Ride to Keysoe – Sunday 30th April

Tim, our webmaster, will be leading this ride and writes:

Start: 9.30 a.m.
Meet: Nene Whitewater Canoe Centre, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7AA. (If coming by car, don’t park within the car park barrier.  There is plenty of space on the approach road.)
Distance: 56 miles
Speed: 12-14 m.p.h.
Refreshments: Scald End Farm, Thurleigh (at approx 30 miles)

From the Canoe Centre we head out in a generally eastwards direction through the villages of Cogenhoe, Grendon, Bozeat, Odell, Sharnbrook and Riseley en route to our most easterly point at Keysoe.  From here we turn south and west to our stop for refreshment at Scald End Farm, located just outside Thurleigh.  Here you can feast on the breakfast “fit for a king” or maybe one of the several cakes on offer.  There is also the benefit of a cosy wood burning stove to warm oneself by.

Once replete, we continue south westwards through Milton Earnest, Harrold and Lavendon before heading north & west on our final homeward leg via Yardley Hastings, Castle Ashby (where a second tea stop is eminently possible) and Cogenhoe Hill before arriving back at the Canoe Centre.

The route can be viewed (and downloaded as a gpx file) at: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/20043554

Any questions?  Please contact Tim on 07749 477231.

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Ride report – Saturday 16th July

Brian went on this ride led by Iain D and writes:

A select group of four riders left Moulton at 9.00 a.m. on an overcast but warm and humid morning for a full day’s ride.  Soon after Sywell we met rolling hills through Mears Ashby, Castle Ashby and on to Olney, on relatively quiet roads.   Here we stopped for coffee and sat outside in the café courtyard enjoying toasted tea cakes as the sun came out.  Showing just how small the world is Anne and Ken discovered that they had both grown up in the same area of Lancashire.  The hills of Northamptonshire apparently have nothing on those in the north west!!  This was to be well tested later in the ride.

From Olney we headed north-east to Turvey and on to Carlton where we did a loop to Odell, Sharnbrook and through the picturesque village of Bletsoe before we turned back though Milton Ernest and more quiet roads.  We returned to the Emmaus Centre at Carlton for lunch at 1.00 p.m.  The weather was now warming up with blue skies and highs of 23C.  We were ready for a break.

After a very convivial lunch we headed up to Poddington and Wollaston before dropping into the Nene valley at Great Doddington.  From here it was all uphill via Wilby to Sywell which was the highest point on the ride, not that it was an obvious summit finish.

We arrived in Moulton at 3.45 p.m. after a pleasant day in the saddle.  Ideal cycling weather, summer at last!  Thanks to Iain for devising and leading the ride.

Ride Report – Easter Monday

Iain D, our Chairman, went on this ride led by Brian, our Rides Secretary, and writes:

Eight of us gathered on a spectacularly warm – for early April – Monday morning at the Canoe Centre on Bedford Road, including two faces I’d not seen before and the ever-welcome Ken.

Brian led us out through Cogenhoe, Wollaston and Poddington where we encountered the first problem of the day: the Brompton – my ride for the day – didn’t want to make the turn at the bottom of Poddington’s hill. It was eventually persuaded round but the front tyre was looking rather empty. I think the two are linked.

Which leads me on to the second problem of the day, and a lesson for all of us: bring your tyre levers AND the right pump for the inner tube. Honestly, who puts a Presta valve on a 16″ tube ? Won’t be buying those again … . Anyway, thanks to Milton, we got rolling again fairly quickly and on to something I’m not used to – being passed by a bin wagon. A little reminder that we were out on a weekday, for a change.

The day’s route spent a few miles running against the grain on previous years’ Guy Barber route before cutting down to Sharnbrook and following the same in the more familiar direction, and since the café in Sharnbrook was closed, we looped over the A6 again and back to Milton Ernest for lunch at their fine garden centre.

Leaving Milton Ernest, we hit snag no. 3: Network Rail’s ongoing plan to raise bridges on the Midland Main Line. Rather annoyingly, the road closure signs promised 26 weeks of closure starting 03rd October last year. We’re now into week 27 and they’re a long way from done yet. I’m told the current estimate is completion by 31st May. Fortunately, there’s a well-trodden path across an adjacent OSR field that leads out to another road. Phew.

Carlton – Harrold – Bozeat – Castle Ashby and you know the rest. All completed without further mishap and not a single drop of rain.

Many thanks to Brian for a pleasant day’s outing and I promise to be better equipped next time out.

Ride Report – Ninth Annual Guy Barber Ride – Sunday 13th July

Bill, our Treasurer, organised this ride and writes:

Numbers taking part = 18. We raised £90 for Headway Charity though a cheque for £100 was forwarded to them.

Though eighteen took part, sadly, this year we had no female presence. Not sure off-hand if this was a first …

Of the eighteen, there was one new CTC member: Hartley from Northampton. We had Phil from St. Andrews Hospital who worked with Guy and is a close friend of the Barber family. It was good to have him on board. Also with us was Harry from Milton Keynes, who would win the prize of the elder statesman with us. I believe he is around the 73-74 years of age so should Harry read this, well done! We raise our helmets to you. [John, another regular rider, adds: “Phil was the old rider I think. At 78 he rode from Milton Keynes and back as well!”]

The other riders were a mix of Northampton, Milton Keynes and one CTC member from Wellingborough. Most of you have supported this ride over the last 9 years and the fact that you still do is very much appreciated by the benefactors Headway.

Riders gathering early at the start

Riders gathering early at the start

As for the ride itself, it is always a ride that produces great spirit… The ride through the east side of the county as it heads for Bedfordshire through the villages of Sharnbrook and Thurleigh to name but two, just seem to fly by effortlessly, with a constant chatter of voice and the sounds of gears and wheels. As is normal on this ride the bunch splits with some stopping and enjoying the fayre at Thurleigh (the healthy food option) while others prefer to get the bulk of the ride behind them and they press on to St. Neots. As usual the groups meet at St. Neots at The Market Café for a short exchange of pleasantries of the ride encountered thus far.

The split at St. Neots continued, only the split of two groups became three. Then as the ride heads for home the chatter recedes as it progresses on the road towards Kimbolton. This is always a sign that a headwind is encountered and so it proved to be… Poddington Garden Centre is always a welcome break from that constant element, and an enjoyable stop for afternoon coffee.

The final miles back to Northampton seem to fly by. As far as I am aware, no p*nct*res were experienced though we did have one mechanical problem to deal with, soon put to rights by John and George ….

So in conclusion, the question must be asked, what will the 10th G.B. memorial ride bring? We wait to find out. Hopefully we may enjoy the company of a few female riders along with all the usual suspects who have supported this event over the years …

Many thanks on behalf of Headway!

[The 65-miles route is here on RideWithGPS]