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.
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.
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!