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?!


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 to Middleton Cheney this Sunday!

Ian M will be leading this ride on Sunday and writes:

I had a good recce today of a route for Sunday’s ride.
You can see my meader to Banbury and back here  on http://www.ridewithgps.com.  (I just thought I’d have a change from Endomondo.)
I set off from Hunsbury at the usual time for a Sunday and reached Sulgrave Manor just as it was opening.  Same times on Sunday!
I then pedalled slowly to Middleton Cheney, thinking that that would be a better stop for lunch than Banbury.  And it has lovely Morris & Co stained glass in the church – a complete set from 1862.  But The New Inn is closed until next year and The Dolphin is just, well, closed!
So I pedalled on to Banbury, enticed by several signposts indicating I was on the Oxfordshire Cycleway.  I was led into enormous roadworks and a completely pedestrianised town centre.  Avoiding Debenhams tea room and a Pizza Express, I found the Banbury Cross – and a pub called “The Banbury Cross”.  Open but no food.  Will you have food over the Bank Holiday weekend?  No, mate – there’s no call for it here!
I struggled out of Banbury and pedalled back on a different route to Middleton Cheney.  The Dolphin was still closed.  I then pedalled a different route north and came across the Cherwell Edge Golf Club.  An A-board at the road advertised carvery lunches on Sundays!  At the entrance to the club house, bar meals were advertised!  A quick bacon butty later and I had learned that while the carvery might require booking for Sunday, the bar meals did not.  Seemed good!
I did have a tea stop in the afternoon at Canons Ashby.
If I’m not selling this route to you, may I say that the cycling is delightful and through many wonderful villages we don’t normally pedal through.  The villages are quite close together so that there’s always a feeling of moving on.  Helmdon was voted Best Northamptonshire Village in 2011.  So here’s the route for Sunday in terms of villages (with my timings from today):
Leave Overslade Close, Hunsbury (0940)
Milton Malsor
Greens Norton
Sulgrave (1105-1125)
Marston St Lawrence
(edge of) Thenford
Middleton Cheney
Lunch at Cherwell Edge Golf Club
Thorpe Mandeville
Moreton Pinkney
Canons Ashby (1440-1455)
(towards) Blakesley
Cold Higham
Milton Malsor
Back at Overslade Close, Hunsbury, at 1555.
That route is really delightful!
I haven’t reserved a table for the carvery at the Golf Club.  I’m assuming that on a warm August day (sunny day with isolated showers, high of 21 degrees C) colleagues would prefer a lighter bar meal.  We can always top up with tea at Canons Ashby – or not!
So, meet at Overslade Close, Hunsbury at 0930 for a splendid day.  We’ll go at a simple pace and so I can’t absolutely promise to be back for 1555.  Just over 50 miles.
Questions?  01604 843894 / 07960 302095 or ian.m@ctc-northampton.org.uk
I hope to see you there!


Report – Ride on Sunday 10th February

Ian Macsporran went on this ride, led by Bill Simpson, and writes:

Just like the last time we cycled to the A5 Rangers Club-House in Towcester (for the CTC Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes AGM), four wet riders met in the pouring rain at Hunsbury.  This time we were Ian, David, Phil L and our leader Bill.  This time the venue was hosting the annual Cyclists’ Jumble Sale!

Again, we didn’t hang about after 9.30 a.m. and Bill set a good pace to get us to Towcester and dry shelter!  It was the first time I’d been to this annual event and it was fascinating – not just for the items for sale but for the coffee and cake and, of course, the conversations with old friends.

IMGP5682The plan was always that we would make our ways home independently.  Phil pretty much turned round for the return leg straightaway; David must have followed him shortly afterwards; and Bill was to head for a cycle shop in Milton Keynes.

I had two lots of coffee and cake and felt fortified enough not just to skip lunch at Greens Norton (my original plan) but to add to that part of the loop by going through Abthorpe, Slapton and Bradden as well.  Route here.

From Hunsbury back to Hunsbury, this was 26 miles.  Add to and from home, and I enjoyed a damp but worthwhile 37 miles.

Footnote: returning to the town centre down Towcester Road, I stopped to photograph two houses which a friend who grew up in the area told me were the only houses built in a proposed Northampton Garden Suburb.  Photos and more details in my personal blog here.