Ride Report – Sunday 29th November

Brian, our Secretary, went on the “Double Pit-Stop” ride led by Phil J and writes:

Despite early morning rain, four riders started in the dry from East Hunsbury.  The first pit-stop was coffee at Pitsford Reservoir and we had a good tail wind most of the way, via Upton (mainly on cycle paths), Harlestone, Chapel Brampton to Brixworth.  A strong cross wind on the A508 really had us hanging on the bars and it was a relief to get to the café. The welcome break was followed by a return to Brixworth.  Phil L left us here to return to domestic duties.  At Teeton Dave departed for home.  The sky was very overcast and looked as if it could drop a lot of rain at any time.  However, we had no rain at all and the temperature was mild for the time of year.  Our only challenge was the wind and a few hills as we then made our way (now down to two riders) via Guilsborough, Cold Ashby to Naseby – our half way point.

We were tempted to stop here for a break at the vicarage café when we found the village shop had closed at noon, just 10 minutes before we arrived.  But, with the wind howling in the trees, we decided to eat our emergency rations instead and head on via Haselbech to Cottesbrooke and then on to Brixworth for a third time. Unsurprisingly we encountered hardly any traffic.

Deciding against a second pit-stop by the reservoir we returned along a busy A508 before turning off to the Bramptons and Harlestone.  Phil and I split up at Sixfields, to get home in good light and before the heavy rain came later that afternoon.

It was quite a hilly ride but the key feature was the very strong wind.  Because of the changes in our direction we had a real mixed bag of head- tail- and cross-winds all day, none lasting for many miles before it changed again.

It was a good winter route on quiet lanes which were never that far from Northampton so that if the weather had broken we could easily have
headed for home.  Thanks to Phil for a good ride!

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Leisure ride report – Saturday 10th January

Nick went on this ride, led by Milton (our Secretary), and writes:

Six cyclists converged at the meeting point, Moulton Co-op, having all received their first soaking of the day (second if they had taken a shower before leaving home).  Not the greatest of starts to a leisure ride but everyone was in good spirits and looking forward to the “lumps” (as Milton described them) that lay ahead.  Wind was another feature of this ride, the meteorological kind, that is.  Scotland had taken a huge battering overnight.  The Midlands faired better but it nevertheless proved challenging when passing holes in the hedge on the first section to Holcot.  It was not long before we took a break, about three quarters of a mile actually, when Giles suffered a flat rear [tyre] which necessitated a delay to the half of the group who stayed to help.  Quickly fixed and that ever present lesson “cheap tyre levers are a worthless investment” learned, we shot off in pursuit of our leader and the two Brians, one of whom was making his CTC ride debut.  Hope we see you again soon, Brian!

Turning west at Holcot it became apparent that the wind really was the dominant factor in the day’s weather.  Having to pedal downhill always feels so wrong but today was necessary in order to maintain sufficient forward motion to stay upright.  The climb up to Brixworth proved a real leg tester.  In the village we rejoined Milton who had kindly waited, and coincidently found the time to down a coffee and a sausage roll.  Chapeau!

Across to Spratton and then Teeton where we rejoined the two Brians.  The weather was slowly becoming brighter with spells of sunshine and the occasional rainbow.  Turning south at Teeton the going whilst still lumpy became a little easier.  It was not long before we arrived at the Stables Coffee Shop in Church Brampton where we were joined by John, who not fancying the ride had travelled by car.  Why have I never thought of doing that?
After refuelling we departed back towards Moulton via Pitsford, an easterly direction that ensured that we were wind assisted all the way back.

It was pretty tough going for a leisure ride, but nevertheless thoroughly enjoyable.
Thanks to Milton for planning and leading the ride!

Ride Report – Sunday 5th January

Ian M went on this ride today and writes:

It was lovely to get back riding with the group today. When we met at the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / A5199 crossing, the temperature was just above freezing. Although there were occasional slushy bit of ice early on, we were to be very fortunate with the weather. Two leaders (Bill and Brian) marshalled eight riders – including one new rider from Brixworth – and numbers were to fluctuate as there were joiners at Waterloo Farm Café and leavers at Sibbertoft. Bill was leading those who had booked the New Year’s Lunch at Sibbertoft Reading Room; Brian promised to lead home those who hadn’t booked! Rowan made sure that females were represented.

A unanimous vote chose an on-road route to Waterloo Farm. We CTC members don’t seem to like the BVW (well, not in this weather).

Bill took us up through Spratton and Creaton where we left the A5199 to head to Cottesbrooke and Kelmarsh – where we joined the A508 to Great Oxendon and the café. Reasonably sized refreshments were eaten at this point – even by those faced with only a short ride to lunch. Iain D, who joined us at this point, thought that a balmy 36F didn’t merit more than a t-shirt and a hi-via waistcoat – although he did wear long trousers rather than shorts!

Elevenses at Waterloo Farm Café

Elevenses at Waterloo Farm Café

A larger group pedalled after the café, heading via Clipston to Sibbertoft and there we split. Brian kindly made sure there were several more hills for those of us riding home at this point. Naseby, Thornaby, Guilsborough and Holdenby were conquered. The rain – forecast for days – only began between Teeton and Holdenby and then only gently! True to his plan, Brian led us back to our starting point just before 2.00 p.m.

A hearty thank you to Bill and Brian; and personal thanks from me to you all for your splendid company!

Our route is here on RideWithGPS.

