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.
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.
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.
Milton went on this ride led by Tim and writes:
Seven of us set off from Moulton on a cold, (3-4 degrees) but dry and fairly wind free morning. We were a little late as Ian Mac, not riding on this particular day, but resplendent as ever on his titanium steed, had popped across to wish us bon voyage.
Through Sywell and on to Little Harrowden we took the the lovely ‘Slips’ route to Finedon the edges of which we skirted, then up through Burton Latimer on to Orlingbury then to Broughton, to Loddington, a lovely route through Braybrooke, and eventually to the edges of Market Harborough when we finally found ourselves, in the middle of a storm of sleet, at our coffee stop at Waterloo Farm. Cold and tired after 35 miles non-stop we entered the warm welcoming building and found all tables pre-booked for ‘Mother’s Day’ lunches, but we were welcome to sit outside and they’d do some bacon sandwiches for us.
Oddly enough, the sun came out, the sandwiches and cakes appeared quickly and we rather enjoyed the stop. They couldn’t serve us indoors but did their best to tend to us with great efficiency outside.
Back on the bikes to as direct a trip home as possible via Kelmarsh, Lamport and Walgrave. Tired legs meant the group split a little on the homeward leg, but we all met up at Moulton before wending our ways home.
In all, some 52 miles, 2,700 feet of climbing and the first lot home managed to average 14.8 mph, which wasn’t bad going.
A fine trip with lots of little known rural tracks which are always a treat, although the coffee stop was much needed when it finally arrived.
Thanks to Iain D for devising the route and for Tim who led it in Iain’s absence.
Phil J went on this ride, led by Milton, and writes (with pictures by Dave):
A misty but fairly warm morning greeted the group of five riders on this rerouted ride.
Taking in a number of familiar roads and one or two less known to us, we headed off through plenty of villages including the picturesque Ecton and Orlingbury further along.
Rowan had an early mechanical but nothing to hold up the steady pace we were making. The route undulated as expected but the group coped admirably.
Traffic levels seemed high in parts but so was the level of cyclists that we regularly passed en route – a positive sign indeed.
The cafe stop at Great Cransley was a welcome sign where Nick joined us from his start in Welford. The small but friendly café at Bugtopia provided enough fuel for us to continue our journey where we were now a group of six.
The sun finally broke through the clouds and raised the temperature a degree or two as we left the café making the return journey a much better prospect than on the way out. At least for a while. The hills at Loddington that were approaching were mentioned several times by our leader during the morning and they didn’t disappoint as hills go. Coming in quick succession as well.
Iain departed soon after the climbs having put the miles in already with his ride in but not before a superb display of short sharp climbing from the back of the pack right to the front.
Nick took his preferred route back shortly after and the remaining four pressed on towards Old. The anticipated climb at Brixworth didn’t materialise as Milton found a more pleasing route through Scaldwell to soften the blow which was most welcome to all. Another of the group – Rowan – said her goodbyes leaving a trio to carry on with the ride.
We cruised over some of the flatter parts of the route thereafter which was useful in keeping us warm as the sun had disappeared again, dropping the temperatures.
We returned through Ecton and eventually along the familiar cycle paths parallel to the A45. Again the group split with Milton and Dave heading home and just myself returning to the Canoe Centre.
Thanks for the ride Milton! Good riding all!
Iain D, our Rides Secretary, is leading this ride and writes:
This Saturday we’ll be heading out on a brisk(-ish) 30*-miler with plenty of ups and downs but nothing too long or sharp for a Saturday morning.
We’ll head north from Moulton, duck across the Pitsford causeway then head across to Old before the long, gentle descent into Loddington, some hill work across to Broughton, Pytchley and Little Harrowden then a slightly flatter stretch back to the Beckworth Emporium (at 26 miles) for a comfort stop and an espresso (or drink of your choice). Then it’s straight back to Moulton.
There is nothing overly taxing on the route but there is plenty of up and down to keep the legs turning. It’s all tarmac so I intend to be back home in time for lunch!
*28 miles if we take the shortcut at Loddington, less another mile if we avoid Walgrave (which we may do if the roads are wet).
Brian Tunbridge leads this ride and writes:
This is a challenging ride of 43 miles and hilly (with an average pace of 12 m.p.h.). We’ll meet in front of the Co-Op in Moulton (NN3 7TB) for a 9.30 a.m. start. The ride will stop only at East Carlton Country Park (for brunch in the café) before returning.
The route will be out through Kelmarsh and back through Loddington mainly on quiet roads except for a short stretch on the A427.
Brian’s contact number is 01604 622073 (or 07722 055149 on the day).