Ride Report – Sunday 20th December

Brian led this ride to Stowe Park and back.  He writes:

Nine riders gathered at East Hunsbury on a spring-like morning.  We had quite a mix of bikes including a Sully 29’er – 3″ tyres, pressure 12psi, ideal for snowy climes (climbs?).  Did Andrew know something about the weather forecast that we had missed?

The ride took us out through Tiffield and onto the old road to Towcester.  At the A43 we turned onto a well-surfaced bridleway and a specific crossing point across the dual carriageway, fine on a Sunday but not so good if it was very busy.  At the other side a short section of ridable track took us back onto the old road into Towcester.  Here we had to mingle with the traffic on a short section of the A5 through Towcester before we turned once again onto a quiet road up to Silverstone.  There was not much activity as we passed the racetrack.  We continued down to Stowe Park against a fresh breeze. By this time the sun was out and it really did seem like spring.

A pleasant coffee and cake at the NT café and then we were back on the quiet road to Syresham now with the wind behind us.  We were joined by Geoff and his trike at Stowe who then rode back with us to Towcester.  At Slapton the group now ten strong split into two, given the disparity of bikes and speed, to wend the short distance back to Northampton via Duncote and Tiffield.

Close to Northampton the sun disappeared and an ominous cloud appeared.  I suspect at least half of us were caught by a very sharp cloudburst before we reached home.

Who could imagine a ride on such a day in late December?!

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Ride Report – Sunday 1st February

Brian, our Secretary, led this ride and writes:

The weather forecast on Saturday looked distinctly wintry for the Sunday morning with the prospect of ice and very cold temperatures.  Following a few phone calls to the regulars everybody seemed keen to get some fresh air and by Saturday evening five riders had signed up subject to no icy roads. Saturday had been sunny and fortunately the overnight temperature was only down to 2 degC so no ice.

The five riders met at East Hunsbury on a cool overcast morning.  We set off with a following wind and made good time to Silverstone where the sun emerged.  We had the cycle track to ourselves as we headed south to Stowe, with the sound of sports cars on the Silverstone circuit alongside.

The National Trust Café at Stowe was quite busy.  Our conversation about the delights of hot sausage rolls was overheard and a plate of steaming rolls appeared just as we got to the till.  Suitably refreshed and warmed up we headed north on very quiet roads to Syresham and Wapenham straight into a strong wind.  Milton waxed lyrical about the buzzards and kestrels along the hedgerows and this and the open countryside made up for the extra effort against the wind.  It wasn’t long before we turned east slightly out of the wind and on to Slapton and Greens Norton before heading home.

We were back in Northampton at about 2 p.m. but the sun had dropped, as had the temperature. Given it was February we were lucky to get in a ride on a day that turned out to be good cycling conditions, not to mention of course the good company!

Ride Report – Sunday 2nd March

Iain D, our Rides Secretary, went on this ride and writes:

Twelve of us braved the wind to meet at East Hunsbury to participate in what had been billed as “Hannah Barnes’ Favourite Ride” (or a ride based thereon).

And it didn’t disappoint, with our chairman and Twitter-meister confirming that our ride had acquired the seal of approval from the lady herself.Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 19.51.53We headed out along the usual route towards Towcester, with a couple of new faces getting used to riding in a group like ours, and then cut across from the south side of the village towards the Silverstone circuit.  Unbeknownst to us, yesterday was also the day of the Silverstone Half-Marathon so the traffic on the approach to the circuit from Silverstone village was horrible.  Fortunately, once we got up near the circuit itself, we could take advantage of the cycle/footpath before leaving the motorists behind and heading down to the impressive new visitor centre at Stowe National Trust with its Nevillery Café.

After refreshments, and an early lunch for some, we set out to cross flooded roads (well, one) and several hills as we tracked north-west with a cross-wind to our second NT property of the day (has Brian got shares in the National Trust?) for lunch (or afternoon tea, depending) but the weather had started to turn a little damp. Still, plenty to keep us warm with the south Northamptonshire dips and climbs on the way over to Canons Ashby.

Neil and Chloe at lunch - or afternoon tea

Neil and Chloe at lunch – or afternoon tea

With one of our number electing for an early finish and not stopping for tea at Canons Ashby, we were reduced to eleven riders as we headed back (with the wind now mostly, and very thankfully, behind us). A short sprint down the A5 kept it interesting then we were back onto the quiet lanes through Caldecott, Tiffield and over the canal bridges back to Northampton.

Many thanks to Brian for what turned out to be a surprisingly energetic ride (I blame the headwind) and for keeping the group together so well on the road.

Our route is here on RideWithGPS.

 

 

“Hannah Barnes’ Favourite Ride” – Sunday 2nd March

Brian, our Secretary, is leading this ride and writes:

This ride was inspired by an article in Cycling Weekly in July 2013 which described the favourite training route of national rider Hannah Barnes who lives in Towcester and starts/finishes her route there. Hannah does her 40 mile route in about 2 hours but we will probably take a little longer and not just because we start in Northampton!

We’ll start from Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ (behind the Tesco Superstore) at 9.30 a.m. prompt.

Route: Blisworth, Shutlanger, short stretch of A5 then across to Silverstone.  Down past Stowe School and on to Chackmore and the Stowe National Trust property and through the Corinthian Arch for coffee.

On then to Biddlestone, Helmdon, Sulgrave, Thorpe Mandeville, and across to Canons Ashby for lunch at the NT property (sandwiches and baked potatoes are available).  It is a short ride back via Litchborough, Greens Norton and Tiffield to Northampton.  That makes for 54 miles.  It’s hilly in parts but the roads are mainly very quiet.

We will return mid-afternoon. (If you want to join us for just the morning, you could return to Northampton from Stowe.)

Brian Tunbridge 01604 622073 (07722 055149 on the day)

You can see the route here on RideWithGPS.

Club ride to Farthingstone – Sunday 17th March

Iain Dawson, our Rides Secretary, is leading this ride and writes:

This Sunday we’re off to Farthingstone on a 50-mile jaunt taking in a few of the less severe hills to be found in the western half of Northamptonshire.

This is a one-stop ride and Farthingstone Golf Course (where we’ll be taking lunch) is almost exactly at the turning point so we’re looking at two 25-mile legs. Bring extra supplies as necessary.

The route out is fairly circuitous incorporating Everdon Stubbs while avoiding Dodford and Newnham.  The route back brings us through Silverstone and almost through Towcester.  It should be an interesting trip.

We’ll be meeting at a new start location – outside TGI Friday’s at Sixfields at 9.30 a.m.

(If you’re coming to the start by car, please don’t leave it at the start location; there is plenty of parking available down by the lakes, a mere 200 yards away).

See you on Sunday!

Sunday’s Ride – 18th November

Iain Dawson is leading this ride and writes:

This Sunday we’re heading down towards the south-west of the county again.  We’ll be leaving East Hunsbury / Hunsbury Hill (Overslade Close, NN4 0RZ) at 9.30 a.m., approaching Towcester from the north and stopping there for a cup of coffee.

From Towcester we will loop around to approach Silverstone village from the north before heading through Lillingstone Lovell and Deanshanger to lunch at the farm shop/café at Potterspury.

The final leg will see us retrace our route slightly to avoid as much of the A5 as possible before we cross it and head for home via Shutlanger.

I plan to be back at East Hunsbury by 4.00 p.m. but do bring lights just to be on the safe side!

Total distance: 50 miles (approximately).