Sunday 3rd September – Naseby Figure-of-8

Meeting point: Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / A5099 crossing – near the Windhover.  There is a BVW car park a little way up Brampton Lane.
Meeting time: 9.30 a.m.
Distance: 40 miles
Speed: Tourist speed – with time to stop and stare!
Refreshments: Elevenses, if required, at Kelmarsh Buddhist Centre (18 miles).  Main stop at Naseby Vicarage where we are booked in at 12.30 p.m. / 1.00 p.m. (28 miles)

This Sunday’s ride is a little different in that we will be visiting well-known places but pausing from time to time and trying to appreciate them as if we were seeing them for the first time.
From BVW we will ride via the Harlestones (viewing the Dovecot), Althorp (gazing at the House over the ha-ha), Great Brington (contemplating dead Spencers), East Haddon (the old water pump), Holdenby (considering the fate of kings), Cottesbrooke (the wealth of turkeys) and possibly stopping at Kelmarsh (as described by James in the last ride report).
Then a tour of Clipston, Sibbertoft and Naseby takes us around the viewpoints of the Battle of 1645 before arriving at the Vicarage where we have booked the large and grand table for lunch.
On the return, which is only twelve more miles, we shall inspect “probably the most impressive seventh-century building north of the Alps” at Brixworth before emerging from the country park at Pitsford and returning to our start point via Chapel Brampton.
We should be back by 2.30 p.m.
The reason for this ride’s different pace and approach is that we will have a visitor from Aachen in Germany with us.  Back in 2013, Philip G organised a twinning visit there for CTC Northampton members where we were hosted by ADFC Aachen members.  (The ADFC is the German equivalent of the CTC.)  Eight of us went – and Alex and I were hosted by Sabine Neitzel.  Alex and I stayed with Sabine again last year and now she is visiting Northampton for a long weekend.
Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!
Ian
Questions? 07960 302095
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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.

Morning rides to Kelmarsh – Saturday 10th December

Two rides – one brisk, one moderate – starting at the same place & time, meeting for elevenses and finishing at the same place & time.
Start
9.30 a.m.
Meeting point:  Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road Crossing (NN6 8AA – near The Windhover).  There is parking  in the BVW car park further up Brampton Lane.
Distance: 38 miles (brisk) or 32 miles (moderate)
Refreshments: World Peace Café, Kelmarsh
Return by 1.00 p.m.

James has organised the rides and will be leading the brisk one.  He writes:

Saturday’s brisk ride sees us flying through some familiar, albeit occasionally challenging, territory towards the World Peace Café at Kelmarsh Buddhist Centre, where our efforts will be rewarded with fine coffee, good karma and cake.  From our starting point we’ll head out in the direction of Holdenby before diverting towards Teeton and then crossing the Welford Road at Spratton.

As the more spiritually-minded among us already know, the Buddha made “Life is Suffering” his First Noble Truth, and it’s a statement we’ll all have plenty of time to reflect on as we leave Spratton and confront the arduous climb into Brixworth.  From there it’s full steam ahead through to Kelmarsh via Haselbech (another testing one, I’m afraid), Naseby and Clipston.  The return journey is less demanding – discounting the uphill bit at Harrington – heading back, as it does, through Lamport, Scaldwell and Holcot. The last stage diverts out through Pitsford towards Chapel Brampton before we finally reach our nirvana, a.k.a the Brampton Valley Way car park.

The tempo will be brutal (!) but, fear not, Sir Ian Macsporran will be leading out a moderately paced group for anyone wishing to take things more gently.  The weather promises to be a lot milder than it has been over the past few days and rain isn’t forecast until the afternoon, by which time we’ll all be home and dry – so, no excuses…
More information from James on 07841 933046 or Ian on 07960 302095.

A ride not to be missed.