Ride Report – Sunday 8th December

Phil L went on this ride, led by our secretary Brian, and writes:

The weather was kind to us again for the ride: sunshine and pretty mild considering the time of year.  So the four of us who set off to explore the northern reaches of Northamptonshire were in good spirits.  The route was good and straightforward  – at least until we got near Desborough where someone had thoughtlessly built the A6 by-pass which didn’t feature on our maps.  So this required a bit of cycle-cross trail finding to get across to the village of Braybrooke via a rather overgrown, rutted minor path. Still we made it without p*nct*ring and visited the Farndon Fields Farm Shop for brunch.
The route back via Naseby and Teeton was described by our leader as “downhill all the way” which, if true, means either I’m weakening or he’s got problems with his eyesight! Undulating perhaps?!

Good ride!  Thanks Brian!

Report – Ride on Sunday 17th February

Ian Macsporran led this ride and writes:

On a beautifully sunny morning, nine riders gathered at the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) crossing with the A5199 at 9.30 a.m. (and a tenth was waiting for the group at the Waterloo Farm Café).  Iain D, Brian, David, Eleanor, Phil L were joined by Malcolm, Hartley and Vikki – these three being guest riders out to see what we were like.  Bill was waiting at the café.  I had chosen, in retrospect a bit of a leg-stretching ride: only 45 miles but plenty of bumps.  I had no excuse, having recce’d it only two days earlier.

Before elevenses,the high spot (literally) was pausing at Naseby Church.  Every route in to Naseby seems to involve a considerable climb.  But the sunshine and the company made it pleasant work.  We reached the café – at 18 miles – at 11.15 a.m.  I’d booked a table for eight at the Foxton Locks Inn and, by phoning ahead at this stage, was able to increase it to ten.  Through East Farndon (downhill for once – as Iain noted) and Lubenham was delightful.  We reached the locks at 12.30 p.m.

The inn was fully booked for lunches, and there was a queue – so it was good to have a table set for ten waiting for us; and a helpful waitress bringing us drinks and meals.

Leaving Foxton at 1.30 p.m. we went on some lanes new to most of the group – to Theddingworth and Sibbertoft from the north. We climbed up to Naseby again and enjoyed the fast descent.  Then the last big climb of the day was up into Guilsborough.  One or two pimples brought seven of us back through Teeton and Holdenby to the BVW and the A5199 by 3.40 p.m.  (Iain, Eleanor and Bill had peeled off at appropriate points.)

Everyone claimed to have enjoyed the route but, as a distinguished music critic once said that an orchestra is nothing without listeners, so a planned route is nothing without riders.  My thanks are heartfully felt to my nine fellow pedallers.  I hope that Malcolm, Hartley and Vikki join us again.

 

Report on recce for Sunday 17th February ride

I’m glad I left my recce to the last minute.  Today was the nicest biking weather for quite a while.

Start from the Brampton Valley Way near The Windhover at 9.30 a.m.  Elevenses at Waterloo Farm Café.  Lunch at Foxton Locks Inn.  Return to The Windhover.

Out via Holdenby, Spratton, Creaton, Cottesbrooke, Naseby and Clipston to Great Oxendon at the Waterloo Farm Café  .Don’t be alarmed by the A5199 between Spratton and Creaton; we’ll use the dual-use path on the eastern side.

On via East Farndon and Lubeham to Foxton Locks.

Return via Theddingworth, Sibbertoft, Naseby, Guilsborough, Teeton and Holdenby to The Windhover.  There’s a short stretch of A road (the A4304) just before Theddingworth; it’s about ½-a-mile and the only A road on the whole day.

That makes it a very narrow figure-of-eight centered on Naseby.  As I was a history teacher for forty years, I can’t get enough of Naseby.  One of the three most important battles in English history!  (The other two being the Battle of Hastings and the Battle of Britain.)  Riding the area on a bike is a close to seeing the view from 17th-century horseback as you’ll ever get.  You appreciate why, at dawn on the day of the battle, both sides raced to control Naseby church with the view from its spire.  Fairfax’s own view on the ground is magnificent enough!

Some may want to join us at Waterloo Farm.  Some may want to say goodbye at Foxton Locks.  Timings:  if we leave The Windhover at, or shortly after, 9.30 a.m., we’ll reach Waterloo Farm at approximately 11.00 a.m.  A table is booked at Foxton Locks Inn at 12.30 p.m.  If we leave Foxton Locks at, say, 1.30 p.m. then we’ll be back at The Windhover at 3.20 p.m.

If anyone needs afternoon tea, then Seatons at Guilborough will be open and serving hot drinks, although I was given the impression that hot drinks would be from a machine.  Certainly the café space there is much reduced since I last visited.  I got the impression it was under new owners.  We’ll be in Guilsborough at about 2.40 p.m.

Distance: just over 45 miles.  Route on Endomondo here.

Here’s the Foxton Locks Inn’s menu for Sunday.  There’s a range of roasts and Sunday dinners at one end, with filled warm baguettes at the other end.  Today, I had a pint (of very good real ale) and a filled baguette.

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IMAG0209I hope to see lots of you on Sunday morning!

“Phil’s Hills” – Saturday 26th October – Report

Phil Letts led this ride and writes:

There was a healthy-looking group of seven riders who braved the start of the cold weather for yesterday’s dash round the ‘hills’ out Teeton/Creaton way. It was good to ride with some of the triathletes from Antoinette’s club – hope they come again!

Legs were beginning to ache as we hit the last bank – the short 18% but tough slope at back of Teeton but a coffee stop at Brampton gave us the real ‘hit’ we needed!