Ride Report – Saturday 9th December

Milton led this pair of rides on Saturday morning.  (He also checked out the first few miles of the routes earlier in the morning because it had been particularly cold overnight – dedication!)  He writes:

The weather promised cold and ice and slippy roads and offered, in the end, only a bit of a chill.  The roads were free of frost and ice and mostly dry and the sun shone almost all the time.  It was on the cool side, but only the wimps stayed at home  ….  that means most of you of course!

Six of us met up at the Canoe Centre and three of the six were new to us and one of the remainder was a rare(ish) visitor, Geoff (surely we stop for coffee every 5 miles) which left only Giles and myself from the usual club riff raff.

Giles and John C took the 38-mile brisk option and from Salcey headed west to Hartwell before taking the road to Castlethorpe, Haversham and Litttle Linford and then turning north to reach Olney arriving about 10 minutes after the 31-mile moderate group who had got there via Stoke Goldington, Ravenstone and Weston Underwood.  Fine scones and maple-syruped pancakes were enjoyed alongside scrambled egg with smoked salmon and toasted teacakes before a quick visit to the adjacent bike shop – Pedalz – where Nigel G nearly cracked and bought a bike, and we were off home via Yardley Hastings, Castle Ashby and Cogenhoe.

Good cycling, good weather, good food and excellent company meant yet another Saturday morning well spent.

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Morning rides to Olney – Saturday 9th December

Milton is leading Saturday morning’s rides – two groups (brisk and moderate) – and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Canoe Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA.  (The Canoe Centre will probably be open all day on Saturday but, if it’s not, your car will get trapped behind the car park barriers.  Better to park just outside where there is lots of space!)
Distance: Brisk 38 miles / Moderate 31 miles
Refreshments: Courtyard Brasserie, Olney (23 miles / 16 miles)
Return by: 1.00 p.m. – 1.30 p.m.

The difference in length for the two groups is all on the outward journey to Olney.  At about twenty-three miles for the brisk group and sixteen for the moderate group, the opportunity for a perfectly synchronised meeting at the Courtyard Brasserie depends on the Brisks showing some real pace.

Both groups set off up the hill through Great Houghton, Preston Deanery and Quinton before passing the Salcey Café.  Whilst the Brisks turn right into Hartwell and on through Hanslope, Castlethorpe and Haversham, the Moderates continue through the forest and on to Stoke Goldington before turning up through Ravenstone and Weston Underwood to Olney.  Meantime the Brisks (hopelessly knackered by now)  are heading through Little Linford, Tyringham and Filgrave before getting to Olney via the A509.  (Oh stop moaning, it’s only a mile downhill and there’s a perfectly good cyclepath for most of the way!).

After coffee and whatever together, it’s an attractive return through Yardley Hastings, Castle Ashby, Cogenhoe and Little Houghton to the Canoe Centre. We ought to make it back for lunchish  –  say between 1.00 p.m. and 1.30 p.m.

It’ll be a lovely warm, dry, sunny day with little breeze (don’t fact-check that!) and I look forward to your company.

Questions?  Milton is on 07845 967537.

BRISK ride to Harrold – Saturday 24th June

Tim is leading this ride and writes:

Start: 9.30 am, Saturday 24th June
Meeting point: East Hunsbury Library, Overslade Close, NN4 0RZ
Distance:  40 miles
Anticipated Speed: 14-16 mph
Refreshments: Castle Ashby

This Saturday’s ride starts at 9:30am from East Hunsbury Library. The led ride (ride leader Tim) will be at a brisk pace, but there is also the option for a shorter self-led alternative (see below).

The ride heads out in the direction of Salcey Forest & Stoke Goldington before turning north east to skirt Olney en route to Lavendon & Harrold. Here we head up Dungee Hill before turning back towards Northampton passing through the villages of Bozeat and Easton Maudit before arriving at our refreshment stop at The Buttery Tea Rooms at Castle Ashby (at approx 29 miles).

Post refreshment we have a shortish ride (approx 11 miles) back to the start at East Hunsbury Library via the villages of Horton & Hackleton. It is anticipated that we should be back at East Hunsbury sometime around 1:30pm.

Please note that there is a possible short cut from Olney to Castle Ashby that avoids the loop to Harrold. This shortens the overall route to approx 32 miles with the Castle Ashby tea stop at approx 21 miles. If you intend to ride this shorter route please ensure you are happy to self navigate, so you will either need to bring a map of the route with you or load the route on to your bike computer. Unfortunately, due to holiday absences, we do not have a ride leader available to lead you round this shorter alternative.

The proposed route and the shorter self-led option can be viewed (and downloaded as gpx files) from the CTC Northampton pages on RideWithGPS:

Led ride (40 miles): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/20043458

Self- led alternative (32 miles): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/20043453

Any questions, please contact Tim – 07749 477231.

Ride report – Saturday 16th July

Brian went on this ride led by Iain D and writes:

A select group of four riders left Moulton at 9.00 a.m. on an overcast but warm and humid morning for a full day’s ride.  Soon after Sywell we met rolling hills through Mears Ashby, Castle Ashby and on to Olney, on relatively quiet roads.   Here we stopped for coffee and sat outside in the café courtyard enjoying toasted tea cakes as the sun came out.  Showing just how small the world is Anne and Ken discovered that they had both grown up in the same area of Lancashire.  The hills of Northamptonshire apparently have nothing on those in the north west!!  This was to be well tested later in the ride.

