Half-day social ride reports – 22nd May 2016 (Harewood and Wilsden)

More sunshine! More new riders! Despite quite a few of our regulars joining the B’s for some Ride London training, we still numbered over 50 and had to split into 7 different rides. A massive thank you to all the leaders and back-markers, whose volunteering makes this all possible! (and please consider joining their ranks.. nudge… nudge).
This week’s rides mainly headed to the ever popular Muddy Boots cafe at Harewood, with one rogue ride trying out a new route in completely the opposite direction, over to St. Ives and Wilsden. Here are all the stories…

Stretching Ride to Harewood House – Guide: Mike, Back-Marker: Karen

The promise of a beautiful sunny day saw a mass of cyclists arrive at the Buttercross.  I formed up the second Stretching group of thirteen riders, with Karen Llewellyn as my back marker.  At this point we welcomed one new rider, Adam, who joined us after recently moving to the area.

We set off and headed through Pool before taking the opportunity to split the group into two smaller groups.  Thanks to Liz for offering to lead this second group.  We then had a steady climb up Creskeld Lane and meandered across to the Muddy Boots café at Harewood House.  It was a delightful sight to see such a mass of Otley blue sitting in the sunshine at the café.  We should also thank Muddy Boots for their hard work, so many cyclists and walkers at one time cannot be easy for them.

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After a relaxing coffee stop, we headed back through the grounds of Harewood House, and over to Dunkeswick, before following the backroads to Otley.  All in all, a beautiful sunny morning out with a fun bunch of cyclists.  Thank you to Karen for helping on the ride.
IMAG0439Mike Blank


Gentle Ride to Muddy Boots – Guide: Christine B, Back Marker: Matt

It was great to see so many people wanting a short, gentle valley ride so that we had 2 groups and Matt took charge of the back of the ride, making sure no one was left behind.

We welcomed some new riders to our group – Alex, Liz and Louise – we enjoyed your company and hope you come back again. We also had Chris and Simon in our group who came out on the Ripley Gentle ride last time for the first time. As well as first timers the gentle group can be a good place for our regulars who want a more relaxed ride, so Heather came out with us so she could get used to her new cleats – and did brilliantly in them!

The traffic along the Arthington road were in a rush to get to somewhere with a real urgency so we tried to make them less impatient by splitting into two smaller groups and kept single file. This made it a relief when we got to Weardley Hill to be away from the traffic and we did not really notice the hill at all. Matt suddenly realised that a ride with me always means a bit of bridleway and is still cleaning the mud off his best bike! But the bridleway through Harewood is too lovely to miss out on!2016-05-22 10.09.54

After a lively coffee stop with the other groups at Muddy Boots we headed back to Otley, taking our time to enjoy the views and the hills were tackled in style and the option to take the Farnley road instead of the Pool road gave us a bonus hill climb and fantastic descent before arriving at the Fleece to share stories of our rides. This was the first time that Chris was able to show us the delights of her lovely looking electric road bike, she gently cruised past us on the climb and shared with us her insights into a different style of electric bike.2016-05-22 10.21.29-1


Strenuous ride – The Wilsden Wobbler Guide: Graham, Scout: Julia

Eleven of us went off in a vain quest for flat bits of tarmac in Airedale. The only bit we found was the footbridge over the river in Saltaire, and we had to get off and walk across that! The rest was a rollercoaster of a ride. Long steady climbs rewarded by cracking views and exhilarating descents, as we skirted the upper slopes of both sides of the valley and plummeted down to Bingley on the way out, and Saltaire on the way back.P_20160522_115656
Chris had a puncture in the valley bottom at Bingley. Julia (as dutiful back-marker) stayed with him and they assured us they would be fine, so the rest of us carried on up the big hill to wait at the excellent cafe at St.Ives. Our coffees had just arrived when we got a call… “neither of our pumps work”. I dashed back down the hill dreaming of being a hero, only to get there and be told “oh, sorry, it’s working now”!! Still, it was a lovely climb back up to my cold coffee and soggy sandwich….. not that I’m bitter ;-).
The final climb of the day was the steepest (just to ensure we earnt our beer), up Old Hollins Hill out of Esholt, whilst dodging large vans – but the smiles (grimaces?) were still there at the top!
It was a beautiful day, great company, and I think consensus was that despite the hills, it was great to go and explore a different dale.

Stretching Ride no.2 to Harewood – Leader: Ann, Back Marker: Wayne

This is what Sundays are made for – a lovely morning ride in our beautiful countryside with a great bunch of Lycra clad bike fanatics! There were 10 in our stretching group (increasing to 11 along the way as we picked up Nakeesha) and it was great to see that the ladies outnumbered the men – I think we also out-talked the men! The sun was just starting to warm us up as we set off from the Buttercross, and headed up Farnley Lane, then down to Leathley, before cycling to Castley. There were a few large puddles here after the previous night’s rain but we sailed through without incident but perhaps I should have kept my mudguards on a little longer!
We soon arrived at Harewood, cycling past the herds of deer and highland cattle, and getting to Muddy Boots cafe first after sneakily passing another group on their photo stop – you snooze, you lose David!
The other groups got to Muddy Boots soon after and it was lovely to see so many OCC jerseys on display in the cafe garden – we were a fine sight! The cafe coped well with this mass influx of hungry cyclists – well done Muddy Boots! IMG_3067
Our next challenge was Eccup Lane, laying before us in full sun – time for the layers to come off! Everyone got to the top, rather warm and red in the face, but happy to collapse on the park bench and admire the view. Heading through Bramhope we then descended Creskeld Lane back down to Arthington. There was a pretty strong head wind waiting here for us so I was happy for Ali to take the lead back to Pool and Otley, while the rest of us tucked in behind him! Thanks Ali!
What a great day to be out on our bikes. Special thanks go to Wayne for excellent back marking, making sure everyone was ok, particularly on tricky descents and awkward junctions. And thanks to the rest of the group for a fabulous day out!IMG_3102


Gentle ride to Muddy Boots – Guide: David, Back Marker: Ian

Enough gentle riders to form 2 groups, of which this one consisted of 8 riders. 3 of these – Heather, Valerie and Richard – were on their first outing with OCC, 3(Catherine, June and Dianne) had what the forces of law and order call “previous”.The weather soon changed from overcast and chilly to glorious sunshine. Perfect weather, in fact, for the steady climb up Rawden Hill and Harewood Park. The rough track section failed to unseat anybody, and the entire outing was stress-free and pleasantly uneventful.The new riders all claimed to enjoy it and said they will be back. Which we hope to be true as we thoroughly enjoyed their company.

The team who are now all over the hill in Harewood.

The team who are now all over the hill in Harewood.

Thanks to Ian H who did a sterling job in his first role as back marker.
David Parker