Morning rides to Kelmarsh – Saturday 10th December

Two rides – one brisk, one moderate – starting at the same place & time, meeting for elevenses and finishing at the same place & time.
Start
9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road Crossing (NN6 8AA – near The Windhover).  There is parking  in the BVW car park further up Brampton Lane.
Distance: 38 miles (brisk) or 32 miles (moderate)
Refreshments: World Peace Café, Kelmarsh
Return by 1.00 p.m.

James has organised the rides and will be leading the brisk one.  He writes:

Saturday’s brisk ride sees us flying through some familiar, albeit occasionally challenging, territory towards the World Peace Café at Kelmarsh Buddhist Centre, where our efforts will be rewarded with fine coffee, good karma and cake.  From our starting point we’ll head out in the direction of Holdenby before diverting towards Teeton and then crossing the Welford Road at Spratton.

As the more spiritually-minded among us already know, the Buddha made “Life is Suffering” his First Noble Truth, and it’s a statement we’ll all have plenty of time to reflect on as we leave Spratton and confront the arduous climb into Brixworth.  From there it’s full steam ahead through to Kelmarsh via Haselbech (another testing one, I’m afraid), Naseby and Clipston.  The return journey is less demanding – discounting the uphill bit at Harrington – heading back, as it does, through Lamport, Scaldwell and Holcot. The last stage diverts out through Pitsford towards Chapel Brampton before we finally reach our nirvana, a.k.a the Brampton Valley Way car park.

The tempo will be brutal (!) but, fear not, Sir Ian Macsporran will be leading out a moderately paced group for anyone wishing to take things more gently.  The weather promises to be a lot milder than it has been over the past few days and rain isn’t forecast until the afternoon, by which time we’ll all be home and dry – so, no excuses…
More information from James on 07841 933046 or Ian on 07960 302095.

A ride not to be missed.

Brisk route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17767762 – 38 miles; 2,100 feet of climbing
Moderate route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17768228 – 32 miles; 1,640 feet of climbing

Ride Report – Sunday 4th December

Iain D, our Chair, led this ride and writes:

Seven of us gathered on a crisp and bright December morning in the village of Moulton, despite some of the quieter roads in the area having turned a noticeable shade of white.  We headed off through Holcot (the bend of the bottom of the hill had been gritted!) and through Hannington and Isham to Burton Latimer.

We passed the Weetabix factory okay but things went a little bit awry in Barton Seagrave.  It seems the ride leader was following the route he’d planned, not the route RideWithGPS had published, but after a bit of frantic searching round the housing estate (while others were resting by the Ise Garden Centre), the group got itself back together and headed out to Twywell and Woodford.  This minor hiatus did at least give the sun a chance to clear most of the remaining frost.

Woodford Mill was as welcoming as ever (I believe it was the second visit of the week for some of our riders!) although in deference to the weather we sat inside instead of taking our usual riverside table.

The trip home passed garden centre in Burton Latimer and then proceeded up the Slips to Great Harrowden before the group returned to Moulton, with plenty of daylight to spare as promised.

R … Iain

PS: I didn’t make it back to Moulton.  After the rear brake failing yet again on the Galaxy I limped back to Kettering from the Blue Bridge turning.  My thanks to Brian for taking over the ride at that point.

Ride report – Saturday 23rd July

Phil J went on this ride organised by James and writes:

Eight cyclists assembled at Moulton for James’ Queen of the Mountains ride of two halves on a glorious sunny morning.  Moderate or brisk?  The choice was yours. The sides were quickly picked and gave us four riders in each group.  We set off on the long road out towards Holcot and the groups splintered as expected.  Our moderate group set into a nice steady pace which included Elspeth once again.

The sun shone but a gentle breeze cooled us sufficiently and made it one of the best days for cycling so far this year. The pace quickened for the moderate group but with still no sign of the faster riders in the brisk group ahead.  We meandered through picturesque villages without much traffic to hold us up and it wasn’t long before we were entering the wonderful Cottesbrooke estate with its steep climb at the end.  But we skirted round this and soon headed for Naseby with a number of testing hills there instead.  Cyclists passed us as we regrouped but we managed to rein one or two of them in on the climbs as they lost power much to our satisfaction.

Some miles on after a short stretch along the busy Market Harborough road we approached the tea stop at the Waterloo Farm Café and a welcome break for us all.  The brisk group hadn’t arrived yet as they were still out covering the extra miles and climbs on their own particular route but the “moderates” were ahead of time according to our leader.

We settled onto an outside table and it wasn’t long before the “brisks” arrived and joined us.  The location was baked in sunshine and we all enjoyed teas and coffees whilst some got stuck into tasty fayre.

On the move again we all set off together before two became one after the first rise.  The route continued through familiar territory including the long haul up Harrington Hill, the final QoM stage, ending at the Tollemache Arms which seemed rather tempting on a hot day but we continued without succumbing to a swift pint or two!

Towards Foxhall a police roadblock was in place and a helicopter circled overhead where a stolen car had been abandoned in the nearby field.  Further on Old and Walgrave tested the weary legs of the group before we met up again with the brisk group just outside Holcot.

