Ride report – Sunday 3rd July

Our new – for July & August – start time of 9.00 a.m. saw 13 riders congregate in Moulton for a planned 64-mile round trip to Oundle.  The sky was cloudy but it was warm, it was dry and we had a slight tailwind for the outward leg. In fact, all looked well for a great day’s riding.

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Gathering outside Moulton Co-Op for the start

Did I mention there were 13 of us?

We hit potholes and had an off while we were still in Moulton! Very unpleasant for Colin!

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You might not see the pothole in the shade …

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… but it caused us grief!

We were rolling again after a few minutes, with Colin gamely opting to continue the ride, and ran to Harrowden without incident where the route was altered slightly to avoid the unmade surface of Furnace Lane, given that we’d already had problems and lot of riders were on 23s, but that did allow us to rendezvous with a fourteenth rider on The Slips near Irthlingborough and we had an problem-free run then all the way through to Oundle.

When we got there, it was packed.  The cafés were overflowing with cyclists and there were bikes parked four-deep in places.  Fortunately the Coffee Tavern had upstairs space for us and we managed to get ourselves fed and watered and ready for the next leg.  One of our number left us at this point to return directly home complaining that she hadn’t done enough mileage this year.  She doesn’t know what she missed.

If you’re the ride leader, it pays to keep an eye on the map to ensure that the ride goes where you said it would go.  Our ride leader – me – didn’t bother, having memorised the route the night before, and so the route didn’t exactly go where it was planned to!  In fact we added a few miles of tarmac between Oundle and East Carlton that weren’t in the original plan at all.  (Sorry!)  But it was good tarmac and people seemed to enjoy it so no harm done.  Might as well take advantage of the weather when we can, eh?

Also, since we were passing the bottom of Rockingham Hill, we allowed those up for the challenge the chance to tackle the climb.  I mean, it’s not like we get out there every week is it?  And we had a few fast riders who felt they wanted a go so why not?  In total, six tackled the climb, including Dave who was probably keen to try out the new bike on a proper hill.

East Carlton was again busy, though sadly not with cyclists, but we did get a couple of tables out in the sun, the clouds long since having disappeared.

The final leg saw us back from East Carlton by way of Harrington where the group finally split.  Some of the faster riders continued straight through back to Moulton, others dived in to the Tollemache Arms to refill water bottles and such like, but we all made it back to Moulton in one piece, some of us having clocked 74 miles, some 75 (it’s that hill at Rockingham).

All in all, a good day’s ride (Colin’s early mishap excepted) with decent pace (13+ mph even at the back of the group), plenty of new roads and views unfamiliar to us and I promise I’ll keep an eye on the map for the next ride I lead.

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An appropriate refreshment in the garden of the Artichoke in Moulton at the end of the ride!

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Three rides coming up: 27 June, 4 July & 12 July!

A reminder about three rides coming up:

1. Annual London Ride – Saturday 27th June

Time: 10.00 a.m. (The 0850 train from Northampton arrives at Euston at 0949)
Start: Euston Station (outside Caffe Nero at the Melton Street exit)
Distance: 28 miles
A sight-seeing ride, north and south of the river, with plenty of stops for refreshments and photographs. Some unusual sights guaranteed!
Finish: Back at Euston by 5.00 p.m. (but if booking a particular train home, allow for unforeseen delays).
Contact: Ian M on 01604 843894 or 07960 302095

2 Audax Event – The Reservoir Challenges – Saturday 4th July

Organised by Kettering CTC, starting and finishing at Oundle.
Options for 100km, 155km and 200km.
Registration and a fee of £5 is required in advance by post – see www.aukweb.net for entry forms and for .gpx files of the three routes.

3 Annual “Guy Barber” ride to St Neots – Sunday 12th July

Time: 9.15 a.m.
Start: The Canoe Centre (Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA)
Distance: 66miles (with the option of a shorter distance to Thurleigh)
This is an annual ride in memory of Guy Barber and a donation of £5 to the Headway Charity is requested on the day.  It is a “Bike Week” event advertised nationally and there is usually good support from Milton Keynes and Kettering CTC groups.
Contact: Brian on 01604 622073 or 07722 055149

Ride the Route of Stage 3 of the 2015 Women’s Tour of Britain – Sunday 7th June

Ride the Route of Stage 3 of the Women’s Tour of Britain with CTC Northampton on Sunday 7th June – starting at Oundle Market Square at 9.15 a.m.

The race route, which runs to the north of the County, is through some of the best countryside in Northamptonshire.  It is over mainly quiet and attractive country roads.  Our ride will be a slightly abridged version of the route.

