Ride review – Sunday 19th February

Phil J led this ride and writes:

Seven riders gathered at the start for this undulating ride to Naseby including new rider Peter B on his first group ride.

The first descent out of the blocks had a surprising headwind which seemed to be present on a few more of our subsequent drops.  Once through the eco village of Upton, St Crispin’s provided the first unlikely climb of the day as we settled into the ride.

We levelled off towards Harlestone before we all got into the small chainring and the slow grind up Church Brampton.

Sedgebrook Hall passed by during another long haul which split the group a bit and took us up to the Market Harborough road and the route to Pitsford.  A rapid descent on the busy road was then quickly followed by another testing rise to the entrance of Pitsford Water.

Through Brixworth the group went, when Phil L and I suddenly found ourselves on our own.  We’d turned left in full view of the rest of the group but they continued over. Head scratching ensued before the group appeared from another direction much to our relief and amusement.

The fast downhill on the Spratton road came next with Milton suggesting this could be one of the fastest downhills in the area.  We all took full advantage of the opportunity and headed for Spratton.  The bridge closure wasn’t on our route and we climbed uninterrupted through the village before regrouping at the top for a well earned breather and refuelling.

Over the Welford Road another opportunity to test the descending skills.  We dropped swiftly towards Teeton and as expected we soon started to climb as the road ramped up once more.

The journey to Guilsborough was perfect “active recovery” and we enjoyed the dry country roads and comfortable speeds.  The road to Cold Ashby seemed rather more caked in dried mud but it was pleasant nonetheless as we started to see the signs for Naseby.

With another couple of miles in our legs All Saints church at Naseby came into view.  We arrived at The Old Vicarage café just as some cyclists were leaving but they insisted they had left some cakes for us.

With renovations underway outside we were lead along the corridor to possibly the grandest venue we may have ever had refreshments in.  A large dining room with a table that was almost impossible to reach over due to its huge size and a chandelier over the centre.  We almost expected a butler to start serving us but various group members took that role upon themselves.  The service was equally splendid and the food exquisite.

The loop continued through the Cottesbrooke estate and probably the most hair raising descent of the day.  Plenty of gravel and uneven tarmac at the base making it a heart in mouth situation just before entering the village.  All safely down and the gated road to Brixworth lead us to the steep climb back into the centre and onto Pitsford once again.

Four of us were lured by a second stop at the Willow Tree Café whilst the remaining three continued home.

The rest of the ride back mirrored the ride out with another mix of testing ascending and fast descending.

This was a pretty difficult ride today with over 3000ft of climbing but all riders performed superbly.

Ride Report – Sunday 3rd April

Phil J led this ride and writes:

Four riders undeterred by the prospect of a testing loop through Naseby joined me on an overcast morning at East Hunsbury.  Alex and Andrew joined regulars Brian and Ian M to make the foursome.  All of us were unaware of the drama to unfold later that afternoon.
Upton and St Crispin’s provided the urban backdrop to the start of the ride before reaching familiar ground through Harlestone and the Bramptons.  The climb through Church Brampton was the first real test for the group but we all pretty much arrived at the summit in unison.

Onwards at a leisurely pace we passed Sedgebrook Hall before reaching the A508 followed by another steep climb into Brixworth Country Park for a well-earned tea stop.  Milton was already there in the Spring sunshine and we duly joined him whilst one or two of the group looked in at Pitsford Cycles adjacent to the cafe.

On the move again, now six strong, we blazed down the steep gradient at the back of Brixworth where a slight breeze kept our speed down just a little.  It wasn’t long before we were in low gears again though as we grinded up the long haul to Spratton which splintered the group a bit.  Regrouping at the top we headed for another fast descent skirting Teeton before hitting another rise on the way to Guilsborough.  The roads then flattened out for a while and we all enjoyed the scenic views as we cruised along the quiet country lanes in the now glorious sunshine.

