“Boundary Rides” – Two morning rides circling Northampton – Saturday 11th March

Phil L has organised these two rides and writes:

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.

Questions?  Phil is on 07867 388592.

“Ride The Route” – Sunday 4th May

 

I did a recce of the route of Stage 1 of The 2014 Women’s Tour on Wednesday. It went well. I know all the turns!  

Meeting & start time

If you’ve booked a place in the LandRover/trailer combination, please be at the Canoe Centre at 7.45 a.m. so that we can be loaded and away at 8.00 a.m. Iain D will drive us to Oundle.

Iain will park up in the car park behind the Joan Strong Centre in East Road, Oundle. Half of this car park has a 2m height restriction and half is unrestricted. My contact at Oundle Town Council has confirmed that it will be open on the day. He also adds that,If for some reason there are no spaces you could use the Co-op car park which is owned by the Council. No height restrictions there.”

So if you’re making your own way to Oundle, Plan A would be to park behind the Joan Strong Centre (PE8 4BZ). Plan B is the Co-op Car Park, St Osyth’s Lane (PE8 4BG). I believe the St Osyth’s Lane car park has a public toilet that is open from 7.00 a.m. on Sundays.

I think, therefore, that we will meet up in the Plan A car park ready to roll round to the Market Square for 9.30 a.m. I’ll try and keep in touch by mobile if I think the LandRover/Trailer is going to be late. My mobile number is 07960 302095.

At 9.30 a.m. we’ll have a photo in the Market Square and make a start.

There are eleven of us travelling from Northampton and there could be up to fifteen Oundle cyclists joining us.

The route

 

For our ride, we won’t be going through the two private estates – Broughton and Althorp – but on quiet roads around the perimeters.

The first really busy part, shortly after the Broughton estate, is to cross the A6003. I meandered a bit here on the recce but I think it best to stick to the race route: from Geddington past the hamlet of Newton and coming out onto the new roundabout on the A6003, turning right for 200m on the dual carriageway, then left onto the quiet road to Rushton.

The second busy road would be the A508 from Lamport to Brixworth. We shall avoid this by taking the Scaldwell Road out of Lamport and entering Brixworth on the Holcot Road.

The next busy roads would be the A5199 from Spratton to Chapel Brampton, soon followed by the A428 past the entrance to Althorp that the race will use. We’ll avoid these stretches (and anyway we can’t pedal through Althorp) by going from Spratton via East Haddon to pick up the race route again at Great Brington.

The road was closed on my ride at Little Brington for renewing the water mains – more of a problem for the race than for us, as we can squeeze through one at a time. I popped into Nortoft (the county council’s organisers for race day) at Nobottle and it’s their biggest worry.

After Nobottle, the route is busy-ish down Sandy Lane to the roundabout where we’ll go across the A4500. Then it’s fairly quiet again to the southern edge of the southern development where cars can speed along Wooldale Road towards Caroline Chisholm School. Then it’s quiet again through Great Houghton to the A428 Bedford Road into town. I stuck to the main road here but it’s easy to ride on the shared-use pavement pretty much all the way from Great Houghton to Becket’s Park if you prefer. Then from Becket’s Park it’s 300 metres up Derngate to the Guildhall. I think we’ll have another photo here at 4.00 p.m.

The route is here on RideWithGPS.

Timings and refreshment stops

I started after 10 a.m. and then had a p*nct*r* at Rushton so I was out-of-kilter for café stops. Geddington would be too early anyway. The Dovecot at Newton doesn’t open until noon on Sundays. At Rushton I changed inner tubes on a picnic table outside The Thornhill Arms. By the time I’d done that it was noon, the pub opened and I had coffee and a sandwich. But noon is the opening time on Sundays too and we’ll be through Rushton by then. An ideal cafe in Desborough doesn’t open on Sundays. And the Tollemache Arms in Harrington opens at noon on Sundays for roast dinners only.

The George in Brixworth at 31 miles (out of 58) may be the best bet for a lunch stop but I’ll give it some more thought. One advantage is that riders who don’t fancy a full day could join us at lunchtime in Brixworth for the afternoon. And as we go around Northampton there are many points where one can leave the ride and go straight into town.

If I were to finalise the plan as having lunch at The George, then you might want to bring something to eat for a roadside elevenses at about 20 miles.

Numbers

We’ve a minimum of 11 riders and a maximum at present of 26. Brian and I will be contacting Marianne at Oundle to get a better idea of her numbers and whether they want to ride all the way. Don’t worry if you booked a place on the LandRover/Trailer combination: there’s still only six of us for that option. But …

I have suggested 7.45 a.m. at the Canoe Club for those on the LandRover/Trailer so that we can be loaded and away at 8.00 a.m. (A late start from Oundle won’t help us as I discovered.)

At the end of the ride, I’ll be pedalling to Kingsthorpe with Iain D and Emily. I’ll then drive the three of us to Oundle to pick up the LandRover/trailer and Emily’s car. There could be two more spaces in my car for this drive. (Just … it’s only a small car!) Speak to me before the day if you would like a lift.

Again, any questions? I’m on 01604 843894 and 07960 302095.

Any suggestions or improvements? Don’t wait until we’re about to start the ride! Speak to me during the week!

 

 

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!

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!

