Ride to Towcester – Sunday 16th February

Iain D, our Rides Secretary, writes:

We’ve got off relatively lightly with the weather of late, in comparison with other parts of the country, but it’s not exactly been lovely for cycling this week. And we scheduled a ride to Towcester for the A5 Rangers cycle parts, extras and “jumble” sale this Sunday …
Well, I’m pleased to say that the forecast is looking pretty good for the day itself and Bill still intends to lead this ride. Here’s what he has to say:
The ride is just a straight out and return – approx 25-30 miles.
 
There is the usual tea and cake at the A5 Rangers club house plus attempts to pick up stuff from the jumble sale etc.
 
I will be there as per normal even if weather inclement.
 
It’s usually a good opportunity to stock up on consumables for the year as well – and you can stay as long or as short as you like in Towcester, if you’re happy to make your own way back.
One other note from Bill:
leave 9.30 a.m. … sharp
See you Sunday, 9.30 a.m. (sharp!), Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ.
Bill is on 07736 600858

Ride Report – Saturday 30th November

Phil L led this ride and writes:

I think for the four of us who rode today, it was quite refreshing to ride a fair bit off-road and without having to constantly be on the lookout for wayward drivers.  So, having dusted off our mountain bikes, we took a route in the morning sunshine which linked the parks of Delapre, Becketts, Sixfields, Upton, Hunsbury Hill and Grange emerging not far from Salcey Forest for a loop of the woods and a coffee stop.

Our return via bridleway to Piddington and Brackmills Cycle Network didn’t take too long despite some interesting wheel-gripping sections of mud on-route.

An enjoyable change.  So a “New Year’s” resolution: do more off road!

Ride Report – Saturday 23rd November

Iain, our rides secretary, went on this ride led by Phillip G and writes:

An overcast start to the morning meant that we would, at least, be riding without fear of drivers being blinded by the sun.  It also meant that our leader had much to do to keep us motivated. Seven of us were motivated enough to be there at the start but there had been mention of shortcuts.

We departed East Hunsbury fairly briskly on the usual route out through Blisworth to Roade and from there past the pub at Ashton where the Christmas meal is being held this year. There did seem to be a fair amount of mud on the junctions round here, not that it caused us any problems, but it is that time of year so take a bit of care if you’re out that way.

We made it over the rail line to Long Street in good time and nobody opted for the shortcut, so Phillip’s route must have been keeping our spirits up, besides which it wasn’t cold enough to cause problems – once you’re moving, that is. It was rather chilly whenever we stopped.

We looped south through Hanslope and back up again to Stoke Goldington, passing Olney signs on the way, before escaping from the Milton Keynes district to cut across the middle of Salcey Forest and head to the café for coffee. The café was doing good trade for a winter’s morning and there were even a couple of non-cyclists in there, though they were hugely outnumbered.

Between Salcey and Quinton, we passed the construction entrance for the M1 Windfarm that’s currently under development and which will boast nine smaller-than-planned turbines by the time it’s finished. At Quinton the group split. Riders from the east side of town opted to avoid the west turn to Courteenhall, as did Rowan who, with a dangling front light, was opting for the shortest route home, leaving a much reduced group to brave the A508 between two lovely stretches of country lane. That road doesn’t get any better, which is a shame because the lanes to and from it are lovely and very quiet.

The stretch back through Blisworth to East Hunsbury brought us up to the 29 mile mark, according to my route planner, rounding off a very pleasant, briskish, winter’s morning ride.

Thanks to Phillip for organising the route.

