Ride Report – Saturday 8th February

Brian, our Secretary, led this brisk morning ride.  Words by Brian; photos by David.

Given that it has been very wet this year, it was not surprising that the ride this Saturday morning became a tour of the floods in the Nene and Great Ouse valleys.

We had 6 riders out today. We met at the Canoe Centre which was surrounded by water. However, none of the roads were flooded and we set off at 9.30 a.m. for the higher ground of Castle Ashby and then down again to Olney. We were now into the Great Ouse valley and soon alongside fields covered in water. The bridge over the river at Turvey was just above the water level. Shortly after we stopped for a pleasant coffee and cake at the Emmaus Village Bistro in Carlton.

Café at Emmaeus Village

Café at Emmaus Village

It was quite warm in the sun although the wind was very strong. Luckily the general direction of the ride was cross wind but we had met a few short stretches of strong head wind en-route.Between Carlton and Harrold we crossed the Great Ouse again, only this time the road was well under water. Fortunately there is a raised footpath about 4ft above the road for about 100 yards and we crossed it as if on a major bridge.

Flooded road by River Ouse

Flooded road by River Ouse

It was quite warm in the sun although the wind was very strong. Luckily the general direction of the ride was cross wind but we had met a few short stretches of strong head wind en-route. Between Carlton and Harrold we crossed the Great Ouse again, only this time the road was well under water. Fortunately there is a raised footpath about 4ft above the road for about 100yds and we crossed it as if on a major bridge.

The water around us was being whipped up into choppy waves by the strong wind. Luckily it was a tail wind and we made good time to Bozeat and then back to Billing by 1.00 p.m. where we split up to get home. Given the weather forcast earlier in the week, I was pleasantly surprised the we made the ride in the dry, with plenty of sun, if a little windy!

Route here on RideWithGPS.

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Upgrading the Brampton Valley Way Cycle Path (part 3)

Blog posts back in January and February this year were pretty positive about the upgrading work that is being done done to the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) between the A5099 crossing (near “The Windhover”) and Mill Lane.  See Upgrading the Brampton Valley Way Cycle Path and Upgrading the Brampton Valley Way Cycle Path Part 2

Now this is also National Cycle Network Route 6 and so an important cycle path – and one local CTC member, Peter, reports on his dissatisfaction with the upgrading nine months on.

Last week I chanced my luck and tried out the Route 6 through to Kings Heath from Kingsthorpe, going under the railway and along side the Nene. This section had been finished for some time, but access had been inhibited by the work that continued on the Kings Heath side of the bridge. Thanks to Phil’s info – we now know it’s open !!
We’d had quite a bit of rain, but not a “flood”. The river had subsided into its bed and the tunnel under the railway was mostly clear of running water.  I am not all together enamoured with the final result. Perhaps I’m niggling, or perhaps I’m not alone in my criticisms.
The lower section has a layer of mud and stones left by the flood river, which does not wash out with the flow of water. The upper “dry” section of path leads onto a quagmire before reaching the new tarmac path up to the green (?) lane.
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The slope of the land and bank must drain directly in to the river at this same point, but no account of this seems to have made in this “improvement”.
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To my mind there hasn’t been a great deal of joined-up thinking put into what must have been an expensive project. Surely a few minor and inexpensive amendments might be made which could make all the difference to a good job done and an inferior bodge.
I’m not only a grumpy old man, I like my cycling and would like to see my taxes spent wisely!

Ride Report – Sunday 5th May

Iain Dawson led this ride – “A Ride of Two Rivers” – and writes:

There were five of us ready, outside the Canoe Centre, for this trip on Sunday morning and the weather was looking promising as well. Better than it did last time I tried to lead this ride anyway.

After a short deviation into the industrial estate, we picked-up National Cycle Route 6 in Great Houghton, rode on past Salcey Forest, and down through Haversham on the north side of Milton Keynes. Then we turned onto a gated road that brought us out by Stantonbury Wharf and the Grand Union Canal. We followed this, more or less, half way to Willen Lake, the only snag being that whoever drew the Buckinghamshire street map didn’t know where the bridges over the canal were! Redway navigation is tricky at the best of times, because you never see the street signs, but to have bridges spring up out of nowhere? That’s a new one on me! Anyway, after a couple more pauses to check the map and the signs on nearby streets (thanks Karen and Dave), we found a sign, an actual sign, for “Willen Lake” and were duly delivered to the café there.

Refreshed, we took to the Redways once again to cut through a corner of the original Milton Keynes, with its 12th-century church, and past the Open University, which wasn’t quite as exciting as I’d hoped. We did, however, get to see a lot of the greenery that Milton Keynes has to offer before we cut through the car parks at the west end of the shopping centre and headed up past Linford Wood to the old railway line that now serves as a pedestrian/cycle link between northern MK and Newport Pagnell. A short ride from there – up through Sherington and Emberton Country Park – saw us installed in our favourite Olney café for lunch, sitting out in the sun. I have to say, each time we crossed the Ouse I was getting more and more tempted to drop down to it and take a dip. The weather was magnificent for May.

With only the few miles separating Olney (on the Ouse) from the Canoe Centre (on the Nene), we set off with just Cogenhoe hill left requiring any real work ahead of us and we had an uneventful final leg back to Northampton to finish around 4pm. Not bad for a 52 mile ride taking in some very congested Redways with a couple of navigation errors thrown in to temper the pace.

Ride Report – Sunday 1st July

Bill Simpson organised and led the Guy Barber Memorial Ride and writes:

Eighteen riders rolled out from the Bedford Road start, heading eastward, with the company of the River Nene for the opening miles.  I say there were eighteen riders who started, but we were joined by a nineteenth somewhere en-route (but this is another story, isn’t it, Brian?)

Three of the nineteen taking part were females, one of whom, Pippa from Milton Keynes, shared a tandem with her partner Mike Slater.  This I think was a first on the Guy Barber ride.  The other two were Northampton’s Eleanor Weller and Sylvia from Milton Keynes.

The peloton of riders came from an almost 50 percent mix of Northampton and Milton Keynes C.T.C. all of whom are to be thanked for their support.

Between us we raised a total of £95, but we will forward a cheque for £100 to the Headway Charity.

The ride towards St. Neots and the River Ouse on which it sits went by without any hitches.  No mechanicals or punctures encountered, just good banter shared by all as we took advantage of some assistance from the strong wind that was our companion until the return journey.

On the way back it was huddle together and fight the wind, enabling all to return safely via the excellent café stop in the garden centre in Poddington.  Mostly we avoided the rain (mostly).  Many thanks once again for your support.

I look forward to next time.