The final stretch into Moulton was the last couple of miles of the day and we blazed down the road whatever group you were in.  James and I had a bunch sprint to the finish which of course he won and punched the air in delight. A great days riding with a choice of ways to do it.

Thanks to James for devising the QoM route. James lead the brisk group at a challenging pace leaving Brian, Phil and Co to enjoy a more steady pace.

Ride Report – Saturday 11th June

Brian reports (with photo by Anne):

Nine riders gathered at Moulton Co-Op at 9.30 a.m. for one of our Saturday-morning moderately-paced rides.  We hope these rides will encourage cyclists with some experience to join in a group ride perhaps for the first time.  We certainly welcomed two new riders along with some regular riders.

An early decision – agreed by all – was to avoid the gravel at Pitsford and take the reservoir causeway on the road from Holcot to Brixworth which turned out to be relatively traffic-free at that time of day.

Beyond that and we were into quiet roads through Scaldwell and Lamport and on to the single track road down to Draughton.  Time for a quick photo, courtesy of Anne, and then we were back on the rolling hills through Loddington, Cransley and Broughton before making use of the short section of cycle path along the A43 to get us to the Walgrave turn.ctc-june2016

Not far now and we were at Manvell Farm Café where we received a friendly welcome.  It had been overcast most of the ride although it was quite warm.  As we sat outside enjoying coffee and large, indulgent slices of cake, the sun broke through (obviously on the righteous).  I couldn’t help thinking that this is what cycling is all about.

It was only a short ride back to Moulton which we made by 12.30 p.m.

Ride report – Sunday 15th May

Tim, our webmaster, went on this ride and writes:

Eight riders congregated at Moulton Co-op for Brian’s “Steady ride to Saddington”, including five who had been out on the previous day’s “Moderate ride to Everdon Stubbs”. Amongst this keen group of five was new rider Elspeth.

We were blessed with a fine late spring day with only the occasional blast of cold wind to dampen our spirits.  We headed out northwards via the familiar villages of Holcot, Walgrave & Old and on through Harrington and Braybrooke before alighting at our morning refreshment stop at Farndon Fields Farm Shop where we indulged in a variety of tea, coffee, cakes, scones & the like to prepare us for the hillier challenges ahead.

After a short section through the outskirts of Market Harborough we were once again treated to quiet country lanes with mostly other cyclists and the odd horse for company. Our relaxed cycling was brought to an abrupt halt however by Laughton Hill, aptly surveyed by the OS to have a gradient of between 14% and 20%.  It felt every bit of this as we slowly spun our way to the top where there was a very welcome pause to re-group, have a drink, nibble an energy bar and generally get our breath back.

Quite a long and hilly section then followed as we wended our way north to Saddington and then back south, passing through North Kilworth and Sibbertoft where Nick left our group to head home; and so it was that seven tired cyclists arrived at our lunch stop at Naseby Old Vicarage Tea Room.  The ladies were relieved that we were late to arrive (being around 2 p.m. at this point) as they “had had a very busy day”.  We had the place to ourselves so could seek out the sunniest spots to rest our tired limbs.  Their “busy day” had left its impact on the menu choice – thankfully though, there was just enough to go round even if the bacon butties had to be rationed.

Once replete, we set off on the home leg to Moulton, taking the shortest (and least hilly) route through Guilsborough, Church Brampton and Boughton.

All in all a lovely day’s cycling and many thanks to Brian for organising and leading the ride.

Ride report – Saturday 23rd April

Brian, our Secretary, went on this ride led by Iain D, our chair, and writes (in poetical mood):

It was good to see ten riders assembled outside the Co-op in Moulton.  Despite the glorious sunny morning there was a distinct absence of shorts given the cool wind.  This was both St George’s Day and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.  As we had a Welsh ride leader, with a Scottish actor on board, the rest of the group showed great restraint in not shouting as we left Moulton:

Straining upon the start.  The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry “God for Harry, England, and Saint George!” (Henry V)

The plan was to ride to Holcot as a group and then let riders decide how to group to continue.  We easily agreed three groups: Brisk (3), Steady (3) and Moderate (4).

We had been promised some hills en route which we duly encountered.  Most were down then up as we dropped into the many river valleys around this part of Northamptonshire, with fast descents giving a bit of help on the ‘up’.  We soon navigated Hannington, Pytchley, Broughton and on to Great Cransley.  The entrance to Green Trunks Garden Centre for the café stop was well hidden down a gravel track.  Although the restaurant was being refurbished we were given a warm welcome and some “cyclist-size” mugs of tea.
Suitably refreshed we continued in our three groups to Loddington and on to Orton where we turned for home.

Up until now we had been riding into a somewhat icy, northerly wind.  But all this changed as we rode on with a tail wind, sun and blue skies.  We sailed along quiet roads (some single track) via Mawsley and Old to Brixworth, then back to Holcot across the reservoir and on to Moulton.  Given the opportunity for some short cuts, all three groups managed to meet up at Moulton within 10 minutes or so at the end.

Suitably dressed it was a great morning for a ride. Thanks to Iain for planning the route and leading the charge.

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!