Start: 9.30 a.m. Meeting point: Brampton Valley Way (BVW)/A5199 crossing near The Windhover, NN6 8AA. There is a BVW car park just up Brampton Lane. Distance: 40 miles (brisk), 35 miles (moderate). Refreshments: Salcey Forest Café
This circuit of Northampton skirts/circles the Borough boundary keeping the Express Lift Tower as our “hub” all morning – taking in Boughton, Moulton, Overstone, the Houghtons and Salcey Forest for an early brunch. Then we complete the circuit through Quinton, Blisworth, Milton Malsor, Rothersthorpe, Kislingbury and return to BVW.
Brisk ride led by Phil L; moderate ride led by Brian.
Seven of us braved a fairly dark and chilly morning to meet up at East Hunsbury for Tim’s 52-mile steady ride around Northampton.
The half-way point saw us getting stuck into cake and coffee and sausage rolls (possibly in that order) at the cafe in Brixworth Country Park having swept round the south and west of the county through Kislingbury, East Haddon and Spratton climbing what felt like most of the Northants cols on route.before Brixworth.
The second stage included Holcot and Earls Barton before crossing the river and climbing up the day’s last mountain to the peak at Castle Ashby where we stopped for more coffee and cake. We had dropped Phil L off by this stage but picked up another, Elspeth, at the Castle so we were still seven and then we lost Geoff who was nearer home than he would be at any other time and so we were six.
We six nipped back towards East Hunsbury via Denton and Preston Deanery at which point three more of us set off homewards and the remaining three – well, who knows – I was safely tucked up at home with coffee and a well deserved couple of slices of cake.
I heard later that the final three made it back to the start point safely, so a good day out was had by all. A well devised route with thanks to Tim!
Milton went on this ride organised by Tim and writes:
A chilly morning, and a late start for fear of a frost that didn’t in fact linger, found five ready for Tim’s big adventure to the Old Dairy Farm Craft Centre at Upper Stowe. We split into a quick riding group of three who were to take a longer route to coffee and a sensible, (do I give myself away here?) group of two. The two sensibles soon became three as one of the other lot found that Christmas excess had not yet cleared the system and he hadn’t a hope of staying the course for the next 27 miles. Next month Giles,next month!.
The sun came out as we trundled through Pattishall, Adstone, Preston Capes and Farthingstone. The roads were dry, the fields were full of fat sheep, the lambs not far away now, and a kestrel sat confident on a hedge only feet from us as we sped past, and it was bliss to be on a bike.
The three sensible ones arrived at the cafe only a few moments ahead of the other two who regaled us with tales of derring-do, monster hills and terrifying descents which we chose not to believe.
Much colder after a 40-minute stop (how does the weather manage to change so radically during every coffee break?) we all dashed back together through Upper Heyford, Bugbrooke, and Kislingbury until, at just after 2pm, we were back in East Hunsbury.
Lovely, well devised route,(thank you Tim) which meant we had space to really enjoy the trip – which we did!
Tim, our Webmaster, has planned these rides and writes:
Start: 10.00 a.m. – changed to allow for possibility of frosty roads and lanes! Meeting point: East Hunsbury Library, Overslade Close, NN4 0RZ Distance: Brisk 37 miles; moderate 30 miles Anticipated Speed: Brisk 14-16 m.p.h.; moderate 10–12 m.p.h. Refreshments: Old Dairy Farm Cafe, Upper Stowe
There are two rides this Saturday, one will be at a brisk pace (led by Tim) and the other at a moderate pace (led by Milton). The moderate ride will be a shorter distance so that we should all arrive at the Upper Stowe tea stop at about the same time.
Both rides head out south westwards from East Hunsbury along Banbury Lane before splitting just north of Blakesley to take alternative routes to Preston Capes. After a short shared section they again divide before rejoining just before the stop for tea and cakes at Upper Stowe. Both rides then follow the same route back (via Nether Heyford, Bugbrooke & Kislingbury) to the start point at East Hunsbury Library.
Current weather forecast is frost free. Both routes are tarmac throughout, but some sections may be muddy at this time of year.
Lights would be a good idea for added day-time visibility, but we should be back at East Hunsbury sometime around 1.30 p.m.
The proposed routes can be viewed (and downloaded as gpx files) from the CTC Northampton pages on RideWithGPS:
Rowan, our Ladies Rep, went on this ride and writes:
Eight riders (including 3 ladies!) met at East Hunsbury for the second of our “moderately-paced” 30-mile rides. We were pleased to see a mixture of cyclists joining us today from regular riders to those returning to cycling and a few who had not ridden with a group on very many occasions before. Tim led the group, with myself as “Tail End Charlie”, through Rothersthorpe, Gayton Marina, Dalscote and Fosters Booth and on to the hillier section of the ride on Banbury Lane and north to Maidford and Farthingstone. Along the route we met with Peter Crighton who had donned his winter cycling attire for what was becoming both a sunny but still chilly and a little windy ride. Great to see you out again, Pete!
We then made it up a particularly steep hill to the bluebell wood outside Everdon Stubbs and were pleased to see plenty of flowers still in full bloom along with some stunning white wild flowers (does anyone know the name of these flowers? – see CTC Facebook in a few days for some images of the wood). The café at Old Dairy Farm in Upper Stowe was a welcome tea stop (aren’t they always?!) where we had a mixture of mid morning snacks and early lunches, plus seemingly endless coffee!
As Tim described in his ride brief, the route back saw us crossing the A5 once more en route to Nether Heyford, Bugbrooke, Kislingbury and Rothersthorpe before the final climb back up to East Hunsbury library (thanks Tim!).
Thanks again to everyone who came out today. I believe a few of you may be out on tomorrow’s ride too!
Our next moderately-paced ride is on Sunday 29 May and will be a longer 45-mile route led by Phil G taking in the north of the county and into Leicestershire.
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.
Milton, our Secretary, went on this ride led by Phil L and writes:
Five of us met at the Brampton Valley Way start point to be taken by Phil L on one of his legendary brisks! In fact, because we had a nearly new rider with us, we were able to keep the brakes on Phil as we set off on the route round Northampton clockwise through Boughton and Moulton to Overstone and Ecton. On through Little Houghton and up the hill at Great Houghton and via Quinton and Preston Deanery to coffee at Salcey Forest café.
We had already lost Eleanor before the cafe (Packing for the great Thailand trip perhaps? Good luck you two!) Our new rider decided to get a lift back home from there. We look forward to your company again, Janne!
We three remainders continued off through Horton towards Kislingbury where Phil G left us to go to the bike shop to try out a new bike. The remaining Phil, L that is, and I parted at Sixfields to our respective homes.
A cold and icy morning had miraculously turned into a sunny and almost warm day with only the slightest breeze. As good a cycling day as you get. Good weather, a good route and fine company. What more can you ask for?