Ride Report – Saturday 9th December

Milton led this pair of rides on Saturday morning.  (He also checked out the first few miles of the routes earlier in the morning because it had been particularly cold overnight – dedication!)  He writes:

The weather promised cold and ice and slippy roads and offered, in the end, only a bit of a chill.  The roads were free of frost and ice and mostly dry and the sun shone almost all the time.  It was on the cool side, but only the wimps stayed at home  ….  that means most of you of course!

Six of us met up at the Canoe Centre and three of the six were new to us and one of the remainder was a rare(ish) visitor, Geoff (surely we stop for coffee every 5 miles) which left only Giles and myself from the usual club riff raff.

Giles and John C took the 38-mile brisk option and from Salcey headed west to Hartwell before taking the road to Castlethorpe, Haversham and Litttle Linford and then turning north to reach Olney arriving about 10 minutes after the 31-mile moderate group who had got there via Stoke Goldington, Ravenstone and Weston Underwood.  Fine scones and maple-syruped pancakes were enjoyed alongside scrambled egg with smoked salmon and toasted teacakes before a quick visit to the adjacent bike shop – Pedalz – where Nigel G nearly cracked and bought a bike, and we were off home via Yardley Hastings, Castle Ashby and Cogenhoe.

Good cycling, good weather, good food and excellent company meant yet another Saturday morning well spent.

Morning rides to Olney – Saturday 9th December

Milton is leading Saturday morning’s rides – two groups (brisk and moderate) – and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Canoe Centre, Bedford Road, NN4 7AA.  (The Canoe Centre will probably be open all day on Saturday but, if it’s not, your car will get trapped behind the car park barriers.  Better to park just outside where there is lots of space!)
Distance: Brisk 38 miles / Moderate 31 miles
Refreshments: Courtyard Brasserie, Olney (23 miles / 16 miles)
Return by: 1.00 p.m. – 1.30 p.m.

The difference in length for the two groups is all on the outward journey to Olney.  At about twenty-three miles for the brisk group and sixteen for the moderate group, the opportunity for a perfectly synchronised meeting at the Courtyard Brasserie depends on the Brisks showing some real pace.

Both groups set off up the hill through Great Houghton, Preston Deanery and Quinton before passing the Salcey Café.  Whilst the Brisks turn right into Hartwell and on through Hanslope, Castlethorpe and Haversham, the Moderates continue through the forest and on to Stoke Goldington before turning up through Ravenstone and Weston Underwood to Olney.  Meantime the Brisks (hopelessly knackered by now)  are heading through Little Linford, Tyringham and Filgrave before getting to Olney via the A509.  (Oh stop moaning, it’s only a mile downhill and there’s a perfectly good cyclepath for most of the way!).

After coffee and whatever together, it’s an attractive return through Yardley Hastings, Castle Ashby, Cogenhoe and Little Houghton to the Canoe Centre. We ought to make it back for lunchish  –  say between 1.00 p.m. and 1.30 p.m.

It’ll be a lovely warm, dry, sunny day with little breeze (don’t fact-check that!) and I look forward to your company.

Questions?  Milton is on 07845 967537.

Ride Report – Sunday 20th August

Milton went on this ride led by Tim and writes:

Not only did the sun shine, but nothing more than a light breeze caressed us all day as 8 cyclists took the quiet and beautiful roads to Hogwash on Tim’s 63 mile steady. Tim had a plan that it would be a one stop ride but made the mistake of suggesting that we could stop for coffee and cake at Boycott Farm after 20 miIes if we were unable to control our greed. 7 out of 8 of us proved unable to control our greed. Ah Tim … the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglay!

Mark, who had stuff to do at home,  left us to go go back after Boycott Farm and so we were seven as we rolled into Green Dragon Eco Centre Farm where we came upon Geoff  on his fixie and James who had been late to the start. James had, of course, put his foot down and beaten us to the lunch stop by a sizeable margin overtaking us as we guzzled at Boycott Farm.

