Our shortest ever ride?

On Sunday 17th March, despite leaving home with the sleet falling we were convinced that the weather forecast  “4°C with rain later” would be correct. Four of us met up at the new start point at Sixfields – Iain (the ride leader and in high spirits as he’d ridden the newly-surfaced Brampton Valley Way and through the flooded underpass at Kingsthorpe, although he noted that the track to Mill Lane from the BVW is as rough as ever), Brian, Ian and Phil J. We were of one mind.  Plan 1: 25 miles to Farthingstone and 25 miles back.

At 9.30 a.m. – our start time –  the sleet turned to light snow flakes so we amended our plan. Plan 2: ride to Flore and make a decision over elevenses. The day was bound to warm up and, besides, the snow wasn’t sticking.

Riding through Upton the snow flakes got larger and by the time we reached Duston the snow was heavy and lying.  The slush was deep.

IMGP5793 Phil and Brian on the cobbles of Upton

At this stage we adopted Plan 3: head to Sainsbury’s for coffee and a reassessment of the day.  We watched the snow continue to fall. It was over an inch deep in the supermarket car park.

With the snow / slush that substantial we adopted Plan 4: head for home! Iain and Ian walked to Kingsthorpe, Phil was picked up by car, and Brian walked into town. By the time Brian reached Billing Road the roads were wet rather than icy and he managed to cycle on after that, getting home by mid-day.  Likewise, for Iain and Ian, by the time they reached Kingsthorpe and were able to cycle home in wet / slushy roads rather than ice and snow.

IMGP5794It wasn’t like this when we started

IMGP5795The view from Mill Lane looking towards Kingsthorpe Church

The weather forecast was certainly a long way out but it was a good day to  test out the rain-wear. Iain will probably confirm that shorts and bare legs are the most breathable after centuries of development.

IMGP5796Iain demonstrates that bare legs are the answer to snow

Of course, by the time each of us arrived home, the sun was about to breakout!

Thanks Iain for a short and memorable ride.  Short?  As a group, we managed just under 1½ miles!  Route here!

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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!

Rides Programme – January to March

Compiled by Iain Dawson, our Rides Secretary, here is our programme of rides for January, February and March:

Day/Date Time Miles Rating Type Start Route/Destination Stop(s) (if known) Leader/ Organiser
Sun Jan 20 9:30 45 B Club CC Nene and Ouse – From one to the other and back Olney Iain Dawson 07909 992468
Sat Jan 26 13:30 17 D Leisure BVW Guilsborough   Brian Tunbridge 01604 622073
Sat Feb 2 9:30 35 B Club BVW Brisk morning ride via Dodford, Newnham, Litchborough and Kislingbury   Phil Letts 07512 425957
Wed Feb 6 19:30 Rides Planning Meeting FOLLOWED BY Committee Meeting Iain Dawson 07909 992468
Sun Feb 10 9:30 20 D Leisure EH Towcester Cycle-Jumble
Towcester Bill Simpson 07736 600858
Sun Feb 17 9:30 50 D Club BVW Into Leicestershire – just! Saddington (pub) Ian Macsporran 01604 843894
Sat Feb 23 14:00 20 D Leisure MCP Ecton and Earls Barton Beckworth Emporium Iain Dawson 07909 992468
Wed Feb 27 19:30 Social Open to all Park Ave. Methodist Church Illustrated Talks featuring Classic Tour de France Passes, the Giant’s Causeway Sportive and Hamburg to Dresden on the Elbe Cycle Path.Suggested Donation: £3 Iain Dawson 07909 992468
Sun Mar 3 9:30 53 B Club CC Melchbourne Milton Ernest, Wymington Brian Tunbridge 01604 622073
Sat Mar 9 9:30 35 C Club EH Canons Ashby NT Canons Ashby Philip Gray 01604 720522
Sun Mar 17 9:30 50 D Club SIX Farthingstone Farthingstone GC Iain Dawson 07909 992468
Sat Mar 23 14:00 18 D Leisure CC Gayton Gayton Brian Tunbridge 01604 622073
Wed Apr 17 – Tue Apr 23 CTC Northampton visits ADFC Aachen (Germany) – please email if interested. Iain Dawson 07909 992468
We aim to run every ride as advertised above.  Any changes or, exceptionally, cancellations will be advertised on our Yahoo e-mail group, our website and our other social media.  Check for messages or contact the leader a day or two before the ride for any updates!

