The weather this morning had taken a turn for the better and no rain or gusting winds so head for them hills Liz. My troops consisted of three Mikes, two Steve’s, one David, Marwood, Julie and our gallant unsung hero Colin doing a great job as the back marker.
Leaving Hornbeam two Tim’s and ANO from the fast group who were turning left, diverted to our lane and briefly joined us before heading off I think basically following route 259. No floods on the Greenway, the river had receded and on to Ripley where I regathered the troops. A few puzzled over why we were not at Knox, but as the leader I knew where I was going on my old technology a piece of paper, but Mike’s Garmin told us to go back.
No dissent in the ranks, we cycled through Hollybank Woods, my encounter with the fallen tree on Sunday, it was now chopped up and stored at the side of the cleared path. Down to Hampsthwaite and right up to Clapham Green which took a few by surprise. At the top we turned left, confusion reigned as to where and which road but after a few handbrake turns we were back on route. Along the high ridge line with good views over Menwith and Darley. A stop for Steve to stretch his leg after slight cramp attacked him, it was the hills!! Electric Mike thought I had my route written on the back of a fag packet, as I perused it. Mike W confirmed with his Garmin that we were correct. My dinosaur technology was still going strong. Julie and Marwood left to get his teeth into something or was it the dentist!
Now we were heading for Stonehouse crossroads where I have many a mutiny of ‘No more hills Liz’, I think I will have it renamed Mutiny Hills crossroads. Not sure what happened but I missed Thurscross reservoir loop, I wonder if the men had ganged up and turned right towards Thornthwaite This is one of my favourite lanes and again high up as we cycled on to Darley. Mike P, David and Steve departed as we went into the café for refreshments at Darley PO. After refreshments, great banter and laughter as I told of my ‘daring do’ tales from flying army helicopters over Salisbury Plains and Electric Mike’s recalling his Dad’s explosive encounters it was time to hit the road again.
It was decided to go over the toll bridge and up Stripe Lane. In Darley we meet the two Tim’s fixing Tall Tim’s bike as he had a puncture. A request for an inner tube produced a few from my group, then heads together and wise words from Mike W they managed to get the tyre inflated for Tim to carry on for his lunch. Electric Mike turned his turbo on and sped off to Birstwith, saying he had to get back or he may end up in the doghouse.
The four of us cycled along to the toll road, up Stripe Lane and decided to go via Brimham Rocks and down Rabbit Lane. The lane was closed but knew that we could get through even if we had to walk. Close encounters with tarmac layers, cut out road sections to dodge, we safely negotiated our way through. The rain that was due started but not too heavy as we headed for Ripley and the Greenway. A great high ride along the tops 36 miles Liz and her merry men.
A ternion of Tims wound their way to Hollins Hall and then ground their way up the long drag to Hampsthwaite and Clapham Green straight into the teeth of a strong wind that sapped the energy out of the legs. With hindsight, selecting a typical Liz F “hilly” ride after a two week lay-off was not such a good idea.
Past Menwith Hill, down to Thuscross Reservoir, up past the climbing wall and a tricky 20% climb before another long drag back up to Duck Street Lane. Unsurprisingly the wind was howling up there. And with threatening rain clouds we plunged onwards and down to Padside. Just outside Darley Tim had a puncture – thanks to all the Wheel Easy riders who offered assistance as they came past.
A quick stop at the delightful and ever busy café in Darley followed but it was even colder and wetter as we set off again. Tim left us at Hampsthwaite to take the road up towards the Army College leaving Tim and Tim to navigate Clint Bank and then mambo along the Greenway. 36 miles but the weather and wind made it seem like a lot more. Tall Tim
We expected to be blowing in the wind on our ride out today to Fewston/Timble and Otley and we were not disappointed. Nice start to the day to help Helen our vice chair celebrate her birthday with a sing song at Hornbeam.
On our way up Stainburn we met Caroline on her very exciting new bike. A brief stop at the car park before climbing up the lane to Timble and then up and over the moor to the Askwith turn. Here Justin and Mike cycled the Askwith route to Otley whilst Maris, Bridget, Gia, Alan, Paul, and James, took the chilly but downhill road to Otley. We had a brief stop to look at the Archimedes screw at the new development by the river in Otley then raced with the wind behind to Pool Pantry where we met up with Mike and Justin.
Not quite warmed up we left to return home as quickly as we could before down came the rain and were met by Justin’s brother who kindly took a photo of us even though we were not the EG’s as indicated on his sign.
Great ride, chilly, windy but good to be out and to tackle lots of hills and get home dry. 32 miles. Gia M
A respectable number for the Long Minus trek to Thorp Perrow today, with four heading for Pennypot to collect local resident Graham. With dire reports from the weekend about the Nidd and the Greenway at Killinghall Bridge in mind, the route planner chose Oakdale as the exit from HG.
The road closure at Oakdale provided an early bonus, allowing us to take the descent and the climb with no traffic – bliss. Just a short bit of footway riding took us hassle-free to meet Graham. From there it was bit of a switch-back route via Hampsthwaite, Clint and Shaw Mills to Drovers before topping out at Fountains. At Burnt Yates crossroads we were buzzed by a peloton which seemed to originate from Prologue, one of whom was clearly interested in qualifying for some event by flying past us uphill ahead of the main group. Brief observation noted that they were all much younger than us, leading to speculation about jobs etc – may all are connected with education and available during half term. Soon they were gone, disappearing at a rate of knots up to Cut Throat Lane.
Our own progress up to Drovers was more measured! Ever watchful for floods at beck crossings and low dips, we were rather confounded that the big puddles tended to be on the tops rather than in the bottoms. Once in Kirkby Malzeard, we had a break from the lumpy roads, enjoying a welcome descent to West Tanfield. Here Eric decided to cut his ride short after visiting the Little Beans cafe/ crèche in West Tanfield and then heading home. He reported that the cafe is a bit different from our usual haunts but the food is good and the company mainly female. Eric’s return via Ripley and the Greenway showed that the path is not only passable but also well washed.
The main group pressed on to Thorp Perrow tearoom, to find the place knee-deep in children, as Eric did at West Tanfield. With a long queue, it was a case of applying Stell’s Law, where menu choice is restricted to what you can see on the counter. This worked well for us but the crowd in the cafe relegated us to the pram shelter in a cool breeze – picture shows the huddle.
With two choices of route home, the shorter variant got the nod “nem con”, taking us directly back to Ripon via Carthorpe, Kirklington and Wath. There was some help from the wind to take us to Carthorpe but from there it was a rather cold raw side wind. The chill of the Thorp Perrow pram shelter and the wind to Ripon lured us inevitably to the newly re-opened Spa Gardens cafe and Caroline’s lovely cakes. Warmed up by this stop, dismay set in as we wiped the rain off our saddles for the final dash back to HG. Luckily it wasn’t heavy or sleety and a brisk pace soon got us back to Knaresborough and the final climb to the Golf Club, our customary spot for farewells and dispersal after mileages in the range 55-60. Thanks to all who joined me; we hope for better conditions next week once the weekend’s deluge has passed. “February Fill Dyke” it certainly is this year. Terry S