Ride Leader James Holden writes:
Departing Moulton Co-op (NN3 7TB), 9.30 am on Sunday, for around 60 miles in total.
Whilst this ride is probably at the more challenging end of the spectrum, the effort is well-rewarded with quiet roads, impressive scenery and, of course, my company. An added incentive is the fact that our lunch-stop – the renowned Café Ventoux in Tugby – serves a fine array of cakes, coffees and ultra thick sandwiches that will re-energise anyone with fading legs. They also stock the latest range of elite Boardman road bikes so the opportunity is there if you feel like draining the credit card and riding home on a different bike to the one you set out on…
The first leg of the ride takes us out through Old, Harrington and the outskirts of Desborough. We then follow the B669 towards Leicestershire and Stoke Albany, whilst all the time attempting to enjoy the increasingly ‘undulating’ scenery. It’s then on to Medbourne – where we link up with National Cycle Route 64 – and finally, Tugby where, after journeying along the delightfully named Crackbottle Road and crossing the A47 we arrive at Tugby Orchards, home of . Incidentally, the car park surface at Ventoux is laid out with the names of famous riders from the past. Yes, it’s a minor novelty but it does provide you with the chance to pretend you’re a proper Tour cyclist.
The return leg of our journey provides us with some proper Rutland hill climbing – most notably in the area around Goadby and Horse Hill. Still, what goes up must come down and there’s a rather exciting descent which a road sign marks out as nine percent. This section of the ride is notably quiet given that some of the lanes we follow are closed to motorised traffic. Heading back through pretty hamlets like Glooston, Cranoe and Welham, we cross the Harborough Road soon after Great Bowden. The imposing HMP Gartree appears on our left as we cycle on towards Lubenham before rejoining the Harborough Road near East Farndon. Turning left we head through the Oxendons and then Harrington before linking up with the familiar route back to Moulton via Old, Walgrave, etc..
I’ve ridden this route a couple of times and, aside from the fact that on the last occasion I tore a calf muscle climbing Horse Hill (editor’s note: don’t do this on Sunday), I’ve always found it to be thoroughly enjoyable. The hilly bits are manageable and there are plenty of shops and cafés along the way should anyone require any additional refreshment or oxygen. Assuming there aren’t any major mechanicals or incidents then I predict we’ll be back at Moulton at around four-ish.
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