Ride report – Saturday 8th August

Phil J led this Saturday “brisk” ride and writes:

A glorious and cloudless sunny morning was the reward for the six riders who set off from East Hunsbury to Pitsford Water near Brixworth, including first timer Liam and occasional CTC rider Giles.

First, we descended into the valley at a fast pace setting the agenda for the rest of the
ride.  Skirting Hunsbury Meadows we headed for Rothersthorpe and a couple of early inclines to raise the heartbeats of the group.  Cruising towards Kislingbury got the riders warmed up in the wonderful morning sun before making our way towards Harpole on the safe cycle path alongside the main A4500 road.  The short sharp climb out of Harpole provided the first real test of the day but everyone climbed admirably.  A short run along the Roman road at the top led to another off road stretch on the near perfect cycle paths towards Harlestone before taking the road option again past the garden centre.  Another fast descent beckoned past the Fox & Hounds on the smooth tarmac giving us momentum up the other side and the turn towards the Bramptons.  More fast descending and climbing followed towards The Windhover and eventually up to the main Market Harborough road ahead.  Two more fast downhills and long climbs lay ahead before the arrival into Pitsford and we were all grateful to see the signs up ahead.

Eleanor had already secured a table for us all and we joined her for refreshments in the open air.  After a very pleasant stop, five of us headed back whilst Eleanor and Brian made their own way home.  The first downhill out of Pitsford was accompanied by a sudden headwind, coming out of nowhere, making the subsequent climb that little bit harder to make.  The second dip was avoided though as we turned right towards Brampton Halt where new boy Liam took the helm with a turn of pace to the Northampton Road junction.  At this point Phil L branched off leaving a team of four to continue.  The road went upwards again before the rewarding dash down through Church Brampton and back past the Fox & Hounds for a second time.  Upper Harlestone was next en route which looked picturesque in the morning sunshine.  We meandered our way through the village and onto the Roman road again where a headwind hit us immediately, just as if the gods had seen us coming!  We moved swiftly though and were soon turning for the exhilarating downhill into Harpole which would be the last on the ride and one to enjoy.  Pineham provided more smooth off road riding over to Hunsbury Meadows.  The final climb to the finish went up Hunslet Lane for a change, a shorter sharper rise than the usual route we normally take and caught some of the group by surprise.  A quick dip before another rise completed the climbing and the morning’s ride.

Well done everyone!

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Ride Report – Sunday 1st February

Brian, our Secretary, led this ride and writes:

The weather forecast on Saturday looked distinctly wintry for the Sunday morning with the prospect of ice and very cold temperatures.  Following a few phone calls to the regulars everybody seemed keen to get some fresh air and by Saturday evening five riders had signed up subject to no icy roads. Saturday had been sunny and fortunately the overnight temperature was only down to 2 degC so no ice.

The five riders met at East Hunsbury on a cool overcast morning.  We set off with a following wind and made good time to Silverstone where the sun emerged.  We had the cycle track to ourselves as we headed south to Stowe, with the sound of sports cars on the Silverstone circuit alongside.

The National Trust Café at Stowe was quite busy.  Our conversation about the delights of hot sausage rolls was overheard and a plate of steaming rolls appeared just as we got to the till.  Suitably refreshed and warmed up we headed north on very quiet roads to Syresham and Wapenham straight into a strong wind.  Milton waxed lyrical about the buzzards and kestrels along the hedgerows and this and the open countryside made up for the extra effort against the wind.  It wasn’t long before we turned east slightly out of the wind and on to Slapton and Greens Norton before heading home.

We were back in Northampton at about 2 p.m. but the sun had dropped, as had the temperature. Given it was February we were lucky to get in a ride on a day that turned out to be good cycling conditions, not to mention of course the good company!

Ride Report – Leisure ride – Saturday 24th May

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

It rained solidly all Saturday morning and the forecast was grim. However, it often happens that there is a break in the rain before the next rain front arrives.  This was true to form and at 1.00 p.m. there was a break in the clouds and by 2.00 p.m. when three riders met at East Hunsbury the sun was about to break through.

Iain D was on his Brompton folder, being a leisure ride, but he seemed to be rocket powered as we sped along Banbury Lane. We never quite found out what he had in the large bag on the front of the bike!

Given that we were three regular riders we adopted Plan B which was to extend the route to Weedon and try the cafe next to Joyride Cycles on the A45.  The café turned out to be closed but we enjoyed a quick visit to the bike shop and a chat with Natalie who we met recently at the cycle day in the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.

Back to Plan A and we set off to the The Paddocks tea-room in Flore where we received a warm welcome and very good coffee and cake.  After the morning rain the air was very clear and we had great views over the countryside as we made our way from Flore across to the Nobottle road and then back into town.  Riding from Sixfields down to the canal, the approaching dark clouds looked distinctly ominous.  We split up at Hunsbury and Milton and I set off on the cycle tracks across town only to be caught by hailstones about a mile from home.

Despite this it was a very pleasant afternoon ride and thanks to Iain D for leading the route.

Afternoon leisure ride – Saturday 24th May

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

For those of you not venturing out to Beaumanor for the weekend, we are laying on a leisurely ride to Flore this Saturday afternoon.

We will be leaving East Hunsbury at 2.00 p.m. and heading out on estate roads and lanes over the M1 and through Bugbrooke and Nether Heyford before a tea-and-loo stop at the halfway point: the nursery in Flore.

