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?
Brisk & Moderate Rides to Welford
Eleven riders – a good number for a December morning – gathered at the Brampton Valley Way meeting point for a morning organised by James. We welcomed new rider, Phil W; and welcomed back John for his first CTC ride since his accident. Drizzle in the air was not going to dampen our spirits.
A late change of plan and routes – our original café stop at Kelmarsh being unavailable because of a Buddhist holiday – meant that we were to head for a café new to nearly all of us: Mini-Meadows Farm Café just outside Welford on the Naseby road. Five riders opted for James’s brisk ride; six for the moderate route plotted by Brian and led by Ian M. James must have taken to heart Mother Theresa’s dictum that “Brisk means Brisk” and by Church Brampton the brisk group was down to four and the moderate group up to seven.
The moderates pedalled through East Haddon, Coton, Guilsborough and Welford to reach the café after seventeen miles at 11.05 a.m. finding the brisks already ensconced – having been through Holdenby, Spratton, Brixworth and Naseby after eighteen lumpier miles in an hour-and-a-quarter! The drizzle hadn’t turned to anything worse but those who had no mudguards had nice stripes-of-honour up their backs.
The café served good coffee and cakes (the Xmas Tiffin was much consumed); conversation was lengthy; and both groups set off again at 11.45 a.m. The moderates pedalled through Naseby (welcoming the easier approach from the north-west), Cottesbrooke, Creaton, Teeton and Holdenby to return to the BVW after 15 miles by 1.15 p.m. The brisks headed on to Sibbertoft, back to Naseby, and then through Kelmarsh, Harrington, Old, Scaldwell, Brixworth, and Holcot before splitting on the edge of Northampton after 28 miles just after 1.30 p.m.
So twenty-nine miles for the moderates, forty-eight miles for the brisks and a splendid morning enjoyed by all.
Thanks to James for the morning plan and to Brian for reminding us of the recommendation for the café from Peter W and the CTC Leicestershire group.
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.
Rowan, our Ladies Rep, went on this ride and writes:
It was a damp and grey start to the inaugural “moderate” series of cycle rides but that did not stop four riders congregating at the Brampton Valley Way meeting point bedecked in rain legs, overshoes and warm cycling attire. Brian and I met with two new riders Andrew and Brian (another one!) at the start and were met later at Brixworth by a second Andrew (on a Sully complete with touring kit) who hoped to make this the first of his two CTC rides this weekend!
We cycled steadily, initially through Chapel Brampton and then along the Pitsford Road, over a few “bumps” passing Sedgebrook Hall, towards Harrington in rather damp conditions – but by the time we reached our coffee stop at the Buddhist Centre in Kelmarsh the sun was peeping through and we could appreciate the new spring growth in hedgerows and a myriad of daffadils. After digesting the centre cafe’s excellent cheese scones and cakes and putting the world to rights, we rode home along a more challenging route, roller-coasting through the Cottesbrooke estate and Creaton, towards Teeton and Holdenby. By the time we reached the Brampton Valley Way, our final destination, it felt like a different weather day and we rode our separate ways home rather overdressed and hot!
Thanks to Brian for leading the ride and setting the route. I tried out the “Tail End Charlie” job for the first time. Any feedback would be welcome!
Our next moderate ride is entitled the “Bluebell Ride” and will visit Stowe Dairy Farm Café on Saturday 14th May. See you there!
Milton, our new Secretary, went on this ride and writes:
A hardy band of nine met up at the Brampton Valley Way starting point for Phil G’s 30-mile brisk ride. He could really have advertised it as icy brisk, as it was certainly that.
We headed out through the Bramptons and thence to Holdenby, Guilsborough and West Haddon by which time the hilly terrain had done for two of us who took the offered short cut to the pub at Great Brington via the beautiful and historic Ashby St Ledgers. Later Phil would stop the main group there to point out the building in which the gunpowder plot was reputedly hatched.