For insurance purposes, these rides are for CTC members but we welcome non-members on a trial basis for up to three rides.  Special events are open to all.

KEY

RATING
A = Advanced (typically over 60 miles, 14+ mph average riding speed)
B = Challenging (typically 45-60 miles, 12 mph average riding speed, or shorter-and-faster)
C = Moderate (typically 35-45 miles)
D = Leisurely (typically 10-30 miles)
E = Easy/beginners (typically 10-20 miles)

TYPE
Club = steady ride
Tourist = includes historical or other visit
Leisure = short distance, easy pace
NMK = ride run by CTC Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes
National = CTC or other national event
Evening = Evening ride to a social meet
Social = Social meet without a planned ride

START
BVW – Brampton Valley Way, Welford Crossing NN6 8AA
EH – Hunsbury Hill library, Overslade Close, East Hunsbury NN4 0RZ
MCP – Moulton Co-op NN3 7TB
CC – Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road NN4 7AA
Maps are available for start locations here.
We aim to cater for a wide range of rider abilities. On C, D & E rides we will wait for the last rider. On A & B rides, riders are expected to meet the average speeds indicated or be able to make their own way home.

For contact on the ride (e.g. if you miss a turn or have a problem at the back of the group), or need to contact the group at the start of the ride, the following are regular riders’ mobile phone numbers:
Secretary – Brian Tunbridge 01604 622073
Rides Secretary – Iain Dawson 0790 999 2468

Mobile phones must not be relied upon but are there as a secondary means of communication on the ride in the event of a problem.

Riders must be prepared for foreseeable problems such as punctures.

Please contact the rides secretary if you would like to attend the Rides Planning Meeting. You are also welcome to forward any suggestions prior to the meeting.

Ride Report – Youth Hostelling weekend, 10th & 11th March

David went on this ride and writes:

Saturday

We started out from Sixfields Football Stadium about 10 a.m.  It was overcast and coldish.  The first stop at Catthorpe was reached at 11.30 a.m.  Further north we cycled through Kirby Mallory and then Market Bosworth was a welcome break for me, having run out of water.  The cafe was hidden at the end of a courtyard.

Our destination – the National Forest YH at Moira, Derbyshire – was reached at 5.00 p.m.  Tired, an eco-shower was appreciated followed by a rest in front of the TV (Six Nations rugby) before ordering dinner.

Sunday

The return journey involved cycling down the A444 to Shenton for our first break at  “The Gallery” Tea Room and Antique Barns, a short distance from where we were just in time to see the steam train leaving at Shenton station.

We cycled up to the battlefield at Bosworth (1485 – Henry Tudor defeated Richard III – “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!”) to see the commemorative flag.

The weather improved and the wind was behind us so our rendezvous at Catthorpe for 2.30 p.m. with other CTC Northampton members was on time.

A trip of 120 miles.

At the National Forest YH, Moira, Derbyshire

At the National Forest YH, Moira, Derbyshire

Extra rides this Saturday and Sunday – 10th & 11th March

On our programme this weekend is a two-day ride to the National Forest Youth Hostel at Moira.  Bill Simpson, who leads this ride, says that people who want to join in for just part of the route on Saturday and/or Sunday are very welcome.  He writes:

Should anyone wish to ride this Saturday, the group will leave Sixfields (the Cobblers Stadium as per Phil Letts recent charity ride) at 9.30 a.m.  You may like to consider riding to Cathorpe, our first stop en route to our youth hostel at Moira in Derbyshire.  You would then return from Cathorpe to Northamton at your leisure.

