A cold ride on a cold day, with some anxiety about ice. 7 of us set off towards Burn Bridge, including Skipton Linda, whom I haven’t seen for quite some time. Postman Paul on a non-electric bike, the rest power-assisted. We crossed the A61 and started up Walton Head Lane where we encountered our first (and last) ice, requiring dismounting and walking carefully. Paul Blackham was waiting for us in Kirby Overblow, making two non-electrically-assisted Pauls. Through Kearby and Netherby towards Sicklinghall, but we then turned right on the small road towards Wood Hall Hotel. A very pleasant couple with two posh dogs offered to take our group photo, and we chatted for a while about dogs. Shortly after we encountered some more pleasant posh people on horses and exchanged brief greetings (we opened a gate for them). A short stop at the Hotel itself, and then down and up to Linton and Wetherby, where we struggled to find a café that could cope with the 8 of us. However, we found a small café called Elixir, run by an Iranian couple, which none of us had visited before. Not necessarily a top recommendation on a cold day and it did the job. On leaving Elixir, there was a slight delay when one of our members found that they had misplaced the key to their bike lock, and various plans were discussed about what we might do to solve the problem. Fortunately, the key was found (on the pavement) after a thorough search, and we wended our way back to Harrogate via Kirk Deighton, North Deighton and Spofforth. About 25 cold miles. Joe
It was a decidedly chilly morning with some trepidation about whether there were going to be icy patches around. As we went through the ginnel onto The Stray, we were very surprised to see very large patches of flooding probably caused by a faulty drain. The roads improved as we left Harrogate, and soon everyone was feeling more relaxed – enjoying the fine scenery in a clear winter light.
We were initially a group of six – Alison, Margaret, Liz F, Debby, Peter L, and me and then Paul T joined us at Knox. Our route took us towards Kettlesing and Menwith Hill where Peter left us to do a longer ride in the direction of Pateley Bridge. The rest of us cycled on towards Fewston where Alison and Margaret decided to carry on home, and Liz wanted to go back via Hampsthwaite. Paul, Debby, and I went to the Washburn tea rooms for a welcome warm break and the home-made fayre and very friendly staff made it a very pleasant stop. After that Paul said goodbye and Debby and I cycled back via Little Armscliffe. It was certainly welcome to get back to the warmth of home. 25 miles Monica Webber
Medium Plus Ride – Steady
Ooof, that was a chilly start! However, once we got past Knaresborough, we found a patch of sunshine that stayed with us all the way to Boroughbridge where we diverted briefly for a comfort stop. It was not a day for hanging about and we moved so swiftly that we were a bit too early for a break in Ripon and, in any event, it seemed good for morale to get the bulk of the climbing done before eating!
We loitered quite some time in the warmth and comfort of G&T’s at Risplith where we enjoyed a bit of a nostalgia fest! Peter B won the prize for the most distant memory of milk being delivered in churns on the back of a horse and cart; Mike W became all misty eyed, remembering outside toilets, the complexity of flushing them in the winter months and the joy of a pot de chambre; even Yvonne and I could remember the Rag and Bone man with his horse and cart. Poor Andy, our token young man, didn’t have the slightest idea what we were talking about! Anyway, before anyone launched into The Four Yorkshiremen sketch we put all our jumpers and jackets back on and ventured back outside. The sun and temperatures had dropped a bit but it was an easy second “half” of the ride with just enough of a hill to warm us up before the final descent into Ripley and a rather busy Greenway home.
We did the advertised 40 miles and had a most enjoyable, bracing winter ride with blue skies and light winds. What more could you possibly want?! Yvonne is now heading for the Caribbean and I am heading for North Norfolk so, see you all in February, by which time there might be some early lambs. Distance 41miles and 2,200 ft. Helen T
Medium Plus Ride – Brisk
Was it the weather? The frozen puddles at The Showground suggested caution was required and the 4 riders for Route 201 went gingerly down to Knaresborough & along Abbey Road; but it turned out that almost all of the route up to Skelton and beyond had been gritted. Before then we passed by a flock of fieldfare (Turdus Pilaris – I kid you not) around Staveley. Fieldfares are on the conservation Red List in the U.K. & come to these shores in the winter for food – their name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘feldware’ which meant ‘traveller of the fields.’ Past Ripon and onto Galphay & then G&Ts with David, Mark, Tall Tim & Clive all taking turns on the front. By the time we emerged from the café it was well above freezing [all of 3° you mean – Ed] but it took some time to get the legs working again. Hebden Bank was as tough as the last time we went up it & then down into Harrogate. 40.0 miles; max speed 36.8 m.p.h. – madness given the conditions. Young Tim