From Olney we headed north-east to Turvey and on to Carlton where we did a loop to Odell, Sharnbrook and through the picturesque village of Bletsoe before we turned back though Milton Ernest and more quiet roads.  We returned to the Emmaus Centre at Carlton for lunch at 1.00 p.m.  The weather was now warming up with blue skies and highs of 23C.  We were ready for a break.

After a very convivial lunch we headed up to Poddington and Wollaston before dropping into the Nene valley at Great Doddington.  From here it was all uphill via Wilby to Sywell which was the highest point on the ride, not that it was an obvious summit finish.

We arrived in Moulton at 3.45 p.m. after a pleasant day in the saddle.  Ideal cycling weather, summer at last!  Thanks to Iain for devising and leading the ride.

Ride report – Boxing Day

James went on this ride led by Milton and writes:

Six of us left the Canoe Centre on a very quiet, heavily overcast Boxing Day morning. Heading out through Little Houghton, our post-Christmas levels of fitness were quickly tested by the climbs into Cogenhoe and Castle Ashby.  Moreover, any lingering hopes of this being a gentle ‘recovery’ jaunt were soon put out of our heads by the strong headwind that accompanied us as we continued on towards Yardley Hastings and crossed the A428.

It was on the B5388 into Olney – the next stage of our ride – that the blustery conditions were at their worst, and there were a couple of occasions when bike control became a little tricky.  Mercifully, things eased up once we left the main road and returned to the near deserted country lanes that took us on through Weston Underwood, Ravenstone and Stoke Goldington.

Given that a few of us were feeling a little fragile as a result of the previous day’s excesses it was with relief that our next stop was Salcey Forest Café, where strong coffee and cake provided temporary rejuvenation.  It was also good to see the presence of so many other cyclists – both solo and with local clubs – at the café who, like us, had obviously decided that getting out on their bikes was preferable to another day of over indulgence.

The return journey was in complete contrast to the outward ride both in terms of effort and weather.  Not only did we have a tailwind blowing us through Quinton, Preston Deanery and Great Houghton, but the sun also made a brief appearance!  Arriving back at the Canoe Centre, we said our farewells and looked forward to doing the same thing on Boxing Day 2016!!

Ride report – Sunday 6th December

James went on this ride led by Ian and writes:

Eight of us left the Canoe Centre on a blustery but rain-free Sunday morning to cycle south in the direction of Cranfield and our designated coffee stop, the Bike Bus.  After heading out of Brackmills on the A428, our legs and lungs were soon tested by the climb through Great Houghton, an ascent made all the more arduous by the strength of the wind that turned out to be a constant, yet unwelcome companion.

The main section of our outward journey was spent on the undulating B526. Passing through an assortment of pleasant villages such as Stoke Goldington and Gayhurst, we eventually turned on to the Sherington Road heading towards North Crawley.  This latter stage was enlivened by two things.  Firstly, the prospect of knowing we were soon to stop for coffee.  And, secondly, the sight of numerous sweaty runners wearing tormented expressions as they wheezed their way through the eight mile point of the Bedford Harriers’ Half Marathon …

We could tell when we were close to our resting point because of the increased presence of light aircraft preparing to descend into Cranfield Airport.  Nonetheless, this and the fact that our coffee stop was a big red double-decker bus didn’t prevent us cycling straight past it.  Fortunately, the error was quickly noticed, and it wasn’t long before we were sitting on the top deck fortifying ourselves with strong coffee, bacon rolls and the obligatory slices of artery clogging cake.

Bike Bus Loyalty Card

Bike Bus Loyalty Card – front & reverse

Reinvigorated, we got back in our saddles and started the return trip to Northampton via Newton Blossomville, Emberton and Olney.  Again, the route was pleasantly undulating, but the wind gusty.  On the plus side, the clouds started to give way to the occasional glimpse of blue and the sun made a few guest appearances.  The temptation to take a second coffee break at Olney was quickly voted down when we saw how crowded the town was.  The usual Sunday afternoon antique collectors being supplemented by families out to enjoy the annual Christmas Fair.

Given the crowds, it was unsurprising that the road out of Olney was busy, and it was with some relief that after crossing the A428 at Yardley Hastings we were soon back on some quieter stretches that took us through Castle Ashby and on towards the ‘Col de Cogenhoe’.  Whilst short, the climb itself is very steep and our efforts clearly weren’t helped by the conditions.  It was whilst in Cogenhoe – after regrouping and rediscovering how to breathe – that some of us said our farewells and cycled off in various homeward bound directions.  The remainder carried on, via Little Houghton, back to our starting point at the Canoe Centre.  Overall, a very enjoyable ride made all the more fun by the discovery of such a unique coffee stop!

Ride Report – Saturday 21st November

Phil L led this ride and writes:

I must admit, looking out of the window early this morning with the wind blowing hard and sleeting buckets, it didn’t look promising for a brisk ride. But, “When the going gets tough, the tough etc.,etc., …. !”

So four of us turned out and “Dares yuh!”  And, amazingly, had a good ride ‘cos by mid morning the sun was out and, whisked along by a fierce following wind, we shot to Olney pretty quickly.  But then WHEN we turned into the wind….ouch!  That was a hard slog to Castle Ashby and coffee stop.

But hey, we got 35 pretty brisk miles in and enjoyed it!