Geoff soon left for a solo run home and we were 8 once more, and, just after we set off on the return trip, James found the urge to test out his new wheels too great, and disappeared up the road never to be seen again …… so we were 7 once more.

The weather stayed warm and dry and, much to Tim’s amazement, the group eschewed another stop at Salcey as we passed, having stayed in a close knit peleton throughout the return journey, keeping up an average speed of over 14mph.

A fine day in the saddle much helped by a beautifully devised route and 2 excellent stops.

STEADY ride to Hogshaw – Sunday 20th August

Tim is leading this ride and writes:

Start: 9.30am, Sunday 20th August
Meeting point: East Hunsbury Library, Overslade Close, NN4 0RZ
Distance: 63 miles
Anticipated Speed: 13-14mph
Refreshments: Green Dragon Eco Centre Cafe

This Sunday’s ride heads south via Gayton Marina and the villages of Tiffield and Caldecote before a short section of A5 lets us gain the village of Duncote from where generally quiet country roads take us on our journey to the west of Buckingham and on to our lunch stop at the most southerly point of the ride at The Green Dragon Farm at Hogshaw.

Our return journey heads north east to Winslow and then on to Stony Stratford (complete with a nice downhill section for a couple of miles just after crossing the A421 south of Nash). Familiar roads then lead us to Hanslope and Salcey Forest before the final homeward leg along the Quinton Road and suburbs of East Hunsbury.

The ride is planned with a single stop at approx 33 miles, so it may be a good idea to bring an energy bar or two for any impromptu roadside stops. However if the urge for morning coffee or afternoon tea (or indeed both!) proves too strong there are options in the guise of Boycott Farm (at 20 miles) and Salcey Forest (at 57 miles).

We should be back at East Hunsbury library mid to late afternoon, depending on the number of stops we choose to make on the day.

The proposed route can be viewed (and downloaded as a gpx file) from the CTC Northampton group on RideWithGPS:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23647762

Any questions please contact Tim – 07749 477231.

BRISK ride to Harrold – Saturday 24th June

Tim is leading this ride and writes:

Start: 9.30 am, Saturday 24th June
Meeting point: East Hunsbury Library, Overslade Close, NN4 0RZ
Distance:  40 miles
Anticipated Speed: 14-16 mph
Refreshments: Castle Ashby

This Saturday’s ride starts at 9:30am from East Hunsbury Library. The led ride (ride leader Tim) will be at a brisk pace, but there is also the option for a shorter self-led alternative (see below).

The ride heads out in the direction of Salcey Forest & Stoke Goldington before turning north east to skirt Olney en route to Lavendon & Harrold. Here we head up Dungee Hill before turning back towards Northampton passing through the villages of Bozeat and Easton Maudit before arriving at our refreshment stop at The Buttery Tea Rooms at Castle Ashby (at approx 29 miles).

Post refreshment we have a shortish ride (approx 11 miles) back to the start at East Hunsbury Library via the villages of Horton & Hackleton. It is anticipated that we should be back at East Hunsbury sometime around 1:30pm.

Please note that there is a possible short cut from Olney to Castle Ashby that avoids the loop to Harrold. This shortens the overall route to approx 32 miles with the Castle Ashby tea stop at approx 21 miles. If you intend to ride this shorter route please ensure you are happy to self navigate, so you will either need to bring a map of the route with you or load the route on to your bike computer. Unfortunately, due to holiday absences, we do not have a ride leader available to lead you round this shorter alternative.

The proposed route and the shorter self-led option can be viewed (and downloaded as gpx files) from the CTC Northampton pages on RideWithGPS:

Led ride (40 miles): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/20043458

Self- led alternative (32 miles): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/20043453

Any questions, please contact Tim – 07749 477231.