As the sun sank and our lights went on we came across a couple of lads trying to push their broken-down car up the single track road to Welton to find a safe spot to leave it. We downed bikes and heaved them to a safe spot before setting off again and starting to wonder if we’d kindly helped a pair of thieves with their booty. Who can tell? If they were thieves, they were grateful ones!
By the time we reached Long Buckby it was pitch black and the single track and lonely road to the pub at Great Brington loomed large to those of us with less than adequate lights … me that is. I stuck to the well endowed in the lighting department as s*** sticks to a shovel and made it through.
We, all nine of us now, had a beer or two in front of a fine open fire and reluctantly, as it was colder than ever and annoyingly still dark, we set off on the final few miles back to our starting point via Harlestone and Church Brampton.
How did I find my first ever night ride? … Bonkers, totally bonkers but much fun. We all enjoyed it and owe a debt of gratitude to Phil G for leading it.
Rowan went on this ride, led by Iain D. She writes:
Four of us met up at the entrance to the Brampton Valley Way (BVW), near the Windhover pub on Saturday afternoon for what was the last of our summertime rides.
Luckily for us, the sun came out and we enjoyed some very mild, if a little windy, weather as Iain D. led Milton, Dave U. and myself northwards up the BVW path, over loose chippings and through some puddles (eek!) until we hit a beautifully smooth surfaced (in comparison) road towards Creaton village and up the rather steep but scenic hill!
Our ride was rather challenging in terms of ups and downs; certainly it was for me after having a few weeks off from suffering a twisted neck muscle but as we got into the swing of it I would say we might have re-titled our ride “brisk”.
We rode through Creaton, Hollowell, Ravensthorpe, East Haddon and lastly along the Holdenby road towards our refreshment stop, Café Monde, Church Brampton. We went “up hill and down dale” for the whole ride, but I seemed to go up a few gears on the final stretch towards my waiting coffee! Milton left us at this point to go and walk his dog ….
The remaining three of us were very pleased to meet up at our tea stop with John Alcock , who had cycled over from his home in Duston to be with us. Thanks to John we had a great conversation ranging from our shared re-collections of Chesterfield and Worksop to the future of our CTC groups.
Thanks to Iain D for organising this ride and for everyone else’s company.
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.
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.
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.
I did a recce of the route of Stage 1 of The 2014 Women’s Tour on Wednesday. It went well. I know all the turns!
Meeting & start time
If you’ve booked a place in the LandRover/trailer combination, please be at the Canoe Centre at 7.45 a.m. so that we can be loaded and away at 8.00 a.m. Iain D will drive us to Oundle.
Iain will park up in the car park behind the Joan Strong Centre in East Road, Oundle. Half of this car park has a 2m height restriction and half is unrestricted. My contact at Oundle Town Council has confirmed that it will be open on the day. He also adds that, “If for some reason there are no spaces you could use the Co-op car park which is owned by the Council. No height restrictions there.”
So if you’re making your own way to Oundle, Plan A would be to park behind the Joan Strong Centre (PE8 4BZ). Plan B is the Co-op Car Park, St Osyth’s Lane (PE8 4BG). I believe the St Osyth’s Lane car park has a public toilet that is open from 7.00 a.m. on Sundays.
I think, therefore, that we will meet up in the Plan A car park ready to roll round to the Market Square for 9.30 a.m. I’ll try and keep in touch by mobile if I think the LandRover/Trailer is going to be late. My mobile number is 07960 302095.
At 9.30 a.m. we’ll have a photo in the Market Square and make a start.
There are eleven of us travelling from Northampton and there could be up to fifteen Oundle cyclists joining us.
For our ride, we won’t be going through the two private estates – Broughton and Althorp – but on quiet roads around the perimeters.
The first really busy part, shortly after the Broughton estate, is to cross the A6003. I meandered a bit here on the recce but I think it best to stick to the race route: from Geddington past the hamlet of Newton and coming out onto the new roundabout on the A6003, turning right for 200m on the dual carriageway, then left onto the quiet road to Rushton.
