Ride to Naseby – Sunday 3rd April

Phil J is leading this ride and writes:

Start: 9.30 a.m.
Start point: East Hunsbury (Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ)
Distance: 45 miles
Two refreshment stops

From East Hunsbury we’ll head towards the urban areas of Upton and St Crispin’s before winding our way through Harlestone and the Bramptons.  With one or two climbs behind us, we’ll soon arrive at Brixworth Country Park for our first well-earned pit stop at the Willow Tree Café with the Pitsford Cycles Shop.

On the move again, the fast descent at the back of Brixworth is then followed by the long haul up to Spratton.  Guilsborough and Cold Ashby follow soon afterwards, on quiet country lanes.  All Saints Church at Naseby will then be on the horizon where we’ll stop either at the cafe or use the convenience store nearby.  Please bring your own snacks just in case we miss both!  (Another stop back at Brixworth is an option as we return.)

The loop continues through Haselbech and the Cottesbrooke estate before climbing back into Brixworth again.  From there we’ll pretty much retrace our steps back to Harlestone before turning for a short stretch along the Roman Road.  Another fast descent through Harpole brings us to Pineham with its wide cycle paths over to Hunsbury Meadows leaving us with just a mile or so back to the start.

It’s a bit of a climber this one. Last time out Brian rode with me and clocked it at around 3000ft of climbing. But with pit stops along the way, you should be able to fuel yourself round without too many problems.

Hope to see you there!

Phil is on 07927 377191.

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Ride report – Saturday 8th August

Phil J led this Saturday “brisk” ride and writes:

A glorious and cloudless sunny morning was the reward for the six riders who set off from East Hunsbury to Pitsford Water near Brixworth, including first timer Liam and occasional CTC rider Giles.

First, we descended into the valley at a fast pace setting the agenda for the rest of the
ride.  Skirting Hunsbury Meadows we headed for Rothersthorpe and a couple of early inclines to raise the heartbeats of the group.  Cruising towards Kislingbury got the riders warmed up in the wonderful morning sun before making our way towards Harpole on the safe cycle path alongside the main A4500 road.  The short sharp climb out of Harpole provided the first real test of the day but everyone climbed admirably.  A short run along the Roman road at the top led to another off road stretch on the near perfect cycle paths towards Harlestone before taking the road option again past the garden centre.  Another fast descent beckoned past the Fox & Hounds on the smooth tarmac giving us momentum up the other side and the turn towards the Bramptons.  More fast descending and climbing followed towards The Windhover and eventually up to the main Market Harborough road ahead.  Two more fast downhills and long climbs lay ahead before the arrival into Pitsford and we were all grateful to see the signs up ahead.

Eleanor had already secured a table for us all and we joined her for refreshments in the open air.  After a very pleasant stop, five of us headed back whilst Eleanor and Brian made their own way home.  The first downhill out of Pitsford was accompanied by a sudden headwind, coming out of nowhere, making the subsequent climb that little bit harder to make.  The second dip was avoided though as we turned right towards Brampton Halt where new boy Liam took the helm with a turn of pace to the Northampton Road junction.  At this point Phil L branched off leaving a team of four to continue.  The road went upwards again before the rewarding dash down through Church Brampton and back past the Fox & Hounds for a second time.  Upper Harlestone was next en route which looked picturesque in the morning sunshine.  We meandered our way through the village and onto the Roman road again where a headwind hit us immediately, just as if the gods had seen us coming!  We moved swiftly though and were soon turning for the exhilarating downhill into Harpole which would be the last on the ride and one to enjoy.  Pineham provided more smooth off road riding over to Hunsbury Meadows.  The final climb to the finish went up Hunslet Lane for a change, a shorter sharper rise than the usual route we normally take and caught some of the group by surprise.  A quick dip before another rise completed the climbing and the morning’s ride.

Well done everyone!

Ride Report – Sunday 17th May

Phil J led this ride and writes:

A sunny but windy day greeted the seven riders at East Hunsbury for this second club ride to Draycote Water this year. They included new boys Norman and Geoff as well as recent newcomer Tim.

Assembling at the start in East Hunsbury

Assembling at the start in East Hunsbury

Once over the cycle paths at Pineham, which allowed everyone to warm up, we hit the road proper at Harpole culminating in the short sharp climb onto the Roman Road. The next few miles around Harlestone allowed all the riders to recover before the long haul up to the top of Brington Hill where we saw other cyclists reaching the top just ahead of us.