Once through Guilsborough we turned for Cold Ashby on more scenic roads and another fast downhill to enjoy.  Andrew headed the group and soon reported that he had hit a pothole that he was unable to see.  The rest of us avoided it.  A pinch puncture was the inevitable result and we all came to a stop although there are worse places to have a puncture than our picturesque location and nobody was in any rush to carry on!  The change of inner tube didn’t go as straightforwardly as it should have but with one or two tubes and a number of pumps to hand we finally got on our way again.

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Puncture repair? Or a chance for a rest in the sunshine?

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Our ride leader (left) demonstrates his ability with a pump after Andrew (right) suffered after hitting a pothole!

We reached Cold Ashby and the road to Naseby.  Or so we thought!  As we reached the main A road we spotted a large sign pointing us back a mile or two for Naseby and the battle site.  Having ridden the route before, I was sure we were going the right way despite the sign but, convinced by the group that I had taken a wrong turn, we headed back to the last junction and beyond only to see another sign to Naseby pointing in the opposite direction!  We headed back the way we had gone initially and Andrew realised that the large sign on the crossing had indeed been hit by something and was spinning freely.  He dismounted and pointed it in the right direction. Puzzle solved!

A couple of miles later we arrived in Naseby at the Old Vicarage right opposite All Saints Church.  Eleanor had already arrived and was relaxing in the lovely grounds.  We all sat down and enjoyed lunch together in the open air.

Andrew decided after lunch to make a beeline for home on a direct route whilst Eleanor joined us for the planned ride back.  Through Cottesbrooke we avoided riders and runners on a local triathlon event and made our way through lovely surroundings and onto the gated road for Brixworth.  The inevitable climb back was next before six became one as everyone except me headed for Holcot and their own way home!

I pushed on through one or two more climbs and continued on the route back home.  I called it a day at Hunsbury Meadows and avoided the last climb of the day back to the start.  A dramatic day – what with one thing and another – with plenty of climbs and impressive descending from all the riders.

Well done everyone!

Ride to Naseby – Sunday 3rd April

Phil J is leading this ride and writes:

Start: 9.30 a.m.
Start point: East Hunsbury (Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ)
Distance: 45 miles
Two refreshment stops

From East Hunsbury we’ll head towards the urban areas of Upton and St Crispin’s before winding our way through Harlestone and the Bramptons.  With one or two climbs behind us, we’ll soon arrive at Brixworth Country Park for our first well-earned pit stop at the Willow Tree Café with the Pitsford Cycles Shop.

On the move again, the fast descent at the back of Brixworth is then followed by the long haul up to Spratton.  Guilsborough and Cold Ashby follow soon afterwards, on quiet country lanes.  All Saints Church at Naseby will then be on the horizon where we’ll stop either at the cafe or use the convenience store nearby.  Please bring your own snacks just in case we miss both!  (Another stop back at Brixworth is an option as we return.)

The loop continues through Haselbech and the Cottesbrooke estate before climbing back into Brixworth again.  From there we’ll pretty much retrace our steps back to Harlestone before turning for a short stretch along the Roman Road.  Another fast descent through Harpole brings us to Pineham with its wide cycle paths over to Hunsbury Meadows leaving us with just a mile or so back to the start.

It’s a bit of a climber this one. Last time out Brian rode with me and clocked it at around 3000ft of climbing. But with pit stops along the way, you should be able to fuel yourself round without too many problems.

Hope to see you there!

Phil is on 07927 377191.

Ride Report – Saturday 30th November

Phil L led this ride and writes:

I think for the four of us who rode today, it was quite refreshing to ride a fair bit off-road and without having to constantly be on the lookout for wayward drivers.  So, having dusted off our mountain bikes, we took a route in the morning sunshine which linked the parks of Delapre, Becketts, Sixfields, Upton, Hunsbury Hill and Grange emerging not far from Salcey Forest for a loop of the woods and a coffee stop.

Our return via bridleway to Piddington and Brackmills Cycle Network didn’t take too long despite some interesting wheel-gripping sections of mud on-route.

An enjoyable change.  So a “New Year’s” resolution: do more off road!

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!