Ride Report – Leisure ride – Saturday 24th May

Brian, our Secretary, went on this ride on Saturday afternoon led by Iain D, our Rides Secretary, and writes:

It rained solidly all Saturday morning and the forecast was grim. However, it often happens that there is a break in the rain before the next rain front arrives.  This was true to form and at 1.00 p.m. there was a break in the clouds and by 2.00 p.m. when three riders met at East Hunsbury the sun was about to break through.

Iain D was on his Brompton folder, being a leisure ride, but he seemed to be rocket powered as we sped along Banbury Lane. We never quite found out what he had in the large bag on the front of the bike!

Given that we were three regular riders we adopted Plan B which was to extend the route to Weedon and try the cafe next to Joyride Cycles on the A45.  The café turned out to be closed but we enjoyed a quick visit to the bike shop and a chat with Natalie who we met recently at the cycle day in the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.

Back to Plan A and we set off to the The Paddocks tea-room in Flore where we received a warm welcome and very good coffee and cake.  After the morning rain the air was very clear and we had great views over the countryside as we made our way from Flore across to the Nobottle road and then back into town.  Riding from Sixfields down to the canal, the approaching dark clouds looked distinctly ominous.  We split up at Hunsbury and Milton and I set off on the cycle tracks across town only to be caught by hailstones about a mile from home.

Despite this it was a very pleasant afternoon ride and thanks to Iain D for leading the route.

Afternoon leisure ride – Saturday 24th May

Iain D, our Rides Secretary, is leading this ride and writes:

For those of you not venturing out to Beaumanor for the weekend, we are laying on a leisurely ride to Flore this Saturday afternoon.

We will be leaving East Hunsbury at 2.00 p.m. and heading out on estate roads and lanes over the M1 and through Bugbrooke and Nether Heyford before a tea-and-loo stop at the halfway point: the nursery in Flore.

The return trip will take us back across the eastern side of the M1 and through Nobottle, the Berry Wood estate (never been through there so that could be interesting), the Upton Park estate and along cycle tracks in Northampton back to our start point.

See you Saturday, 2.00 p.m., Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ.

Any questions? Iain is on 07909 992468

Ride Report – “Ride the Route” – Sunday 4th May

Brian, our Secretary, went on this ride led by Ian M, our Chairman, and writes:

It is not often that we get a chance to do a linear ride without returning to the start but last Sunday week,  twenty riders met on the Market Square in the centre of Oundle at 9.30 a.m. to ride the route of Stage 1 of The Women’s 2014 Tour: 100 km finishing at the Guildhall in Northampton.  Six of us took advantage of Iain D’s landrover and a borrowed trailer to get to the start; some went by car with a lift back to the start with ride leader Ian M; three others cycled out from Northampton; and, to complete the group, four riders associated with Oundle School joined us.

With the emphasis on the reason for the ride, the mandatory photo at the start featured the 6 ladies at the front.

With the emphasis on the reason for the ride, the mandatory photo at the start featured the ladies at the front.

As a large group, a quick briefing from ride leader Ian outlined the grouping for the ride.  As it turned out, riders were all experienced and of similar ability so we kept in small groups within sight of the leader regrouping from time to time.  Apart from crossing a few main roads the route was quiet and traffic-free, through some very pleasant countryside.  It was sunny, warm and with only a light wind, ideal for riding.

Unusuallly for a CTC ride there were no cafés along the first part of the route (not that the ‘Tour’ race organisers would be planning for that) so a brief respite at Rushton gave us time for socialising as well as preparation for the quoted “queen of the hills” at Harrington. This hill was not so much steep as relatively long and sustained.

We were all ready for a lunch stop in Brixworth. Although we arrived at about 12.45 p.m. ‘Sunday lunch’ in the pub took some time for a large group and we did not depart Brixworth until 2.45 p.m. somewhat behind schedule but having had a very sociable break. As arranged a number of riders left the group at this stage to return home and a reduced group continued for the second half of the ride.  This took in some of the steepest hills on the course especially between Brixworth and Great Brington.  We could not go through the closed section of the Tour route through Althorp but thanks to Ian’s recce earlier in the week, our detour followed the official route as close as possible.

