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!

Ride Report – Sunday 21st February

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

By 9.30 a.m. on Sunday, a group of eight cyclists had assembled by Moulton Co-Op.  I say “by 9.30” as everyone had turned out early.  Whether that was down to the allure of a day’s ride in unseasonably warm temperatures or just due to the strong wind blowing up from town, I don’t know.

We had that wind at our backs as we headed away from Moulton towards Sywell, through Earls Barton and down over the Hardwater crossing of the Nene.  The road from Wollaston to Irchester provided a bit of a challenge for the lighter riders as we’d shifted round so that the wind was now coming from the side.  In gusts.  Straight lines were not the order of the day.

But we survived and Geoff, temporarily taking the lead, guided us through Higham Ferrers and out along the newly-surfaced Greenway over the Nene.  We paused to ponder Irthlingborough’s lantern church, so far inland, and that, plus the wind and the marshy nature of the flood plain, did prompt one rider to comment on the “coastal” nature of the ride.  We have it all here in Northamptonshire, folks!

The climb away from Irthlingborough was painless, the wind having reverted to being our friend, and we made very good time to Woodford Mill for brunch.  The Nene was running a bit high and throwing the odd bit of spray our way but it was still pleasant to be sitting out in the garden in the February sun.  And the jacket potatoes were excellent.

Now, with ineluctable logic, s/he who rides with the wind must also ride against it at some point and so we left the lee of Woodford Mill, turned our collective face to the wind and set off back to Moulton, heading first past Cranford and then over the A14 to the sheltering urban landscape of Burton Latimer.  From there to Holcot was pretty much unsheltered plain old-fashioned hard work I’m afraid.  In fact, by the time we got to Orlingbury we had split into two groups as we took turns trying to hide behind each other.  Still, we weren’t riding against the clock: we were on a Sunday Club ride, not a Saturday Brisk, and we had plenty of time in hand after our rapid earlier progress.

I’m pleased to say that we all made it back to Moulton – apart from Geoff who’d turned for home, as planned, at Burton Latimer – and in reasonable time too. Wind aside, the weather had been kind – warm, dry and bright for February.

Thanks to Brian for doing a sterling job as TEC in testing conditions!

Leisure ride report – Saturday 10th January

Nick went on this ride, led by Milton (our Secretary), and writes:

Six cyclists converged at the meeting point, Moulton Co-op, having all received their first soaking of the day (second if they had taken a shower before leaving home).  Not the greatest of starts to a leisure ride but everyone was in good spirits and looking forward to the “lumps” (as Milton described them) that lay ahead.  Wind was another feature of this ride, the meteorological kind, that is.  Scotland had taken a huge battering overnight.  The Midlands faired better but it nevertheless proved challenging when passing holes in the hedge on the first section to Holcot.  It was not long before we took a break, about three quarters of a mile actually, when Giles suffered a flat rear [tyre] which necessitated a delay to the half of the group who stayed to help.  Quickly fixed and that ever present lesson “cheap tyre levers are a worthless investment” learned, we shot off in pursuit of our leader and the two Brians, one of whom was making his CTC ride debut.  Hope we see you again soon, Brian!

Turning west at Holcot it became apparent that the wind really was the dominant factor in the day’s weather.  Having to pedal downhill always feels so wrong but today was necessary in order to maintain sufficient forward motion to stay upright.  The climb up to Brixworth proved a real leg tester.  In the village we rejoined Milton who had kindly waited, and coincidently found the time to down a coffee and a sausage roll.  Chapeau!

Across to Spratton and then Teeton where we rejoined the two Brians.  The weather was slowly becoming brighter with spells of sunshine and the occasional rainbow.  Turning south at Teeton the going whilst still lumpy became a little easier.  It was not long before we arrived at the Stables Coffee Shop in Church Brampton where we were joined by John, who not fancying the ride had travelled by car.  Why have I never thought of doing that?
After refuelling we departed back towards Moulton via Pitsford, an easterly direction that ensured that we were wind assisted all the way back.

It was pretty tough going for a leisure ride, but nevertheless thoroughly enjoyable.
Thanks to Milton for planning and leading the ride!

Ride Report – “La Petite Étape” – Sunday 11th May

Five Cycling – Report written by Nick (Enid Blyton being unavailable)

Five riders made the rendezvous point at the Windhover/BVW to enjoy the delights of this ride led by Alex (Alex, Miriam, Terry, Milton and Nick).  Maybe it would have been more but the previous evening’s weather forecast was not particularly fair.  As it turned out however the rain had cleared, the sun was out and the wind was blowing.  A great day for drying your washing but an even better one for riding a bike!

We set off in good spirits and headed north through Church Brampton before hitting the hills on the roller-coaster roads heading east from Holdenby through Spratton and up to Brixworth.  Happily each of the hills was easily conquered with the large helping hand supplied by the not inconsiderate tail wind.  It was then north and north-east through the picturesque lanes linking Brixworth to Cottesbrooke and Haselbech.  On the hill up to Haselbech we were reminded of the need for caution when riding near horses when an oncoming beast (with rider) was seriously spooked.  Apparently it was something to do with the sight of Milton’s knees!