Morning ride – Saturday 23rd November

Philip G will be leading this ride and writes:

Join CTC Northampton for a brisk(ish) ride to Salcey Forest this Saturday, 23 November 2013.
The route will take us south-east through Roade and Hanslope to Gayhurst, then back north-west through Stoke Goldington to Salcey. There is the option for a teastop at Salcey Café, after which we return to the start via the pretty Courteenhall Road. The aim is to ride with as few stops as possible, at a good but sensible pace for the time of year (12-14 mph). Terrain is reasonably flat apart from Hunsbury Hill and Roade to Hanslope. Road bikes are ideal.
The full distance will be 27 miles – with various optional shortcuts available.
The weather forecast is cool (2 to 5 degrees C) but dry with a light northerly wind, and potentially some sunshine.
Ride starts from East Hunsbury (Overslade Close, near Hunsbury Library) at 9.30 am.
Hope to see you there!

Ride Report – Middleton Cheney – Sunday 25th August

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

First thing on Sunday morning, things were looking decidedly autumnal. The air was cool and damp and it hadn’t long finished raining. One breakfast later, I was headed over to East Hunsbury, not bothering to dodge the showers as they were very light and wondering whether we’ve been spoiled by all the recent sunshine. Crossing Northampton, it all dried up and, in fact, we didn’t see another drop of rain all day after that.

It was still quite cool though as the three of us assembled for a ride that promised some new roads, Banbury being an area we seldom visit.

Following Ian’s newly acquired Garmin box, we headed out through Tiffield and Greens Norton to Sulgrave Manor for elevenses (and received a much warmer welcome than last time!) and it was still autumnal enough to justify their “ye olde 16th century hot chocolate” – interesting blend – before heading on to Middleton Cheney and the local golf club for lunch, by which time, of course, the sun was out and it was getting rather warm and summery once more.

Note to webmaster: it’s worth adding the golf club to our list of food stops. All-Day veggie breakfast is great value.

Having navigated the hitherto unseen “Barley Hill” in Culworth on the return leg, we were FORCED by the heat to stop at Canons Ashby, where we ran into a couple making the most of the long weekend on their Pino tandem (if you’ve never heard of one, google web-search it. It looks like a sit-up-and-beg rear-ended a recumbent but they ride a lot better than that sounds), and Ian’s satnav then brought us back through Pattishall to our start point making a total trip of just under 48 miles with nothing, really, in the way of hills above the usual Northamptonshire rolling countryside. The Endomondo trace of the route is here, with the usual wandering around at tea stops: http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/235886762/5180977

I’m sure Ian will be posting his GPS trace up as well, to see how the two compare.

I’m afraid the rest of you missed out on a rather decent ride!

Reminder – Sunday’s Ride to Middleton Cheney

Just a quick reminder:

  • Meet at 9.30 a.m. at Overslade Close, Hunsbury
  • Elevenses at Sulgrave Manor (18 miles)
  • Lunch – bar snacks – at Cherwell Edge Golf Club (25 miles)
  • Tea stop – if wanted – at Canons Ashby (33 miles)
  • Return to Hunsbury (47 miles)
The route passes through a succession of idyllic villages.  The stops have good refreshments and clean toilets.  The forecast is light cloud until noon and then the possibility of light showers.
Allowing for four hours riding time, we should easily return by mid-afternoon.

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!

 

New date for Banbury Ride – now Sunday 25th August

In a change to the advertised programme, the Banbury Ride, originally planned for this Sunday – 18th August – has CHANGED DATE.
I realise this may be an inconvenience to some of you, but it may be an advantage to others.
The new date is … the following Sunday.
Meet 25th August at Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, 9.30 a.m.
(Ian M will be leading this ride and will post details nearer the time.)

 

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,

Day ride – Sunday 9th June

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

This Sunday we’ll be heading over to the west of the county and through the village of Eydon. There’s no special reason for visiting that spot, although I’m sure it’s lovely, but it will give us a chance to try out a different mix of lanes to those we usually ride on.

Total distance is a shade over 50 miles (12 m.p.h. average speed at a steady pace), elevenses will be at Canons Ashby, lunch in Towcester and the weather looks set to continue fine into the weekend so I’ll see you all on Sunday – start at East Hunsbury (Overslade Close, by the library, NN4 0RZ) at 9.30 a.m.

Iain is on 07909 992468