Wednesday Ride Report – on a cloudy but mild morning four of us started off on the Wednesday ride. The destination was carefully chosen to find the cafés that were open on this Boxing Day morning and so we all headed along the Greenway to Ripley and then through the lanes eventually arriving at Fountains Abbey where we knew that the National Trust cafés were open. What we hadn’t expected was the scale of the crowds who were walking up from Ripon and all the spectators and supporters’ cars on the Boxing Day pilgrimage walk. The café by the lake, we were told, was full and so we carried on down the drive which was very busy indeed with cars trying to get through all the people walking up towards the top church. Eventually we arrived in Ripon to find out that Oliver’s pantry closed and so we headed on to Caffè Nero. Once fed and watered we were on our way through Littlethorpe and Bishop Monkton, where the group split up and we all made our way back to Harrogate/Knaresboro by different directions. It was a lovely ride with the sun coming through. 35 most enjoyable miles. Martin W.
Long Ride Report
Seven turned out today for a putative “long” Boxing Day ride, with a majority wanting to finish early to avoid family accusations of going AWOL. Boxing Day has its own challenges, cafe-wise, with availability limited to supermarkets or coffee-shop chains. Fortuitously (!), the ride route catered for all of these factors, being a long thin detour to the west to Otley for a cafe stop and then back eastwards to Wetherby for the greater certainty of Morrisons, a route that kept distances from Harrogate to manageable lengths for riders with short furloughs, but still provided enough hills to burn off the previous day’s excess calories. For the end of December the conditions were very favourable and the roads not-too-mucky. So, the pace to Otley was brisk as we headed out via Brackenthwaite Lane, Almscliff Crag, Stainburn, Leathley and Farnley. We drifted past all the usual cafe haunts in Otley, resigned to use Costa when a helpful local, sensing our plight, directed us to Il Vicoletto – a real Italian-style gem, which made us welcome and offered just the right kind of stuff i.e. toasted teacakes and scones. Another one to visit again. After this Chris headed back up Norwood Bank, clearly wanting to make room for Boxing Day fare at home. The rest returned to Pool on the main road where the hammer went down in forthright style. Regrouping at Castley Lane, we were soon across A61 and heading for Kirkby O, where 5 opted for a direct return to HG and the rest went on to Wetherby for whatever could be found for lunch (in my case it was Weetabix and a muffin – no sandwiches available). After that it was a more gently-paced sojourn in the flatlands through Cattal, the Ouseburns and Boroughbridge, enjoying mild temperatures, some sunshine and lightly-trafficked roads. Nearing Aldborough, there was the fascinating sight of horses and riders recently back from their Boxing Day Hunt, Pink coat and all. In all a “three-Morrison” day! Over 60 miles and a bonus for this time of year. Many thanks to all who joined in and I trust that the rest of the day was negotiated successfully. Terry S