brian for a pleasant day’s outing and I promise to be better equipped next time out.

Ride Report – Saturday 13th September

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

Milton promised us:

  • an on-time departure
  • a brisk ride
  • a choice of coffee stop.

I arrived at Moulton bang on 9.30 a.m., just in time to take part in the where-shall-we-stop vote (Olney 4, Salcey 0, abstentions 2), and then we were rolling. Milton set a brisk, but not unmanageable, pace over the lumpy bits to Bozeat before leading us through Harrold and out on a road I don’t think I’ve ever ridden before, which took us smoothly into Olney where we scared a group of cyclists from MK into leaving town. Not quite sure how we managed that, but perhaps it wasn’t us after all, perhaps it was the traffic. Not a problem on a bike though, since it wasn’t even moving.

After a sit down and a brew, Milton led us out of Olney “the flat way”, passing the highest point of the ride in Salcey Forest before cutting back through Preston Deanery and Great Houghton.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable morning (we were back well before 1.00 p.m., as promised) with some new tarmac and a decent pace, and it’s safe to say that Milton delivered on all three promises.

It was also good to see Ken back with us for the morning.

GPS track here: https://www.endomondo.com/workouts/407515962/5180977

Ride Report – Saturday 8th February

Brian, our Secretary, led this brisk morning ride.  Words by Brian; photos by David.

Given that it has been very wet this year, it was not surprising that the ride this Saturday morning became a tour of the floods in the Nene and Great Ouse valleys.

We had 6 riders out today. We met at the Canoe Centre which was surrounded by water. However, none of the roads were flooded and we set off at 9.30 a.m. for the higher ground of Castle Ashby and then down again to Olney. We were now into the Great Ouse valley and soon alongside fields covered in water. The bridge over the river at Turvey was just above the water level. Shortly after we stopped for a pleasant coffee and cake at the Emmaus Village Bistro in Carlton.

Café at Emmaeus Village

Café at Emmaus Village

It was quite warm in the sun although the wind was very strong. Luckily the general direction of the ride was cross wind but we had met a few short stretches of strong head wind en-route.Between Carlton and Harrold we crossed the Great Ouse again, only this time the road was well under water. Fortunately there is a raised footpath about 4ft above the road for about 100 yards and we crossed it as if on a major bridge.

Flooded road by River Ouse

Flooded road by River Ouse

It was quite warm in the sun although the wind was very strong. Luckily the general direction of the ride was cross wind but we had met a few short stretches of strong head wind en-route. Between Carlton and Harrold we crossed the Great Ouse again, only this time the road was well under water. Fortunately there is a raised footpath about 4ft above the road for about 100yds and we crossed it as if on a major bridge.

The water around us was being whipped up into choppy waves by the strong wind. Luckily it was a tail wind and we made good time to Bozeat and then back to Billing by 1.00 p.m. where we split up to get home. Given the weather forcast earlier in the week, I was pleasantly surprised the we made the ride in the dry, with plenty of sun, if a little windy!

Route here on RideWithGPS.

Brisk morning ride – “The Harrold Loop” – Saturday 8th February

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

We start at the Canoe Centre (Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA) at 9.30 a.m. prompt for a short and fast ride of  34 miles  return by 13.00

Route:  Canoe Centre  – Cogenhoe – Castle Ashby – Yardley Hastings – Olney – Cold Brayfield – Turvey – Carlton – Harrold – Bozeat – Grendon – Canoe Centre

We will stop for a quick coffee at the Emmaus Village Bistro in Carlton (MK43 7LQ).

The route includes two short stretches of the A428; otherwise it is on reasonably quiet B roads.

More information from Brian on 01604 622073  (or  07722 055149 on the day)

Hope to see your there.