“Boundary Rides” – Two morning rides circling Northampton – Saturday 11th March

Phil L has organised these two rides and writes:

Start: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Brampton Valley Way (BVW)/A5199 crossing near The Windhover, NN6 8AA.  There is a BVW car park just up Brampton Lane.
Distance: 40 miles (brisk), 35 miles (moderate).
Refreshments: Salcey Forest Café

This circuit of Northampton skirts/circles the Borough boundary keeping the Express Lift Tower as our “hub” all morning – taking in Boughton, Moulton, Overstone, the Houghtons and Salcey Forest for an early brunch.  Then we complete the circuit through Quinton, Blisworth, Milton Malsor, Rothersthorpe, Kislingbury and return to BVW.

Brisk ride led by Phil L; moderate ride led by Brian.

Questions?  Phil is on 07867 388592.

Boxing Day Ride Report

Milton led this ride and writes:

Perfect weather saw ten cyclists with nothing but coffee and cake in mind meet up at the Canoe Centre for a simple 28-mile drift through the south east of the County.

Little Houghton, Cogenhoe, Castle Ashby, Yardley Hastings, Weston Underwood and Ravenstone gently slid past as we sauntered slowly but with great determination to cake at Salcey.

Down the hill through Great Houghton and we were back at the Canoe Centre just after mid-day and heading home to some cake and mince pies and whatever chocolates were left before getting stuck into lunch.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Ride Report – Sunday 6th November

Brian, our secretary, went on this ride led by Milton and writes:

Looking out of the window at 9 o’clock, there was wall to wall sunshine and blue skies.  The reality, however, was that it was only a few degrees above freezing outside.  At the Canoe Centre, Milton and I decided that the weather must have put off riders that morning but then Colin and Nick arrived.  Given the temperature, the four of us set off without delay for Castle Ashby, welcoming the hills in between to get warmed up.  At Easton Maudit Geoff joined us on his tricycle and the five of us then made our way to Harrold and on to the picturesque village of Newton Blossomville.  With a good tail wind, warming sun and ever quieter roads it was perfect autumn weather for a ride.  When we saw the sign “Welcome to Central Bedfordshire” we knew we were not far from the Bike Bus Café, a red London double decker bus parked on a farm at Bourne End.  Arriving at 11.30 a.m. we were soon enjoying excellent coffee and sausage baps, sitting outside, soaking up the sun and warmth.

Having seen a couple of other cycling groups leave, we were soon on our way to Sherington after which we changed direction and headed back into a very chilly wind.  Fortunately we were often sheltered by hills and tree-lined roads but it was noticeably cooler now.  Our route took us through Tyringham Hall deer park and not long after turning onto the Newport road the predicted rain clouds appeared and for the rest of the way home through Salcey Forest the rain got steadily heavier.  We were well prepared for the rain and made good time to the Canoe Centre arriving just after two o’clock, damp but in good spirits, having had an excellent day’s ride.  Thanks to Milton for planning and leading the ride!

Ride Report – Saturday 23rdJanuary

Tim went on this ride led by Phil L and writes:

Five riders set off from East Hunsbury on Phil’s “mainly off-road” route.  The conditions certainly lived up to the wet and muddy prediction so much so that one rider decided to inaugurate his own mini-triathlon with an impromptu fall in to the canal followed by a quick run to warm up before resuming cycling.  Maybe water wings should be added to the list of essentials on future rides.

“Chapeau” to the water baby for insisting on riding on, despite everyone’s concern lest exposure set in.  The lure of an open fire at the Boat Inn at Stoke Bruerne proved a stronger draw than an instant abandonment.

Suitably warmed and refreshed with flapjacks and cups of coffee we decided to stick to the road and forego the planned canal tow-path to Cosgrove.  Our return via Ashton, Hartwell and Salcey Forest was a welcome anti-climax to the morning’s trials.

Despite its diminutive 16 miles, this was a ride that will live long in our memories (if falling in to the canal wasn’t enough excitement for one ride we also suffered multiple punctures, with our leader accumulating a winning total of three) and one that has reminded me of a couple of things:

  • If you’ re going to fall off your bike, it’s best not to do so alongside a canal!
  • Hawthorn hedge trimmings & liquid mud do not make for a good bike riding surface!

Ride report – Boxing Day

James went on this ride led by Milton and writes:

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!!