Brian went on this ride led by Iain D and writes:
A select group of four riders left Moulton at 9.00 a.m. on an overcast but warm and humid morning for a full day’s ride. Soon after Sywell we met rolling hills through Mears Ashby, Castle Ashby and on to Olney, on relatively quiet roads. Here we stopped for coffee and sat outside in the café courtyard enjoying toasted tea cakes as the sun came out. Showing just how small the world is Anne and Ken discovered that they had both grown up in the same area of Lancashire. The hills of Northamptonshire apparently have nothing on those in the north west!! This was to be well tested later in the ride.
From Olney we headed north-east to Turvey and on to Carlton where we did a loop to Odell, Sharnbrook and through the picturesque village of Bletsoe before we turned back though Milton Ernest and more quiet roads. We returned to the Emmaus Centre at Carlton for lunch at 1.00 p.m. The weather was now warming up with blue skies and highs of 23C. We were ready for a break.
After a very convivial lunch we headed up to Poddington and Wollaston before dropping into the Nene valley at Great Doddington. From here it was all uphill via Wilby to Sywell which was the highest point on the ride, not that it was an obvious summit finish.
We arrived in Moulton at 3.45 p.m. after a pleasant day in the saddle. Ideal cycling weather, summer at last! Thanks to Iain for devising and leading the ride.
Iain D, our Chairman, led this ride and writes:
By 9.30 a.m. on Sunday, a group of eight cyclists had assembled by Moulton Co-Op. I say “by 9.30” as everyone had turned out early. Whether that was down to the allure of a day’s ride in unseasonably warm temperatures or just due to the strong wind blowing up from town, I don’t know.
We had that wind at our backs as we headed away from Moulton towards Sywell, through Earls Barton and down over the Hardwater crossing of the Nene. The road from Wollaston to Irchester provided a bit of a challenge for the lighter riders as we’d shifted round so that the wind was now coming from the side. In gusts. Straight lines were not the order of the day.
But we survived and Geoff, temporarily taking the lead, guided us through Higham Ferrers and out along the newly-surfaced Greenway over the Nene. We paused to ponder Irthlingborough’s lantern church, so far inland, and that, plus the wind and the marshy nature of the flood plain, did prompt one rider to comment on the “coastal” nature of the ride. We have it all here in Northamptonshire, folks!
The climb away from Irthlingborough was painless, the wind having reverted to being our friend, and we made very good time to Woodford Mill for brunch. The Nene was running a bit high and throwing the odd bit of spray our way but it was still pleasant to be sitting out in the garden in the February sun. And the jacket potatoes were excellent.
Now, with ineluctable logic, s/he who rides with the wind must also ride against it at some point and so we left the lee of Woodford Mill, turned our collective face to the wind and set off back to Moulton, heading first past Cranford and then over the A14 to the sheltering urban landscape of Burton Latimer. From there to Holcot was pretty much unsheltered plain old-fashioned hard work I’m afraid. In fact, by the time we got to Orlingbury we had split into two groups as we took turns trying to hide behind each other. Still, we weren’t riding against the clock: we were on a Sunday Club ride, not a Saturday Brisk, and we had plenty of time in hand after our rapid earlier progress.
I’m pleased to say that we all made it back to Moulton – apart from Geoff who’d turned for home, as planned, at Burton Latimer – and in reasonable time too. Wind aside, the weather had been kind – warm, dry and bright for February.
Thanks to Brian for doing a sterling job as TEC in testing conditions!
Milton went on this ride led by Brian and writes:
On a fairly cold and windy but clear skied morning only three of us were at the Canoe Centre for the start. As it was one of the few dry starts of the past couple of months, it was surprising to see so few people. Perhaps we’ve got out of the habit in recent wet and windy times.
We set off to Cogenhoe and on to Grendon where we found Geoff waiting to join us – and on his “fixie” too, which he rode all day as if it had a multiplicity of gears! On to Wollaston to Poddington and to Melchbourne and Souldrop before stopping for our only break at the Garden Centre in Milton Ernest. The world’s most expensive cakes surprised us, but the newly re-furbished room was warm and welcoming and not too busy, so we forgave them the £3.00 bits of cake and ordered meat and potato pies instead.
