Annual London Ride – Saturday 12th August

A reminder about our annual London ride!
We will meet outside Euston Station at the picnic tables outside Café Rouge / Café Nero (a slight change from our spot in previous years closer to Melton Street) at 10 a.m. on Saturday 12th August.
This is a return to our usual ride around London.  Last year we rode to London but in previous years we did this:
  • 2015 included Karl Marx’s Grave in Highgate Cemetery, an ascent of Swains Lane, a Northampton connection at the Emirates Stadium, Burgess Park, the Imperial War Museum, the Oval, Battersea Park, Brompton Cemetery and Hyde Park.  Led by Ian M.
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With Herbert Chapman at The Emirates (2015)

 

  • 2014 included the Cross Bones Burial Ground, elevenses at The George Inn, a Banksy near the Alaska Factory, the Cutty Sark, the tunnel to the Isle of Dogs, the Bamboo Bicycle Club, Victoria Park, and Columbia Road Flower Market.  Led by Alex & Miriam.

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Elevenses at The George, Southwark (2014)

  • 2013 took us around Regent’s Park, house façades with no houses behind them in Bayswater, over the Serpentine, across Hyde Park Corner, viewing graffiti under Waterloo Station, lunch on the South Bank, over Tower Bridge, the Cable Street Mural, alongside an ornamental canal, and Postman’s Park.  Led by Iain D.
I hope that gives you a flavour of what you might expect.  The route isn’t revealed until we actually ride!  But there has been a request for a visit to the Olympic Park; may include an unusual Blue Plaque; and could well involve a ride along a Cycle Superhighway.  Two of us will ride a recce of the route one week earlier to get a feel for the traffic flows on an August Saturday – and to be clear where we’re going!
The ride is open to everyone on any sort of bike.
I’m grateful to Alex for reminding me about planned engineering works on August weekends.  Fortunately, Saturday 12th August is free of these and there are normal train services from Northampton to Euston (other Northamptonshire stations are available).  There is no charge for taking full-size bikes on London Midland trains.  You do *not* require a reservation.  All of Saturday is off-peak and so there are no restrictions on bikes on any trains.  (Wellingborough to St Pancras on East Midlands Trains are a different matter.)
From Northampton the 0825 and 0850 trains will get you to Euston before 1000.  If you are thinking of buying the cheapest Advance Non-flexible tickets over the web for particular trains, presently on sale at £7.50 each way (£4.95 with railcard), experience suggests that you do not select your return leg train before 1800.  Otherwise, an Off-Peak Return – which can be bought on the day and used on any train – is £27.80 (£18.35 with railcard).  That will allow you to enjoy a pint in the Bree Louise at the end of the ride (with a price reduction if you have a Camra membership card with you).
Save the date – Saturday 12th August – for what is always an enjoyable day out!

Ride report – Sunday 30th April

Milton went on this ride led by Tim and writes:

Eleven cyclists set off from the canoe centre last Sunday on a warmish breezy day for Tim’s 56 miler to Keysoe. Good to see new rider Mark on a fine traditional steel Thorn with Rohloff hub gears and a front hub dynamo – a true touring set up – and to welcome again Chris.

With the quite fierce breezes in our faces it was nearly a struggle to reach Scald End Farm just outside Thurleigh, but very worth while. We were welcomed at the cafe by exceptionally cheery and efficient service and a few full breakfasts were ordered to say nothing of the bacon butties. The addition of cake was too much after that, but most of us managed.
Homeward bound then with bulging stomachs, but with the wind behind us, saw the peloton split in a number of places. Front runners were deservedly punished for going through a junction ahead of the leader by taking a wrong turning at Felmersham and had to be called back. One was too far ahead to hear and, no matter that attempts were made to phone him, he was never seen or heard from again. We hope you made it home John C, but if not and you’re still out there pedalling like mad, I can recommend a fine B and B in Glasgow which, at the speed you were going, you should have reached by now!
We had eaten too much for there to be any excuse to stop at Castle Ashby, so we did, and the coffee and cake was as fine as ever.
Back to base and we realised that we’d all averaged something over 14mph which, for a ‘steady ride’ was not at all bad. Couldn’t have been done without the cake.
Lovely ride Tim, thank you. Good quiet roads and a certain amount of new territory covered..

Ride to Keysoe – Sunday 30th April

Tim, our webmaster, will be leading this ride and writes:

Start: 9.30 a.m.
Meet: Nene Whitewater Canoe Centre, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7AA. (If coming by car, don’t park within the car park barrier.  There is plenty of space on the approach road.)
Distance: 56 miles
Speed: 12-14 m.p.h.
Refreshments: Scald End Farm, Thurleigh (at approx 30 miles)

From the Canoe Centre we head out in a generally eastwards direction through the villages of Cogenhoe, Grendon, Bozeat, Odell, Sharnbrook and Riseley en route to our most easterly point at Keysoe.  From here we turn south and west to our stop for refreshment at Scald End Farm, located just outside Thurleigh.  Here you can feast on the breakfast “fit for a king” or maybe one of the several cakes on offer.  There is also the benefit of a cosy wood burning stove to warm oneself by.