You may also consider riding on Sunday to Cathorpe when we return to the café sometime around 2.00 p.m. (as a rough guestimate). We can then join forces and return to Northampton.

None of these rides intends to be quick.

P.S. The Cathorpe rendezvous is The Manor Farm Shop & Tearoom, LE17 6DB.

Report – A leisurely ride to Flore – Saturday 25th February

Iain Dawson led this ride and writes:

With the unseasonably clement weather we’ve been having, it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see a couple of new faces at Hunsbury Hill but I wasn’t expecting five non-regulars to turn up, four of whom have never ridden with us before!

We left Hunsbury Hill more or less on time and the group split on the climb up to Milton Malsor with one of our newcomers deciding that country jaunts weren’t her thing yet. As she lived not far from our start and was used to cycling round town she elected to return before she was committed, as it were. Disappointing, but she did make the effort.

Further on, we discovered the reason for another of our group’s lack of pace – the bike was stuck in granny ring. Some swift maintenance courtesy of Mike Hart (and some air in the back tyre) and pace became less of an issue.

Chris Willey left us at Bugbrooke to go off and cook dinner.

And then there were eight, although, sadly, we said goodbye to another of our group in Nether Heyford, this new rider claiming to have overestimated their abilities and wanting to ease their way back home (not far) at their own pace.  As you can imagine, spirits were not high at this point but both riders who left the group did so after consultation with some of the more experienced riders, and with the offer of an escort and assistance if they hit any problems. Thanks, guys!

The remaining seven made it on to Flore with no problems although, after Bill was discussing p*nct*re repairs over coffee, the inevitable happened on the return leg – Mike had to keep stopping to reinflate his tyre. The return route was adjusted to keep it as flat as possible for our newcomers so we ended-up passing the Cobblers’ stadium just after chucking-out time. We had to navigate our way round cars being driven up the wrong side of the road to get out the car park(!) but that just added more interest to the ride. We finally made it back to Hunsbury Hill just after 5.30 pm (I had promised we’d be back 5.30 latest) but those of us who made it seemed to enjoy it.

I did check with the two newcomers who’d left early – both got home safely and both were glad they’d tried the experience so not a total loss. Ahem. And I’m hopeful that we’ll see one, maybe two, of these riders again.

I am grateful to the regulars who made it out to Hunsbury Hill to swell the ranks and provide assistance and guidance: Chris, Mike, David and Bill all of whom did a sterling job keeping spirits up and ensuring the group felt happy and comfortable (although the sight of a girl on a mountain bike trying to keep up with Bill on a dual carriageway will live with me for a long, long time).

Footnote from your blogger:

I’m one of the few Cobblers season-ticket holders who travels to matches on a bike (a folding Brompton).  No jokes, please, about there being plenty of room in the stands for folding bikes because attendances are so low.

So it was “Chucking out time” – and you didn’t pause to commiserate with me?  Cobblers had just lost 1 – 2 to Port Vale.
Footnote

Always A Chance Ride – national publicity

There’s been some media coverage for the opening leg of the Always A Chance 92-Club-Relay ride which look place nine days ago from Sixfields Stadium (Northampton Town FC) to the Ricoh Arena (Coventry City FC).

Phil Letts points to an article in The Sun which mentions that,

“Many people have rallied round and taken part in activities, from baking cup cakes to skydiving, to raise money for the cause. The Duston School in Northampton, where Peter (Peter Kouzaris, father of James) teaches history, has raised more than £5,000 and a team recently started a 12-week relay event, which kicked off last week at Northampton Town football ground.

The 92 Club Relay event will see friends, family, organisations and charities run, cycle or rollerblade in a relay to all 92 football league grounds across the county. Peter hopes to run the penultimate leg from Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium to Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground, as both he and James were avid United fans.

The event will finish just after the first anniversary of the boys’ death at the end of April, back at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium.

Peter explained: ‘James would have been running or cycling every leg just like his friends will be doing. He was full of energy and life. We even engraved ‘loved life’ on a bench dedicated to him at Pitsford Reservoir, close to where we live.'”