This is a CTC Northampton club ride open to non-members and registered as a 2015 Bike Week event – http://bikeweek.org.uk/event/ride-stage-3-of-womens-tour/.  Entry is free.

The ride starts at Oundle and ends at Kettering.  The main ride will be 105 km (66miles), with optional self led variants of 115 km (72 miles) and 74 km (46 miles) towards the later parts of the route.  The main group will expect to average 20 kph (13mph).  There will be two stops along the way, at East Carlton Country Park (Coach House Café) and Kelmarsh (World Peace Café).  For further details or to register for the ride please contact secretary@ctc-northampton.org.uk.

Limited transport will be available at the end, from Kettering to Oundle, on a first come basis.  Kettering to Oundle is 25 km (16miles).

Some CTC members are planning to pedal back to Northampton either from Kelmarsh (after lunch) or from Brixworth (the nearest point on the route to Northampton) rather than continue to Kettering – and so, if you wanted to do this, you would have company.

Car parking in Oundle is free. The car park is next to the Joan Strong Centre, PE8 4BY.

Directions to car park:
From the A605 (avoiding the first turn at Barnwell which may have road works) take the A427 signed Oundle.  Pass Gorilla Cycles on left.  Take next left into East Road.  Pass Waitrose, go across next roundabout and continue on East Road.  Take next left just before another roundabout to the Joan Strong Centre (the Scout Hut on the left). The public car park is beyond the Centre on the left.  Beware height barrier if cycles on the roof.

Route from car park to Market Place:
Leave car park and return to East Road.  Turn left to roundabout and then right along East Rd.  At T-junction, turn right into St. Osyth’s Lane which leads to Market Place.  The Coffee Tavern café at 34 Market Place opens at 9 a.m.

The start of our 2014 Ride the Route event

The start of our 2014 Ride the Route event …

... and the finish

… and the finish

If you have space on a car to transport a rider and bike, or if you would like a lift to Oundle, please contact secretary@ctc-northampton.org.uk.  Contact details of riders wanting transport will be passed onto potential drivers offering lifts, with the onus on the driver offering the lift to make the first contact.

Our route for 7th June can be found on RideWithGPS.  A gpx file can be downloaded from this site by clicking on the “Export” tab at the top right).

If you wish to discus the event please ring Brian Tunbridge (CTC Northampton Rides Secretary) on 01604 622073.

We look forward to seeing you!

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

 

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!

 

 

Ride the Route! (Stage 1 of the Women’s Tour of Britain) – Sunday 4th May

You may have seen from our April / May programme that our ride on Sunday 4th May is a ride from Oundle to Northampton following the route of Stage 1 of The Women’s Tour.

Here are some details:
  • Meet by 8.00 a.m. at the Canoe Centre (NN4 7AA) with bikes.  If driving to this meeting point, then park in the approach road rather than in the Centre itself.
  • You and your bike will then be transported to Oundle.  You’ll be a passenger in a Landrover (courtesy of Iain D).  Your bike will be on a trailer (courtesy of Brian and the Scout Association).  You may want to bring, say, foam pipe lagging if you want to protect your bike.
  • We will park up in the car park behind the Joan Strong Centre off East Road, Oundle (PE8 4BZ)  [Oundle may be getting ready on the Saturday for its celebration of the Tour; I’ll be talking to someone from Oundle Town Council later this month; if car parking is restricted, we’ll park up outside the town and I’ll confirm this in an e-mail.]
  • We aim to start riding from Oundle at 9.30 a.m.
  • It will be a Sunday club ride rather than a sportive or étape.  We will have a couple of refreshment stops.  [Stops will be confirmed after riding a recce.]  We will go around, rather than through, the estates of Broughton Hall and Althorp Hall – unlike the women on race day!
  • We will finish at the Guildhall, Northampton.
  • The distance is approximately 60 miles.  An map outline of the route is here.
We will have room in Iain’s Landrover for seven riders including Iain himself.  Booking is therefore important.  Please confirm that you want to take part by e-mailing chairman@ctc-northampton.org.
When the seven places in Iain’s Landrover have been booked, I’ll make suggestions for the co-ordination of other riders.  (I’m driving back to Oundle after the ride, for example, in order to re-unite Iain D with his Landrover and the trailer.)  I’ll give priority in booking a place in the Landrover to CTC members.

Venues for The 2014 Women’s Tour announced

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Oundle in Northamptonshire will host the start of the opening stage of The Women’s Tour, which will also visit Hinckley and Bedford on day two of the new international race.

The news follows the recent confirmation that Northamptonshire would host Stage One of The Women’s Tour next May. Stage Two of The Women’s Tour will head from Hinckley to Bedford, passing through Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire.

Full details here.