The return trip will take us back across the eastern side of the M1 and through Nobottle, the Berry Wood estate (never been through there so that could be interesting), the Upton Park estate and along cycle tracks in Northampton back to our start point.

See you Saturday, 2.00 p.m., Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ.

Any questions? Iain is on 07909 992468

“Ride The Route” – Sunday 4th May – Update!

I did a second recce of (part of) the route today.

I had a second look at one part; and I went in to The George at Brixworth to speak to the staff there about lunch.

I’m clear about the route from Geddington to Rushton. Of the two minor roads west out of Geddington we’ll take the one which goes past the Dovecot tea-room at Newton. Almost immediately upon passing the tea-room, it has the newest, smoothest tarmac of any minor road in the county! This emerges at a new large roundabout on the A6003 where we’ll go right (north) for two hundred metres on the dual carriageway before turning left (west) on the minor road to Rushton.

I also called in at The George at Brixworth. “Hello Sir! You taught me history in Year 9!” said a splendid barmaid. I’ve confirmed the booking as fifteen for lunch. We’ll have a pleasant room set out with tables for four. Zoe confirmed again that they are happy to serve the children’s portions of the roast dinner menu (at £4.95) if you’re not up for the full portions (at £8.95).

Thinking about the route after lunch, I’m going to stick to the route here on RideWithGPS – avoiding the A5199 and A428. I’m grateful to John C for a helpful e-mail which, among many points, advised that the A5199 would be safe for a large group going south. But our diversion also avoids parts of the “Spires & Squires” sportive route. If the sportive riders are still out in the afternoon, we’ll meet them between Great and Little Brington where they’ll be going in the opposite direction.

Numbers
I think we will be a group of twenty riders at the start.

Marianne’s group will start and return to Oundle in a loop. They may turn back before Brixworth and so that’s why there’s a smaller number booked for lunch.

Fancy a half-day ride?

Join us in Brixworth!  We’ll be at The George from 12.30 p.m. to 1.30 p.m and then you could cycle with us in the afternoon.  You don’t even have to go all the way of the route – you could jump back to the town centre from Nobottle or Hunsbury!

Thanks to everyone! Really looking forward to this!

 

Ride report – Bank Holiday ride to Milton Keynes

Iain D, our Rides Secretary, led this ride and writes:

With the planned route involving redways and their bollards, and this being the first anniversary of our ride to Monschau (blog readers can remind themselves of that day’s events here), I was a little apprehensive at the start, especially given the fog that had settled over Northamptonshire.

We were joined by a few of the regular crew, one occasional member and a new rider who also teaches spin classes! And I’d got such a gentle ride planned.

The seven of us took the usual route out from East Hunsbury towards Towcester, cut across the A5 south of town to Whittlebury and then had a pleasant and trouble-free run into Potterspury where we arrived for elevenses, at eleven o’clock, just as the shop was opening for the day.

Refreshed, and with the GPS now running (!), we headed off to Deanshanger and the lanes west of Milton Keynes before turning towards the conurbation itself. With thanks to Google Streetview, we found our desired redway fairly painlessly. This was important as that particular redway should, in theory, have delivered us all the way across MK directly onto the Willen Lake promenade. Alternating between wooded/grassy areas and some of the less salubrious housing estates, it actually made good on its promise and we arrived, unscathed, at Willen Lake not 50 yards from lunch. This pleased Milton immensely.

It being a sunny Bank Holiday Monday, there was a bit of a wait for food but since we’d bagged ourselves a table out in the sun we weren’t too fussed. It seemed better to wait than to ride back in towards the town centre.

Navigating away from lunch was harder, but we headed north on the redways then west across Great Linford to pick up the Millennium Cycleway then the Grand Union canal north out of town. That lane is now more cratered than ever, and just north of the bridge it’s a little muddy, but still usable. I hear it flooded a bit over the winter which doesn’t surprise me.

We were resting up in Hanslope a short while later, taking on a few mouthfuls of water, when a large 4×4 pulled over. The window came down and we thought we knew what was coming next. What they actually wanted to know was whether we were all okay or whether we needed any assistance! That doesn’t normally happen …

The group split in Quinton, those from the east side of town opting to avoid the town centre, leaving the rest of us to make our way back to East Hunsbury and the end of a very pleasant day’s riding.

The route for the (last 2/3rds of) the day is here. I forgot to turn the GPS on at the start (oops) and, interestingly, it failed to pause itself at Willen Lake. That does seem to be a recurrent issue there. Maybe MK messes up GPS somehow?

Bank Holiday ride – Monday 21st April

Iain Dawson, our Rides Secretary, is leading this ride and writes:

Easter Eggs! Burn them off on the Easter Monday Bank Holiday ride.

We’ll be rolling through the wooded lanes south of Whittlebury, stopping for elevenses at Wakefield Farm in Potterspury and heading out to the west of Milton Keynes before testing the ride leader’s navigation skills on the MK Redways as we try to find Willen Lake and lunch.

If we’re successful, we’ll then leave Milton Keynes by way of Mill Road and Hanslope before passing through Salcey Forest on our way back into Northampton.

All up, it should total about 55 not-too-strenuous miles.

We meet in Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, at 9.30 on Monday morning (NOT Sunday!)