Morning ride to Staverton – Saturday 11th February

Phil L is leading this ride and writes:

Start time: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Overslade Close, East Hunsbury, NN4 0RZ
Length: 43 miles (brisk), 35 miles (moderate)
Refreshments: Skylark Farm Café (25 miles)

Our route takes us via Gayton, Pattishall, Litchborough and Newnham to a new coffee stop for us: the Skylark Farm Café at Staverton.

We return via Newnham, Daventry, Norton, Whilton and Flore.

Milton will be leading the moderate ride; we will all be meeting at the café for elevenses.

Questions?  Phil is on 07867 388592.

Saturday morning rides – 27th August – A Report

Milton went out on Saturday and writes

Ten of us met up at East Hunsbury for James’s 40 mile tour through some of the more rural parts of western Northants to coffee at Daventry Country Park. Six opted for the brisk ride led, in the absence of James through injury, by Giles, and four for the moderate paced effort led by Iain. On a showery day, only once were we soaked, on the outward journey, and that was by a short sharp downpour around Preston Capes. As ever it took me until the shower was over and I was drenched to find and put on my waterproof jacket. Are there Di2 versions for the likes of me?

The brisk group kept up a fine spanking pace until Newnham hill when some of us came as close as it gets to a wheezing halt without actually falling off. Thank you Giles and Chris for waiting for us at the top – could you look a little more knackered next time?

We were soon safely seated at the country park and after about half an hour joined by the moderate group who had also had a pleasant time until the hill. Can’t it be levelled somehow?

Coffee and cake and bacon and egg butties (7/10 from Giles)  and the brisk group were off to battle home on the lovely route through Whilton, Great Brington, Upper Harlestone and down through Upton to the river and home. We were only caught by another shower just as we got to our homes, although I understand the moderate group had a bit of a dousing along the riverside.

Good to have Chris out for his third run and to see Hartley for the first time in a while. Iain D sported a new machine which, on passing Leisure Lakes Bikes, was taken in for some minor brake adjustment (as in “I had no brakes!”, which they sorted without quibble or charge despite me not having bought the bike from them! So many thanks to the staff there – Iain). How many people conspire to have a mechanical outside a bike shop?

Thank you leaders both –  Iain and Giles, and we look forward to Giles getting the promised reading glasses so that he can see his Garmin better, although, as he hasn’t a clue how to work it, I can’t imagine what difference it’ll make!

Ride Report – Sunday 17th May

Phil J led this ride and writes:

A sunny but windy day greeted the seven riders at East Hunsbury for this second club ride to Draycote Water this year. They included new boys Norman and Geoff as well as recent newcomer Tim.

Assembling at the start in East Hunsbury

Assembling at the start in East Hunsbury

Once over the cycle paths at Pineham, which allowed everyone to warm up, we hit the road proper at Harpole culminating in the short sharp climb onto the Roman Road. The next few miles around Harlestone allowed all the riders to recover before the long haul up to the top of Brington Hill where we saw other cyclists reaching the top just ahead of us.

The journey through the village of Whilton was pleasant and the fast decent into Whilton Locks even better although we did seem to have no choice but to pedal downhill due to the force of the wind. The sun seemed to have long gone at this point too.

The gated roads from Norton beckoned and apart from the first corner of gravel posed no problems for the group and were virtually traffic-free. We pressed on towards Welton at a steady pace and onto Barby before an impromptu stop outside Barby Nurseries for everyone to take on whatever fuels they needed.

On the move again we soon hit decent road conditions over the border into Warwickshire and another long haul towards the main road into town. Cycle paths provided much welcome protection from the busy road into Dunchurch before the last mile or two on the A426 into Draycote Water.

All but one of us chose the much talked about Draycote scones – some riders even suggesting they could eat two! At this point Geoff decided that he would make his own way back home and so the six of us set off on the return journey.

View of bikes, dam and reservoir from Draycote Water café

View of bikes, dam and reservoir from Draycote Water café

The lane through Grandborough was welcomed by the group as new tarmac seemed to have been laid for a good couple of miles. Willoughby was then next en route where we slowed to admire some fantastic classic cars assembled by the side of the road. We cruised through Braunston before re-joining the route we had come in on just outside Welton.

The gated roads on the way back provided one of the biggest climbs of the day with a two-tier climb before eventually reaching Norton again. A byway was the next part of the ride and proved interesting in a number of ways. Two fast descents with plenty of gravel at the base of each provided a hair raising experience for us but we all escaped unscathed. The surface then became more off road than road as we slewed and slid our way out the other side and again nobody came unstuck.

Back on solid ground we skirted around Brockhall and onto Flore with another climb or two to keep things interesting. The pace then gathered somewhat through Nether Heyford and Bugbrooke but everyone regrouped towards Rothersthorpe for the final push home. With nobody opting to go their own way all six riders returned to the start but not before climbing “Mount Tesco” – a great achievement with almost 60 miles in our legs.

Great riding everyone!

Ride report – Sunday 18th January

Phil J led this ride to Draycote Water and writes:

Just three riders decided to brave the biting cold on this day ride to Draycote Water which looked promising initially as the sun was shining early on.  We plummeted down into the valley and the temperatures followed as the sun went behind gloomy skies.

We spun across Pineham’s smooth cycle paths, aware of the ground frost on the excellent surfaces.  Harpole presented the first real road riding culminating in a heart thumping climb out of the village and onto the Roman road.

We levelled off for a while through Harlestone and the Firs before a combination of climbing and fast descending around Althorp.

Heading towards Whilton we toyed with the idea of having an impromptu café stop at Whilton Locks just to warm us up in the difficult conditions but we decided to stick to the plan and head for Barby instead.  The gated roads at Norton posed no problems and were traffic-free as we looked forward to the comfort of the cafe at The Willows.

Once inside the options were given to carry on riding or return home. Phil L who had been struggling with the cold, sensibly decided to return home.  Dave and I decided to continue on to Draycote.

On leaving the cafe the sun came out lifting the mood of the group as did the “4 miles to Dunchurch” sign shortly after.  Crossing the border into Warwickshire we were greeted with freshly laid tarmac which helped our progress towards the reservoir.  At the A426 we used the designated cycle paths to keep us safe with hardly anybody else using them.

The main road through Dunchurch seemed easy as was the last mile or two into Draycote Water using the busy A426.

We were greeted with a busy reservoir and had to wait to be seated at the restaurant.  So we opted for bracing balcony seating giving us a table straight away.

Ride leader!

Ride leader!

Hot soup and tea warmed us up as well as eating the biggest jam and cream scones we had ever seen.

Ride.  Eat cake.  Sleep.  Repeat.

Ride. Eat cake. Sleep. Repeat.

Suitably refuelled we retraced our steps back towards the town and the route back to Barby.  On the way the inevitable happened.  I hit a patch of ice and briefly slewed before righting myself again without falling.  A close call.

With the sun still shining the route back seemed better but it was still very cold and difficult to feel any benefit.

We continued past Whilton Locks to the last real climb of the day to the top of the Roman road and we both climbed admirably.

At Harpole Dave continued on to Duston whilst I followed the same route back over Pineham and Hunsbury Meadows, calling it a day there and cleverly avoiding the need to climb “Mount Tesco” back to the official start.

This was a tough challenge today due to the cold conditions but we did superbly whatever our distance.

Well done!