The journey through the village of Whilton was pleasant and the fast decent into Whilton Locks even better although we did seem to have no choice but to pedal downhill due to the force of the wind. The sun seemed to have long gone at this point too.

The gated roads from Norton beckoned and apart from the first corner of gravel posed no problems for the group and were virtually traffic-free. We pressed on towards Welton at a steady pace and onto Barby before an impromptu stop outside Barby Nurseries for everyone to take on whatever fuels they needed.

On the move again we soon hit decent road conditions over the border into Warwickshire and another long haul towards the main road into town. Cycle paths provided much welcome protection from the busy road into Dunchurch before the last mile or two on the A426 into Draycote Water.

All but one of us chose the much talked about Draycote scones – some riders even suggesting they could eat two! At this point Geoff decided that he would make his own way back home and so the six of us set off on the return journey.

View of bikes, dam and reservoir from Draycote Water café

View of bikes, dam and reservoir from Draycote Water café

The lane through Grandborough was welcomed by the group as new tarmac seemed to have been laid for a good couple of miles. Willoughby was then next en route where we slowed to admire some fantastic classic cars assembled by the side of the road. We cruised through Braunston before re-joining the route we had come in on just outside Welton.

The gated roads on the way back provided one of the biggest climbs of the day with a two-tier climb before eventually reaching Norton again. A byway was the next part of the ride and proved interesting in a number of ways. Two fast descents with plenty of gravel at the base of each provided a hair raising experience for us but we all escaped unscathed. The surface then became more off road than road as we slewed and slid our way out the other side and again nobody came unstuck.

Back on solid ground we skirted around Brockhall and onto Flore with another climb or two to keep things interesting. The pace then gathered somewhat through Nether Heyford and Bugbrooke but everyone regrouped towards Rothersthorpe for the final push home. With nobody opting to go their own way all six riders returned to the start but not before climbing “Mount Tesco” – a great achievement with almost 60 miles in our legs.

Great riding everyone!

Ride report – Sunday 18th January

Phil J led this ride to Draycote Water and writes:

Just three riders decided to brave the biting cold on this day ride to Draycote Water which looked promising initially as the sun was shining early on.  We plummeted down into the valley and the temperatures followed as the sun went behind gloomy skies.

We spun across Pineham’s smooth cycle paths, aware of the ground frost on the excellent surfaces.  Harpole presented the first real road riding culminating in a heart thumping climb out of the village and onto the Roman road.

We levelled off for a while through Harlestone and the Firs before a combination of climbing and fast descending around Althorp.

Heading towards Whilton we toyed with the idea of having an impromptu café stop at Whilton Locks just to warm us up in the difficult conditions but we decided to stick to the plan and head for Barby instead.  The gated roads at Norton posed no problems and were traffic-free as we looked forward to the comfort of the cafe at The Willows.

Once inside the options were given to carry on riding or return home. Phil L who had been struggling with the cold, sensibly decided to return home.  Dave and I decided to continue on to Draycote.

On leaving the cafe the sun came out lifting the mood of the group as did the “4 miles to Dunchurch” sign shortly after.  Crossing the border into Warwickshire we were greeted with freshly laid tarmac which helped our progress towards the reservoir.  At the A426 we used the designated cycle paths to keep us safe with hardly anybody else using them.

The main road through Dunchurch seemed easy as was the last mile or two into Draycote Water using the busy A426.

We were greeted with a busy reservoir and had to wait to be seated at the restaurant.  So we opted for bracing balcony seating giving us a table straight away.

Ride leader!

Ride leader!

Hot soup and tea warmed us up as well as eating the biggest jam and cream scones we had ever seen.

Ride.  Eat cake.  Sleep.  Repeat.

Ride. Eat cake. Sleep. Repeat.

Suitably refuelled we retraced our steps back towards the town and the route back to Barby.  On the way the inevitable happened.  I hit a patch of ice and briefly slewed before righting myself again without falling.  A close call.

With the sun still shining the route back seemed better but it was still very cold and difficult to feel any benefit.

We continued past Whilton Locks to the last real climb of the day to the top of the Roman road and we both climbed admirably.

At Harpole Dave continued on to Duston whilst I followed the same route back over Pineham and Hunsbury Meadows, calling it a day there and cleverly avoiding the need to climb “Mount Tesco” back to the official start.

This was a tough challenge today due to the cold conditions but we did superbly whatever our distance.

Well done!