From Nobottle it was a relatively fast run on a straight road to the outskirts of Duston, where it seemed as if we were nearly home. However, the route turned south around Northampton taking us as far east as Great Houghton before it returned along Bedford Road and into the Derngate for a sprint finish – won, of course, by Emily and Chloe.

There was a celebratory photo outside the Guildhall.

There was a celebratory photo outside the Guildhall.

The race organisers certainly chose a great route through the County with some of the best cycling on quiet roads. I wonder what the Tour riders will make of some of the road surfaces en route.

Many thanks to Ian M for sorting out the route and leading so ably on the day.  Just for the record the route was 58miles (93km), total ascent 3048 ft (938m), 37%up, 33% down, 30%level (<1%). Average speed 13+ mph.

The route is here on RideWithGPS.

“Ride The Route” – Sunday 4th May – Update!

I did a second recce of (part of) the route today.

I had a second look at one part; and I went in to The George at Brixworth to speak to the staff there about lunch.

I’m clear about the route from Geddington to Rushton. Of the two minor roads west out of Geddington we’ll take the one which goes past the Dovecot tea-room at Newton. Almost immediately upon passing the tea-room, it has the newest, smoothest tarmac of any minor road in the county! This emerges at a new large roundabout on the A6003 where we’ll go right (north) for two hundred metres on the dual carriageway before turning left (west) on the minor road to Rushton.

I also called in at The George at Brixworth. “Hello Sir! You taught me history in Year 9!” said a splendid barmaid. I’ve confirmed the booking as fifteen for lunch. We’ll have a pleasant room set out with tables for four. Zoe confirmed again that they are happy to serve the children’s portions of the roast dinner menu (at £4.95) if you’re not up for the full portions (at £8.95).

Thinking about the route after lunch, I’m going to stick to the route here on RideWithGPS – avoiding the A5199 and A428. I’m grateful to John C for a helpful e-mail which, among many points, advised that the A5199 would be safe for a large group going south. But our diversion also avoids parts of the “Spires & Squires” sportive route. If the sportive riders are still out in the afternoon, we’ll meet them between Great and Little Brington where they’ll be going in the opposite direction.

Numbers
I think we will be a group of twenty riders at the start.

Marianne’s group will start and return to Oundle in a loop. They may turn back before Brixworth and so that’s why there’s a smaller number booked for lunch.

Fancy a half-day ride?

Join us in Brixworth!  We’ll be at The George from 12.30 p.m. to 1.30 p.m and then you could cycle with us in the afternoon.  You don’t even have to go all the way of the route – you could jump back to the town centre from Nobottle or Hunsbury!

Thanks to everyone! Really looking forward to this!

 

“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!

 

 

Brisk ride on Saturday morning, 13th April

Phil Letts will be leading this ride and writes:

We start at 9.30 a.m. from the Brampton Valley Way (BVW), at the crossing of the A5199 near The Windhover, for a brisk ride of 35 miles.

The route follows or shadows the Midshires Way – all of which is now on good road surfaces so off-road bikes are not required.

We go out via the Bramptons, Nobottle, Flore, Gayton and Roade to Salcey Forest for a coffee stop after 25 miles.

We return following the National Route 6 through Quinton, Great Houghton and Northampton to the BVW after 10 more miles.

Phil is on 07867 388592.

Ride on Saturday morning – 22nd December

Phil Letts will be leading this ride and writes:

Start  9.30 a.m.  Brampton Valley Way (BVW) by “The Windhover”.   Brisk club ride – 35 miles. 

This is ride follows or shadows the Midshires Way all of which is now on good road surfaces so road bikes required.

Route links the Bramptons, Harlestone, Nobottle, Flore (coffee break) Bugbrooke, Gayton, Blisworth, Roade to Salcey Forest for an early brunch/lunch (25 miles)

Then the return follows the National Route 6 back through Quinton, Great Houghton and Northampton to BVW (10miles)

Phil is on: 07867388592