Onwards to Naseby and then a seriously fast descent in the direction of Clipston (wind-assisted) but then turning south-east to Kelmarsh and Arthingworth.  From here we climbed the Strava Queen of the Mountains section used in Wednesday’s Stage One of the 2014 Women’s Tour of Britain.  At the top, outside the Tollemache Arms pub, we paused for a breather.  It was at this point that we realised that we had actually ridden three of the four Queen of the Mountain stages used on Stages One and Two of the Women’s Tour.  A little bit of messing about with a smart phone and we were ecstatic to discover that all five of us had ridden two of the sections faster than the professional riders on Wednesday and Thursday had.  FANTASTIC – however, just for the record we did it in the opposite direction …..

Not long after Arthingworth it was pay back time; we turned right and headed south and south-west across the flat land of the former aerodrome at Harrington which put us right into the teeth of the gale!!!  Alex was the leader so we all hid behind him.  We took a hilly detour off this road through Draughton – its a strange day when you prefer including a hill to avoid the flat – but it did cheat the wind.

The tightly formed peleton close to Lamport

The tightly formed peleton close to Lamport

Through the villages of Old, Walgrave, Hannington and Holcot before closing on the destination of Moulton.  Terry and Milton peeled off for home whilst those left enjoyed a coffee at the J-Gallery in Moulton before wending our way home.

Game for a laugh!

Game for a laugh!

Grateful thanks to Alex for leading this ride. It lived up to its name and happily, despite the often ominous clouds scudding along, we did not get rained upon.

The route is here on Garmin Connect.

Morning leisure ride – a Lamport Loop – Saturday 8th March

Iain D, our Rides Secretary, will be leading this ride and writes:

We will be assembling in Moulton at 9.30 a.m. on Saturday for a leisurely morning ride.

Our route will take us through Holcot and Hannington and up to Walgrave (where we will, no doubt, be taking a very careful look at the manhole covers) and then through Old and Brixworth, which will see us missing Lamport itself (sorry).  It’s a straight run from there down the Brampton Valley Way to the old station before we cut across to Church Brampton for our brew stop.

The final couple of miles will take us back to Moulton through Boughton.

As you’ll have noticed, the route’s not entirely flat but none of the hills are terribly steep or particularly long and we’ll be keeping a fairly relaxed pace as we amble round this little route (which may be subject to slight variation on the day, according to circumstance). The weather’s due to be quite clement as well.

A total of 20 miles at a leisurely pace.  Iain is on 07909 992468.

See you on Saturday at 9.30 a.m. outside Moulton Co-Op, NN3 7TB.

Late report on Sunday 19 January ride

Ian M went on this ride, led by Iain D, and writes:

Apologies to Iain D!  I promised to write up a report on his ride to Kelmarsh and then forgot!

A dozen riders gathered at Moulton for Iain’s ride and, once again, he took us on a route that was different from one we had ridden before; and certainly not what any of us were expecting.  That’s always a bonus!

Gathering at Moulton

Gathering at Moulton

 We left Moulton along the Pitsford road and then headed up to the reservoir, crossed the dam, and pedalled into Brixworth.  We left that village on the Creaton road before heading into Cottesbrooke, crossing the A5199, and climbing up to Guilsborough.  This was indeed going to be a different route to Kelmarsh!
Next we were off to Cold Ashby before going through Welford and approaching Naseby from the west!  Then we were over and under the A14 – on some lovely smooth tarmac which Iain had deliberately sought out – and into Kelmarsh (and the World Peace Café at the Buddhist Centre) by noon.  In a large group, which constantly re-arranged itself, these twenty-five miles flew by with conversation and banter!

A breather at Cold Ashby

A breather at Cold Ashby

 The café proved up to serving twelve hungry cyclists and showed that we don’t have to have beer with every meal!
We started again after lunch going further north to Arthingworth and signposts for Desborough before turning south through Harrington, crossing the A14 (for the sixth time!), and pedalling through Old, Walgrave and Holcot on our way back to Moulton.  Fifteen miles after lunch.
Thanks to Iain for a well organised route: at this time of year a one-stop ride means we got the mileage in and were home early in the afternoon well before the need for lights.  This could be a model for one or two rides in the summer on occasions when members don’t want to be out all day.  Everyone certainly enjoyed themselves!
And the weather was kind to us too!
The route is here on RideWithGPS.

 

Brian Tunbridge, our Secretary will be leading this ride and writes:
We meet at 9.30 a.m. at Moulton Co-op for a ride of about 45 miles to Braybrooke and back.
Our route goes via Holcot, Old, Draughton and Harrington to Braybrooke.  We’ll come back via Market Harborough, Clipston, Kelmarsh (brunch), Naseby,  Guilsborough and Brixworth.  Quite hilly,  all on mostly quiet roads.
Could Sunday be the start of the Spring weather?
With only one planned stop for sustenance at the Kelmarsh Naganjuna cafe, please bring a snack as a top up along the way.
More information from Brian on 01604 622073  (or 07722 055149 on the day).