 

Report – Ride on Sunday 10th February

Ian Macsporran went on this ride, led by Bill Simpson, and writes:

Just like the last time we cycled to the A5 Rangers Club-House in Towcester (for the CTC Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes AGM), four wet riders met in the pouring rain at Hunsbury.  This time we were Ian, David, Phil L and our leader Bill.  This time the venue was hosting the annual Cyclists’ Jumble Sale!

Again, we didn’t hang about after 9.30 a.m. and Bill set a good pace to get us to Towcester and dry shelter!  It was the first time I’d been to this annual event and it was fascinating – not just for the items for sale but for the coffee and cake and, of course, the conversations with old friends.

IMGP5682The plan was always that we would make our ways home independently.  Phil pretty much turned round for the return leg straightaway; David must have followed him shortly afterwards; and Bill was to head for a cycle shop in Milton Keynes.

I had two lots of coffee and cake and felt fortified enough not just to skip lunch at Greens Norton (my original plan) but to add to that part of the loop by going through Abthorpe, Slapton and Bradden as well.  Route here.

From Hunsbury back to Hunsbury, this was 26 miles.  Add to and from home, and I enjoyed a damp but worthwhile 37 miles.

Footnote: returning to the town centre down Towcester Road, I stopped to photograph two houses which a friend who grew up in the area told me were the only houses built in a proposed Northampton Garden Suburb.  Photos and more details in my personal blog here.

 

Christmas Lunch – Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes CTC – Sunday 16th December

The CTC Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes Christmas lunch was held today at our usual venue, The Old Dairy Farm in Upper Stowe.  Thirty members were in attendance.

Six members from CTC Northampton rode to the Lunch from Hunsbury: John W, Eleanor, Bob, David, Ian and our leader Bill.  (Phillip and Rowan made an assisted journey; John C was meeting up with Max in the Bramptons; Phil L broke his chain – and mangled his gear changer – on the way to the start; he returned home and rode solo to the Lunch on another bike!) On a dry, sunny, mild morning we made our way through Milton Malsor, Rothersthorpe, Bugbrooke and Nether Heyford to a sociable elevenses stop at Flore (The Paddocks tea-room). David returned home at this point.

IMGP5608Cycles neatly parked at The Old Dairy Farm

Despite our pause for elevenses, we found we were among the very first to arrive at the Lunch venue where festive delights awaited us in the pleasant upstairs room set aside for our party.

IMGP5607Festivities have commenced

Thoroughly refreshed, we made our own ways back home.  My total mileage to the venue was 20 and my return 11.  A splendid start to Christmas – and big thanks to the organiser, John Weller!

Ride Report – NMK AGM & Lunch – Sunday 4th November

Four hardy riders gathered at 9.00 a.m. in Hunsbury on Sunday in what was already pouring rain: two Ians, Brian and our leader Bill.  We offered each other excuses: “I’m enjoying this, actually!” and “I must be mad!”

We made a prompt start.  Well, the sooner we started the sooner we would get to the dry A5 Rangers’ club-house in Towcester!

If the town had been wet, the countryside was flooded.  Pleasant lanes had become quick-flowing streams.  Every road was coated with leaves.  Bill led us straight to the club-house; no meanders; just the hope that we wouldn’t arrive before it was opened.

Forty-five minutes pedalling and the club-house was open.  It had magnificent wall mounted heaters.  They were soon draped with wet gloves, hats, socks … only later did I spot the sign asking us not to dry wet items on the heaters!

The riders from Milton Keynes had tales to tell of roads closed by the floods.  “Car-assisted” members had tales of being drenched in just the 200 metres walk from the nearest car-park.  Hot drinks and cake were consumed with glee.

The AGM commenced promptly at 10.30 a.m. and our thanks are due to Richard Daniells for efficiently chairing the meeting and to Max Scott for providing a sixteen-page report.  They were re-elected to their posts as were Eleanor Weller (Treasurer), Brian Tunbridge (Welfare Officer) and John Cutler (Registration Officer).  The committee now includes members from all the local member groups.

At 11.30 a.m. the meeting ended but the rain had not.  As our lunch was booked for noon at The Butchers Arms in Greens Norton, we were in no hurry to go back outside.  Brian and one Ian set off back to Northampton and endured a pretty wet ride home.  Bill and the other Ian set off for Greens Norton.  It had been a pleasure to put on dried gloves and a warm hat!  By the time we reached the Pegasus crossing at the A43 I was just as wet as I had been earlier.

The pub was welcoming (they’d expressed surprised earlier that twenty cyclists would make the effort).  The Sunday carvery proved popular and an very social lunch was enjoyed by all.

The rain stopped and weak sunshine greeted the end of lunch.  After farewells, Bill and I rode back to Northampton.  We remained dry – but only from the knees up.  Every lane was flooded; the water was pouring off the fields, through the farm gates, and at times straight through hedges.  Roads became rivers.  The A5 between Duncote and Caldecote was flooded with traffic at a standstill.  And it was too cold and too wet to stop for photographic evidence.

Bill and I said our goodbyes at Milton Malsor to take different routes back into town.  My thanks are due to him for leading this intrepid ride.  Our route from Hunsbury to Hunsbury is here – 21  wet miles, and 31 wet miles door-to-door.

This was our wettest ride since Kelmarsh in March. Winter has arrived!