Once replete, we continue south westwards through Milton Earnest, Harrold and Lavendon before heading north & west on our final homeward leg via Yardley Hastings, Castle Ashby (where a second tea stop is eminently possible) and Cogenhoe Hill before arriving back at the Canoe Centre.

The route can be viewed (and downloaded as a gpx file) at: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/20043554

Any questions?  Please contact Tim on 07749 477231.

“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 review – Sunday 19th February

Phil J led this ride and writes:

Seven riders gathered at the start for this undulating ride to Naseby including new rider Peter B on his first group ride.

The first descent out of the blocks had a surprising headwind which seemed to be present on a few more of our subsequent drops.  Once through the eco village of Upton, St Crispin’s provided the first unlikely climb of the day as we settled into the ride.

We levelled off towards Harlestone before we all got into the small chainring and the slow grind up Church Brampton.

Sedgebrook Hall passed by during another long haul which split the group a bit and took us up to the Market Harborough road and the route to Pitsford.  A rapid descent on the busy road was then quickly followed by another testing rise to the entrance of Pitsford Water.

Through Brixworth the group went, when Phil L and I suddenly found ourselves on our own.  We’d turned left in full view of the rest of the group but they continued over. Head scratching ensued before the group appeared from another direction much to our relief and amusement.

The fast downhill on the Spratton road came next with Milton suggesting this could be one of the fastest downhills in the area.  We all took full advantage of the opportunity and headed for Spratton.  The bridge closure wasn’t on our route and we climbed uninterrupted through the village before regrouping at the top for a well earned breather and refuelling.

Over the Welford Road another opportunity to test the descending skills.  We dropped swiftly towards Teeton and as expected we soon started to climb as the road ramped up once more.

The journey to Guilsborough was perfect “active recovery” and we enjoyed the dry country roads and comfortable speeds.  The road to Cold Ashby seemed rather more caked in dried mud but it was pleasant nonetheless as we started to see the signs for Naseby.

With another couple of miles in our legs All Saints church at Naseby came into view.  We arrived at The Old Vicarage café just as some cyclists were leaving but they insisted they had left some cakes for us.

With renovations underway outside we were lead along the corridor to possibly the grandest venue we may have ever had refreshments in.  A large dining room with a table that was almost impossible to reach over due to its huge size and a chandelier over the centre.  We almost expected a butler to start serving us but various group members took that role upon themselves.  The service was equally splendid and the food exquisite.

The loop continued through the Cottesbrooke estate and probably the most hair raising descent of the day.  Plenty of gravel and uneven tarmac at the base making it a heart in mouth situation just before entering the village.  All safely down and the gated road to Brixworth lead us to the steep climb back into the centre and onto Pitsford once again.

Four of us were lured by a second stop at the Willow Tree Café whilst the remaining three continued home.

The rest of the ride back mirrored the ride out with another mix of testing ascending and fast descending.

This was a pretty difficult ride today with over 3000ft of climbing but all riders performed superbly.

Ride Report – Saturday 11th February

The plan for Saturday 11th February was to run both a brisk and a moderate ride to the Skylark Cafe in Staverton near Daventry.  Here’s how it went…

Six hardy riders were setting out to ride; Phil Letts rang in sick – and then there were five.
Five hardy riders at Hunsbury Library door; Brian had the wrong bike, and then there were four.
Four hardy riders started in the freeze; Milton wasn’t feeling brisk, and then there were three.
Three hardy riders made it through the snow; John raced off to see TV, and then there were two.
Chris and Philip found a jam(*); diverting on the Norbital, they easily made it home.
Philip went on one more loop, and then there was one.

A good morning out despite zero degrees, snow, rain and generally wintry conditions! Thanks to all for their company.

Philip (with apologies to “Anon”!)

(*) Tailback on A508 in Kingsthorpe…

Ride Report – Sunday 5th February

Milton went on this ride led by Tim and writes:

Seven of us braved a fairly dark and chilly morning to meet up at East Hunsbury for Tim’s 52-mile steady ride around Northampton.

The half-way point saw us getting stuck into cake and coffee and sausage rolls (possibly in that order) at the cafe in Brixworth Country Park having swept round the south and west of the county through Kislingbury, East Haddon and Spratton climbing what felt like most of the Northants cols on route.before Brixworth.

The second stage included Holcot and Earls Barton before crossing the river and climbing up the day’s last mountain to the peak at Castle Ashby where we stopped for more coffee and cake.  We had dropped Phil L off by this stage but picked up another, Elspeth, at the Castle so we were still seven and then we lost Geoff who was nearer home than he would be at any other time and so we were six.

We six nipped back towards East Hunsbury via Denton and Preston Deanery at which point three more of us set off homewards and the remaining three – well, who knows – I was safely tucked up at home with coffee and a well deserved couple of slices of cake.
I heard later that the final three made it back to the start point safely, so a good day out was had by all.  A well devised route with thanks to Tim!