Seven of us braved a fairly dark and chilly morning to meet up at East Hunsbury for Tim’s 52-mile steady ride around Northampton.
The half-way point saw us getting stuck into cake and coffee and sausage rolls (possibly in that order) at the cafe in Brixworth Country Park having swept round the south and west of the county through Kislingbury, East Haddon and Spratton climbing what felt like most of the Northants cols on route.before Brixworth.
The second stage included Holcot and Earls Barton before crossing the river and climbing up the day’s last mountain to the peak at Castle Ashby where we stopped for more coffee and cake. We had dropped Phil L off by this stage but picked up another, Elspeth, at the Castle so we were still seven and then we lost Geoff who was nearer home than he would be at any other time and so we were six.
We six nipped back towards East Hunsbury via Denton and Preston Deanery at which point three more of us set off homewards and the remaining three – well, who knows – I was safely tucked up at home with coffee and a well deserved couple of slices of cake.
I heard later that the final three made it back to the start point safely, so a good day out was had by all. A well devised route with thanks to Tim!
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!!
Following all the dire weather forecasts emanating from the Met Office for “continuous heavy rain from 5.00 a.m. onwards” I had my doubts that this morning’s planned brisk ride would even start. By 8.30 a.m., however, it was still dry and seemed promising so I met the other three wanting to ride at the Brampton Valley Way start point. And then it started raining! Later than predicted but enough to make it a bit of a wet start.
But we got a good brisk pace going despite a fairly tough headwind and soon took in Flore, Nether Heyford, Stoke Bruerne, Ashton and Hartwell before it started to abate. We called in at Salcey for a coffee and quick “steam”!
Our usual return loop through Quinton, Preston Deanery and Great Houghton was pleasantly aided by a following wind and so a good quick 35 miles were achieved and enjoyed.
Milton, our Secretary, went on this ride led by Phil L and writes:
Five of us met at the Brampton Valley Way start point to be taken by Phil L on one of his legendary brisks! In fact, because we had a nearly new rider with us, we were able to keep the brakes on Phil as we set off on the route round Northampton clockwise through Boughton and Moulton to Overstone and Ecton. On through Little Houghton and up the hill at Great Houghton and via Quinton and Preston Deanery to coffee at Salcey Forest café.
We had already lost Eleanor before the cafe (Packing for the great Thailand trip perhaps? Good luck you two!) Our new rider decided to get a lift back home from there. We look forward to your company again, Janne!
We three remainders continued off through Horton towards Kislingbury where Phil G left us to go to the bike shop to try out a new bike. The remaining Phil, L that is, and I parted at Sixfields to our respective homes.
A cold and icy morning had miraculously turned into a sunny and almost warm day with only the slightest breeze. As good a cycling day as you get. Good weather, a good route and fine company. What more can you ask for?
Iain D, our Rides Secretary, went on this ride and writes:
Milton promised us:
an on-time departure
a brisk ride
a choice of coffee stop.
I arrived at Moulton bang on 9.30 a.m., just in time to take part in the where-shall-we-stop vote (Olney 4, Salcey 0, abstentions 2), and then we were rolling. Milton set a brisk, but not unmanageable, pace over the lumpy bits to Bozeat before leading us through Harrold and out on a road I don’t think I’ve ever ridden before, which took us smoothly into Olney where we scared a group of cyclists from MK into leaving town. Not quite sure how we managed that, but perhaps it wasn’t us after all, perhaps it was the traffic. Not a problem on a bike though, since it wasn’t even moving.
After a sit down and a brew, Milton led us out of Olney “the flat way”, passing the highest point of the ride in Salcey Forest before cutting back through Preston Deanery and Great Houghton.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable morning (we were back well before 1.00 p.m., as promised) with some new tarmac and a decent pace, and it’s safe to say that Milton delivered on all three promises.
It was also good to see Ken back with us for the morning.
Our Chair, Philip Gray, leads this ride and writes:
This Saturday afternoon, CTC Northampton invites you to join a short cycle tour of some Parish churches to the south-east of Northampton, the second in our Summer of Cycling Leisure Series rides.
Depending on time and access, we will visit two or three of the following churches. Whiston is said to be one of the most interesting churches in Northamptonshire, little changed since 1534 and still without electric light. In Denton there are murals by celebrated Northampton artist Henry Bird. Preston Deanery is a small, very old church now cared for by the Historic Churches Conservation Trust. And finally Great Houghton is unusual in this county in having a Baroque exterior.
After our tour of spiritual places we will enjoy some temporal relaxation at the Britannia pub.
So, if you can bear not to watch Brad Wiggins in the final Tour de France time trial, please come out and enjoy fresh air and a hint of the eternal with us.
We start from the Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road at 2.00 p.m. and should return by 5.00 p.m. The ride will be 15 – 18 miles at a leisurely pace. There are some hills but we will take them easy. The weather forecast is currently for sunny intervals and up to 19 degrees (you may wish to retrieve your suncream from wherever you left it last summer…).