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.

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!!

Ride report – Sunday 6th December

James went on this ride led by Ian and writes:

Eight of us left the Canoe Centre on a blustery but rain-free Sunday morning to cycle south in the direction of Cranfield and our designated coffee stop, the Bike Bus.  After heading out of Brackmills on the A428, our legs and lungs were soon tested by the climb through Great Houghton, an ascent made all the more arduous by the strength of the wind that turned out to be a constant, yet unwelcome companion.

The main section of our outward journey was spent on the undulating B526. Passing through an assortment of pleasant villages such as Stoke Goldington and Gayhurst, we eventually turned on to the Sherington Road heading towards North Crawley.  This latter stage was enlivened by two things.  Firstly, the prospect of knowing we were soon to stop for coffee.  And, secondly, the sight of numerous sweaty runners wearing tormented expressions as they wheezed their way through the eight mile point of the Bedford Harriers’ Half Marathon …

We could tell when we were close to our resting point because of the increased presence of light aircraft preparing to descend into Cranfield Airport.  Nonetheless, this and the fact that our coffee stop was a big red double-decker bus didn’t prevent us cycling straight past it.  Fortunately, the error was quickly noticed, and it wasn’t long before we were sitting on the top deck fortifying ourselves with strong coffee, bacon rolls and the obligatory slices of artery clogging cake.

Bike Bus Loyalty Card

Bike Bus Loyalty Card – front & reverse

Reinvigorated, we got back in our saddles and started the return trip to Northampton via Newton Blossomville, Emberton and Olney.  Again, the route was pleasantly undulating, but the wind gusty.  On the plus side, the clouds started to give way to the occasional glimpse of blue and the sun made a few guest appearances.  The temptation to take a second coffee break at Olney was quickly voted down when we saw how crowded the town was.  The usual Sunday afternoon antique collectors being supplemented by families out to enjoy the annual Christmas Fair.

Given the crowds, it was unsurprising that the road out of Olney was busy, and it was with some relief that after crossing the A428 at Yardley Hastings we were soon back on some quieter stretches that took us through Castle Ashby and on towards the ‘Col de Cogenhoe’.  Whilst short, the climb itself is very steep and our efforts clearly weren’t helped by the conditions.  It was whilst in Cogenhoe – after regrouping and rediscovering how to breathe – that some of us said our farewells and cycled off in various homeward bound directions.  The remainder carried on, via Little Houghton, back to our starting point at the Canoe Centre.  Overall, a very enjoyable ride made all the more fun by the discovery of such a unique coffee stop!

Ride Report – Saturday 23rd November

Iain, our rides secretary, went on this ride led by Phillip G and writes:

An overcast start to the morning meant that we would, at least, be riding without fear of drivers being blinded by the sun.  It also meant that our leader had much to do to keep us motivated. Seven of us were motivated enough to be there at the start but there had been mention of shortcuts.

We departed East Hunsbury fairly briskly on the usual route out through Blisworth to Roade and from there past the pub at Ashton where the Christmas meal is being held this year. There did seem to be a fair amount of mud on the junctions round here, not that it caused us any problems, but it is that time of year so take a bit of care if you’re out that way.

We made it over the rail line to Long Street in good time and nobody opted for the shortcut, so Phillip’s route must have been keeping our spirits up, besides which it wasn’t cold enough to cause problems – once you’re moving, that is. It was rather chilly whenever we stopped.

We looped south through Hanslope and back up again to Stoke Goldington, passing Olney signs on the way, before escaping from the Milton Keynes district to cut across the middle of Salcey Forest and head to the café for coffee. The café was doing good trade for a winter’s morning and there were even a couple of non-cyclists in there, though they were hugely outnumbered.

Between Salcey and Quinton, we passed the construction entrance for the M1 Windfarm that’s currently under development and which will boast nine smaller-than-planned turbines by the time it’s finished. At Quinton the group split. Riders from the east side of town opted to avoid the west turn to Courteenhall, as did Rowan who, with a dangling front light, was opting for the shortest route home, leaving a much reduced group to brave the A508 between two lovely stretches of country lane. That road doesn’t get any better, which is a shame because the lanes to and from it are lovely and very quiet.

The stretch back through Blisworth to East Hunsbury brought us up to the 29 mile mark, according to my route planner, rounding off a very pleasant, briskish, winter’s morning ride.

Thanks to Phillip for organising the route.

Morning ride – Saturday 23rd November

Philip G will be leading this ride and writes:

Join CTC Northampton for a brisk(ish) ride to Salcey Forest this Saturday, 23 November 2013.
The route will take us south-east through Roade and Hanslope to Gayhurst, then back north-west through Stoke Goldington to Salcey. There is the option for a teastop at Salcey Café, after which we return to the start via the pretty Courteenhall Road. The aim is to ride with as few stops as possible, at a good but sensible pace for the time of year (12-14 mph). Terrain is reasonably flat apart from Hunsbury Hill and Roade to Hanslope. Road bikes are ideal.
The full distance will be 27 miles – with various optional shortcuts available.
The weather forecast is cool (2 to 5 degrees C) but dry with a light northerly wind, and potentially some sunshine.
Ride starts from East Hunsbury (Overslade Close, near Hunsbury Library) at 9.30 am.
Hope to see you there!