We returned via Harrold, Bozeat and Castle Ashby and were back by 2.30 p.m. as promised.
Largely blown to Milton Ernest, we fought a stiff breeze for most of the way home, and, with 55 miles on my computer, we were pretty knackered.
The rain stayed largely where it should, in the clouds, and I think we had a cracking day of it. Lots of quiet country roads with little traffic meant it had been, unsurprisingly, well planned, and was well led, and our thanks, as ever, to Brian.
Iain D, our Chairman, went on this ride led by Brian, our Rides Secretary, and writes:
Eight of us gathered on a spectacularly warm – for early April – Monday morning at the Canoe Centre on Bedford Road, including two faces I’d not seen before and the ever-welcome Ken.
Brian led us out through Cogenhoe, Wollaston and Poddington where we encountered the first problem of the day: the Brompton – my ride for the day – didn’t want to make the turn at the bottom of Poddington’s hill. It was eventually persuaded round but the front tyre was looking rather empty. I think the two are linked.
Which leads me on to the second problem of the day, and a lesson for all of us: bring your tyre levers AND the right pump for the inner tube. Honestly, who puts a Presta valve on a 16″ tube ? Won’t be buying those again … . Anyway, thanks to Milton, we got rolling again fairly quickly and on to something I’m not used to – being passed by a bin wagon. A little reminder that we were out on a weekday, for a change.
The day’s route spent a few miles running against the grain on previous years’ Guy Barber route before cutting down to Sharnbrook and following the same in the more familiar direction, and since the café in Sharnbrook was closed, we looped over the A6 again and back to Milton Ernest for lunch at their fine garden centre.
Leaving Milton Ernest, we hit snag no. 3: Network Rail’s ongoing plan to raise bridges on the Midland Main Line. Rather annoyingly, the road closure signs promised 26 weeks of closure starting 03rd October last year. We’re now into week 27 and they’re a long way from done yet. I’m told the current estimate is completion by 31st May. Fortunately, there’s a well-trodden path across an adjacent OSR field that leads out to another road. Phew.
Carlton – Harrold – Bozeat – Castle Ashby and you know the rest. All completed without further mishap and not a single drop of rain.
Many thanks to Brian for a pleasant day’s outing and I promise to be better equipped next time out.
Milton went on this ride, led by Brian (our Secretary), and writes:
On a warm and wind free day, eight of us set off from the Canoe Centre on the Bedford Road. It was good to have Giles along for the first time in a couple of years as well as Colin and Nick. The rain promised to make an appearance all morning but largely stayed away.
We set off through Little Houghton and Cogenhoe and took the low road to Wollaston. Once through Wollaston, five of the more muscular sort headed off on a seven mile loop which skirted the Irchester suburbs, whilst us three weaklings headed directly to coffee at Castle Ashby via Bozeat and Easton Maudit.
The café at Castle Ashby served a fine selection of cakes, good coffee with tap water automatically supplied to the table (outside in the quadrangle in November !! – hardy types) and gave us, as cyclists, a significant discount! What’s not to like, as they say across the pond!
The larger group appeared twenty minutes after us having collected Eleanor along the way. There was a lot of talk about phone calls and neighbours popping round at the wrong time but it was clearly a long lie-in that was the reason for her late appearance!
Up to Whiston, up to Cogenhoe and home, on time, along the A45 path.
A fine mild day’s riding on some lovely quiet roads which all nine of us enjoyed. Thanks to Brian for leading!
Phil L led this ride on Saturday morning and writes:
The four of us who “braved” the elements for Saturday’s brisk ride mostly stayed dry – just a sprinkling of rain here and there but we did notice that good old cycling phenomenon – “wind that seems to get stronger and always hits you head on”! Does it ever swing round to push you home?
Anyway, we rode a nice loop out via Finedon and into Irchester Country Park for a coffee stop then back via Wollaston, Earls Barton and Sywell.
For me personally, it was good to be “pumping” the legs a bit so thanks guys for your support.