Brian, our Rides Secretary, led this ride and writes:
On the official first day of summer, four riders set out from East Hunsbury with a brisk cool westerly wind. We wound our way across to the A5 and over to Duncote, then Canons Ashby and on to our first visit to the café in the equestrian centre on the road approaching Woodford Halse. In the sheltered courtyard we enjoyed coffee and toast in the sun. We had arranged to meet Geoff from Wellingborough who joined us for the rest of the ride. John Dunkley arrived shortly after, just to join us for coffee.
We were running slightly behind schedule mainly because of the head wind the sun was out and the temperature rising. The route up to Napton was on unusually quiet roads. We skirted the “hill” at Napton-on-the-Hill and with the wind now on our backs headed for
Priors Marston. To get out of the village there is a 12% hill and then we were almost at Hellidon where we enjoyed a light lunch in the pub. Whilst there, a steam car arrived looking vintage but with pristine bodywork. The give away was the disc brakes. It was, however, definitely steam powered – and an internet search confirmed it was a replica US 1912 ‘coffin nosed’ Stanley steamer.We finished a welcome break and given a strengthening tail wind we “steamed” back to Northampton again on exceptionally quiet roads and with the warm sun on our backs.
It was 54 miles and quite hilly but the route took us through some of the most attractive parts of the County. A great day to be out on a bike and good company to boot with Rowan, Ken, David and Geoff!
Sunday 15th July seemed to be a popular day for cyclist around the county. Unfortunately, however, not from the Northampton group – I thought it might be a solo ride for me.
Luckily Eleanor arrived and cycled as far as the coffee stop which should have been at Woodford Halse. Mindy’s cafe was closed so Eleanor returned to Canons Ashby whilst I continued to Napton to join Bill for lunch.
Shortly after Boddington (close to the future HS2 rail link) the single track road sported signs of a cycle route with marshals. This was the Napton cycle festival ride and I was told that about 150 people had entered. In the next 3 miles into Napton I met those 150 cyclists going the other way !!
The Just So Café (www.cakesjustso.co.uk ) is cycle friendly and suitably refreshed Bill and I returned via Priors Marston meeting more cyclists in the other direction completing their ride .
Although cool for the time of year the weather was good for cycling and we stopped for tea and cake at Litchborough church, sitting in the sun outside along with other riders. A longish ride covering some quiet country lanes which perhaps we can repeat some time.