Brisk route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17767762 – 38 miles; 2,100 feet of climbing
Moderate route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17768228 – 32 miles; 1,640 feet of climbing

Ride Report – Sunday 29th November

Brian, our Secretary, went on the “Double Pit-Stop” ride led by Phil J and writes:

Despite early morning rain, four riders started in the dry from East Hunsbury.  The first pit-stop was coffee at Pitsford Reservoir and we had a good tail wind most of the way, via Upton (mainly on cycle paths), Harlestone, Chapel Brampton to Brixworth.  A strong cross wind on the A508 really had us hanging on the bars and it was a relief to get to the café. The welcome break was followed by a return to Brixworth.  Phil L left us here to return to domestic duties.  At Teeton Dave departed for home.  The sky was very overcast and looked as if it could drop a lot of rain at any time.  However, we had no rain at all and the temperature was mild for the time of year.  Our only challenge was the wind and a few hills as we then made our way (now down to two riders) via Guilsborough, Cold Ashby to Naseby – our half way point.

We were tempted to stop here for a break at the vicarage café when we found the village shop had closed at noon, just 10 minutes before we arrived.  But, with the wind howling in the trees, we decided to eat our emergency rations instead and head on via Haselbech to Cottesbrooke and then on to Brixworth for a third time. Unsurprisingly we encountered hardly any traffic.

Deciding against a second pit-stop by the reservoir we returned along a busy A508 before turning off to the Bramptons and Harlestone.  Phil and I split up at Sixfields, to get home in good light and before the heavy rain came later that afternoon.

It was quite a hilly ride but the key feature was the very strong wind.  Because of the changes in our direction we had a real mixed bag of head- tail- and cross-winds all day, none lasting for many miles before it changed again.

It was a good winter route on quiet lanes which were never that far from Northampton so that if the weather had broken we could easily have
headed for home.  Thanks to Phil for a good ride!

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 3rd May

Phil L led this ride and writes:

I think we feared the worst as five of us assembled at the start of the Brampton Valley Way for the start of today’s 50-miler … because the rain came down and didn’t stop for the first hour and a half!  And, OK, this was “billed” as the “Four Reservoirs” ride – but they were supposed to be in view on the horizon, not streaming around our bikes!  Was that set in for the day?

Anyhow, by the time we’d had a welcome coffee at Guilsborough, the skies cleared somewhat and we started to dry off.  So we ticked off Pitsford, Hollowell and Ravensthorpe reservoirs before stopping for brunch at Daventry Country Park and its reservoir.

But the climate still had a short, sharp shower up its sleeve as we headed into Brington!

It was an enjoyable ride – good to see folks again!

Leisure ride report – Saturday 10th January

Nick went on this ride, led by Milton (our Secretary), and writes:

Six cyclists converged at the meeting point, Moulton Co-op, having all received their first soaking of the day (second if they had taken a shower before leaving home).  Not the greatest of starts to a leisure ride but everyone was in good spirits and looking forward to the “lumps” (as Milton described them) that lay ahead.  Wind was another feature of this ride, the meteorological kind, that is.  Scotland had taken a huge battering overnight.  The Midlands faired better but it nevertheless proved challenging when passing holes in the hedge on the first section to Holcot.  It was not long before we took a break, about three quarters of a mile actually, when Giles suffered a flat rear [tyre] which necessitated a delay to the half of the group who stayed to help.  Quickly fixed and that ever present lesson “cheap tyre levers are a worthless investment” learned, we shot off in pursuit of our leader and the two Brians, one of whom was making his CTC ride debut.  Hope we see you again soon, Brian!

Turning west at Holcot it became apparent that the wind really was the dominant factor in the day’s weather.  Having to pedal downhill always feels so wrong but today was necessary in order to maintain sufficient forward motion to stay upright.  The climb up to Brixworth proved a real leg tester.  In the village we rejoined Milton who had kindly waited, and coincidently found the time to down a coffee and a sausage roll.  Chapeau!

Across to Spratton and then Teeton where we rejoined the two Brians.  The weather was slowly becoming brighter with spells of sunshine and the occasional rainbow.  Turning south at Teeton the going whilst still lumpy became a little easier.  It was not long before we arrived at the Stables Coffee Shop in Church Brampton where we were joined by John, who not fancying the ride had travelled by car.  Why have I never thought of doing that?
After refuelling we departed back towards Moulton via Pitsford, an easterly direction that ensured that we were wind assisted all the way back.

It was pretty tough going for a leisure ride, but nevertheless thoroughly enjoyable.
Thanks to Milton for planning and leading the ride!