The second busy road would be the A508 from Lamport to Brixworth. We shall avoid this by taking the Scaldwell Road out of Lamport and entering Brixworth on the Holcot Road.
The next busy roads would be the A5199 from Spratton to Chapel Brampton, soon followed by the A428 past the entrance to Althorp that the race will use. We’ll avoid these stretches (and anyway we can’t pedal through Althorp) by going from Spratton via East Haddon to pick up the race route again at Great Brington.
The road was closed on my ride at Little Brington for renewing the water mains – more of a problem for the race than for us, as we can squeeze through one at a time. I popped into Nortoft (the county council’s organisers for race day) at Nobottle and it’s their biggest worry.
After Nobottle, the route is busy-ish down Sandy Lane to the roundabout where we’ll go across the A4500. Then it’s fairly quiet again to the southern edge of the southern development where cars can speed along Wooldale Road towards Caroline Chisholm School. Then it’s quiet again through Great Houghton to the A428 Bedford Road into town. I stuck to the main road here but it’s easy to ride on the shared-use pavement pretty much all the way from Great Houghton to Becket’s Park if you prefer. Then from Becket’s Park it’s 300 metres up Derngate to the Guildhall. I think we’ll have another photo here at 4.00 p.m.
The route is here on RideWithGPS.
Timings and refreshment stops
I started after 10 a.m. and then had a p*nct*r* at Rushton so I was out-of-kilter for café stops. Geddington would be too early anyway. The Dovecot at Newton doesn’t open until noon on Sundays. At Rushton I changed inner tubes on a picnic table outside The Thornhill Arms. By the time I’d done that it was noon, the pub opened and I had coffee and a sandwich. But noon is the opening time on Sundays too and we’ll be through Rushton by then. An ideal cafe in Desborough doesn’t open on Sundays. And the Tollemache Arms in Harrington opens at noon on Sundays for roast dinners only.
The George in Brixworth at 31 miles (out of 58) may be the best bet for a lunch stop but I’ll give it some more thought. One advantage is that riders who don’t fancy a full day could join us at lunchtime in Brixworth for the afternoon. And as we go around Northampton there are many points where one can leave the ride and go straight into town.
If I were to finalise the plan as having lunch at The George, then you might want to bring something to eat for a roadside elevenses at about 20 miles.
We’ve a minimum of 11 riders and a maximum at present of 26. Brian and I will be contacting Marianne at Oundle to get a better idea of her numbers and whether they want to ride all the way. Don’t worry if you booked a place on the LandRover/Trailer combination: there’s still only six of us for that option. But …
I have suggested 7.45 a.m. at the Canoe Club for those on the LandRover/Trailer so that we can be loaded and away at 8.00 a.m. (A late start from Oundle won’t help us as I discovered.)
At the end of the ride, I’ll be pedalling to Kingsthorpe with Iain D and Emily. I’ll then drive the three of us to Oundle to pick up the LandRover/trailer and Emily’s car. There could be two more spaces in my car for this drive. (Just … it’s only a small car!) Speak to me before the day if you would like a lift.
Again, any questions? I’m on 01604 843894 and 07960 302095.
Any suggestions or improvements? Don’t wait until we’re about to start the ride! Speak to me during the week!
Iain Dawson, our Rides Secretary, will be leading this ride and writes:
We have a leisurely ride planned, leaving from the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road crossing at 2.00 p.m. (Postcode NN6 8AA; parking at BVW car park up Brampton Lane opposite The Windhover.) We will cross the dam at Pitsford, tackle part of the BVW and the Gamboro Plantation track to Cottesbrooke. Then we head back through Creaton and Holdenby to Church Brampton for coffee; then it’s back down the hill to where we started.
Only one significant climb but please note that one of the tracks is unsurfaced so we might all be walking that one (short) rough stretch!
Weather forecast is currently dry so I hope to see you down at the Brampton Valley Way at 2.00 p.m. on Saturday.
Iain is on 07909 992468.