David comes up with another account of a ride from thirty-six years ago!
Milton went on this ride led by Tim and writes:
Seven of us set off from Moulton on a cold, (3-4 degrees) but dry and fairly wind free morning. We were a little late as Ian Mac, not riding on this particular day, but resplendent as ever on his titanium steed, had popped across to wish us bon voyage.
Through Sywell and on to Little Harrowden we took the the lovely ‘Slips’ route to Finedon the edges of which we skirted, then up through Burton Latimer on to Orlingbury then to Broughton, to Loddington, a lovely route through Braybrooke, and eventually to the edges of Market Harborough when we finally found ourselves, in the middle of a storm of sleet, at our coffee stop at Waterloo Farm. Cold and tired after 35 miles non-stop we entered the warm welcoming building and found all tables pre-booked for ‘Mother’s Day’ lunches, but we were welcome to sit outside and they’d do some bacon sandwiches for us.
Oddly enough, the sun came out, the sandwiches and cakes appeared quickly and we rather enjoyed the stop. They couldn’t serve us indoors but did their best to tend to us with great efficiency outside.
Back on the bikes to as direct a trip home as possible via Kelmarsh, Lamport and Walgrave. Tired legs meant the group split a little on the homeward leg, but we all met up at Moulton before wending our ways home.
In all, some 52 miles, 2,700 feet of climbing and the first lot home managed to average 14.8 mph, which wasn’t bad going.
A fine trip with lots of little known rural tracks which are always a treat, although the coffee stop was much needed when it finally arrived.
Thanks to Iain D for devising the route and for Tim who led it in Iain’s absence.
Iain D, our Chairman, led this ride and writes:
By 9.30 a.m. on Sunday, a group of eight cyclists had assembled by Moulton Co-Op. I say “by 9.30” as everyone had turned out early. Whether that was down to the allure of a day’s ride in unseasonably warm temperatures or just due to the strong wind blowing up from town, I don’t know.
We had that wind at our backs as we headed away from Moulton towards Sywell, through Earls Barton and down over the Hardwater crossing of the Nene. The road from Wollaston to Irchester provided a bit of a challenge for the lighter riders as we’d shifted round so that the wind was now coming from the side. In gusts. Straight lines were not the order of the day.
But we survived and Geoff, temporarily taking the lead, guided us through Higham Ferrers and out along the newly-surfaced Greenway over the Nene. We paused to ponder Irthlingborough’s lantern church, so far inland, and that, plus the wind and the marshy nature of the flood plain, did prompt one rider to comment on the “coastal” nature of the ride. We have it all here in Northamptonshire, folks!
The climb away from Irthlingborough was painless, the wind having reverted to being our friend, and we made very good time to Woodford Mill for brunch. The Nene was running a bit high and throwing the odd bit of spray our way but it was still pleasant to be sitting out in the garden in the February sun. And the jacket potatoes were excellent.
Now, with ineluctable logic, s/he who rides with the wind must also ride against it at some point and so we left the lee of Woodford Mill, turned our collective face to the wind and set off back to Moulton, heading first past Cranford and then over the A14 to the sheltering urban landscape of Burton Latimer. From there to Holcot was pretty much unsheltered plain old-fashioned hard work I’m afraid. In fact, by the time we got to Orlingbury we had split into two groups as we took turns trying to hide behind each other. Still, we weren’t riding against the clock: we were on a Sunday Club ride, not a Saturday Brisk, and we had plenty of time in hand after our rapid earlier progress.
I’m pleased to say that we all made it back to Moulton – apart from Geoff who’d turned for home, as planned, at Burton Latimer – and in reasonable time too. Wind aside, the weather had been kind – warm, dry and bright for February.
Thanks to Brian for doing a sterling job as TEC in testing conditions!
Phil J went on this ride, led by Ian M, and writes:
A colourful plethora of cyclists gathered at the Canoe Centre on this unusually warm and sunny start to November for the ride to Ringstead. They included new boys Vic and James, as well as Northants visitor Jeanette. Ten of us set off on the busy A428 before the welcoming turn to Little Houghton and the less than welcoming climb into it. At that point our leader Ian advised that we should split into two groups of five to avoid any issues with cars and we duly obliged.
The downhill at Cogenhoe shortly afterwards provided an early blast of speed for the two groups and we blazed down gratefully giving us plenty of momentum towards Grendon before an early check on numbers at the roadside. The route down to Bozeat was swift and the ride paused there briefly for a simple mechanical on Jeanette’s bike. And, after a quick check of one or two maps, we were on our way again.
The weather was simply fantastic as we pressed on towards Podington, all of us amazed at how lucky we were to be riding in such glorious sunshine at this time of the year. Hinwick Hall looked majestic as we skirted around it. The road ramped up a little towards Wymington and the terrain opened up at the same time to reveal wonderful scenery as far as the eye could see. Riders changed groups, layers came off but all made good time regardless.
Towards Chelveston and beyond, the traffic levels increased meaning more splitting of the large group to accommodate the drivers going our way. Without incident we navigated our way out of the urban sprawl that is Raunds and onto quieter roads with the mill on the horizon.
Our chair, Iain D, was already soaking up the sun in a vibrant location overlooking the marina and we duly joined him. Two tables were required for our thirsty peleton. The service was great and we all enjoyed our time there before heading back home.
Out of the mill a short sharp rise was waiting with hardly anybody in the right gear! Cue frantic grinding of gears to get us up and over. The reward at the summit was another reminder of the great weather and the spectacular colours of autumn.
Great Addington was the first village en route before meandering our way round to Cranford and eventually over the A14 as we made our way towards the streets of Burton Latimer and the Weetabix plant nearby. Isham and Orlingbury passed quickly before the long and winding road towards Sywell beckoned. Once again keeping your distance from the riders up ahead was the order of the day and this continued through Overstone as well.
At Moulton Co-op some the group said their goodbyes with it seemed just three of us heading for the finish. We passed busy parks, residential areas and cyclepaths but we arrived at the Canoe Centre without incident before three more riders joined us having taken a slightly different route back.
A quite tactical ride for everyone today due to the numbers but a better ride at this time of year would be difficult to find!
Stunning scenery and wonderful weather with a great cafe stop to boot!
Thanks to Ian M for the ride!
Milton, our Secretary, led this ride – originally planned by Brian, our Rides Secretary – and writes:
Five of us set off on a hot sunny afternoon on a loop from Moulton through Sywell, Mears Ashby and on to Great Harrowden, Orlingbury, Old and Scaldwell before stopping at Brixworth for coffee and cake. We closed the loop and returned to Moulton by skirting the reservoir and shredded one of our tyres in the process – sorry Tim! That section of path is getting a little too rough for “racing” tyres.
Lovely afternoon on the bike and good to have a new rider on the trip with us – see you next time Jim!