Report: Annual Guy Barber Memorial Ride, Sunday 23 July, in aid of Headway Northampton

Our Secretary Brian did much of the organising of this year’s Guy Barber Ride and he reports:

Now in its 12th year this challenging ride attracted eighteen riders from the CTC groups in Northampton, Milton Keynes and Kettering.  This was the first year of a route to Oxford with two start options of Northampton and Buckingham giving three rides of 94, 66 or 55 miles, all meeting up at Oxford for lunch.

Despite the early morning drizzle ten riders left East Hunsbury at 8.30 a.m. for the first leg to Buckingham of the 94-mile ride.  This took us on mainly quiet roads through Blisworth, Pury End and Leckhampstead.  The drizzle stopped, and the sun emerged from the cloudy skies, as the group made Buckingham at 9.45am. Perfect timing to meet the eight MK riders who had cycled out from Stony Stratford and beyond.

The Northampton group set off for the first café stop seven miles away in Twyford whilst the remaining group signed in and left a little later.  An early puncture close to the start split the second group and this was further split when the Community Café at Twyford had unexpectedly closed that morning.  The shop was open but, after a brief stop for snacks, the first group motored on to Oxford leaving a second group to pick up the punctured riders.

As we meandered through the small villages of Marsh Gibbon, Piddington, Boarstal and Stanton St John, there was little traffic on the roads.  The sun came out and we had ideal cycling weather.

Oxford “arrived” when we met the ring road, a dual-carriageway roundabout with a couple of underpasses.  Then we were through Headingley on a separate cycle path at and then onto marked tracks alongside the main road.   After a steep hill down into the centre of Oxford. it was only a short distance to Café Couscous for lunch.  Just to add to the “best laid plans” the last stretch of road before the café was closed for road works.  So much for the recent reconnoitre!

The first group arrived at noon and had just finished lunch as the second group arrived at 1.00 p.m.  This was good timing for the café.  The forecasted midday rain did not materialise and we enjoyed sun and blue skies at the café.

One rider's lunch at Café Couscous - vegetarian tagine!

One rider’s lunch at Café Couscous: vegetarian tagine!

The first group took the route back to Northampton via Islip, Kirtlington, the Heyfords and on to Aynho where Ian peeled off to Buckingham and a stop at Stowe Park for tea (the only rider to complete the 66m route) whilst the rest rode on to Farthinghoe for the last café stop.  Only twenty-two miles now, on familiar quiet roads, back to Northampton via Helmdon, Wappenham and Greens Norton. This group arrived in Northampton at around 5.00 p.m.

The second group finished a very good lunch by 2.00 p.m. and split for the return journey.  The MK riders returned via Beckley, Brill (hill !), Ludgershall and onto Buckingham, stopping at the Green Dragon Eco Centre near East Claydon for tea and possibly even cakes!

This left 4 riders to return via Islip and a detour via Brackley for tea and cookies, sitting in the late afternoon sun outside a café before returning to the original route to Northampton arriving at 6.15 p.m.

A donation of £85 has been sent to http://www.headwaynorthampton.org.uk/

Who was Guy Barber ? Please see our web site http://www.ctc-northampton.org.uk/history.html

Thanks to all who supported this event.

“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 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,