Many social riders resisted the lure of Christmas shopping, and many more I’ll wager enjoyed the excuse to avoid it! Whatever the reason we had another good turnout – the gentle rides proving particularly popular this week. We all pedalled off in different directions, and most made it back to the warmth of The Fleece. Here’s what happened in-between…
A Gentle Pedal To The Dexter
We had a lovely group of eight for our Gentle ride, which was led by Mark Sage and back marked by Richard Ogden. Leaving Otley by the Pool Rd, we all remarked how busy it was – last minute Xmas shoppers maybe? From Pool we passed the scene of our recent festivities (The Wharfedale pub) before climbing Creskeld Lane and making a few minor adjustments to Ann’s very nice new bike.
From Bramhope we had a short stint on the Otley Rd before turning left on the short and always busy King Lane which heads towards the back of Golden Acre Park. We were highly relieved to reach the tranquillity of Eccup Moor Rd where we were able to relax and chat properly at a nice leisurely pace!
We reached Eccup Reservoir, the furthest point of the ride, but all voted in favour of pressing on to The Dexter in Alwoodley for a coffee break – instead of our planned stop. Andy left us at this point to return home as he lives nearby, but the rest of us took “Millionaire’s Row” to said pub where we all enjoyed very pleasant teas/coffees and bacon/sausage butties for a bargain £2.99 each – all of us remarking that we must stop there again soon.
A quick photo outside of the pub once we’d refuelled and we retraced our steps to beyond Eccup. Back in Bramhope, Graham was feeling unwell, so we split into two groups of three to return to Otley – one group followed the planned route and the other took the quickest option, which was to take the Otley Rd. Some of the group had to get back home but the rest met up with other club members back in The Fleece
How do I sum up this ride? A fantastic group to ride with, plenty of giggles, perfect conditions for cycling and a fab café stop. What more could one possibly want?!
Stretching over the Cow & Calf
Today’s pre Christmas stretching (two groups set off) battled out on the way over to Pool and then up Creskeld Lane at which point the two groups came head to head. We peacefully supported each other over the wild and windy Cow and Calf (see sunny photo) and agreed a truce at El stazione in Ikley.
This was a great stop, so friendly and positive. Then down to the Wharf for a lovely warm and sunny ride back to Otley. We accosted a friendly Santa for the group photo.
Thank you Chip for back marking and to everyone for making this such a fun ride out away from the Christmas panic.
Strenuous ride to East Keswick
There were seven of us as we rode out of the health centre only to be reduced to six as one quickly exited stage left at the market square. A dropped chain for the ride leader at the bottom of West Chevin & this had all the makings of a day to forget. Fortunately the drama ended there as we climbed & the clouds began to clear.
As we reached the end of Old Lane we found Stephen waiting by the roadside for us & we were seven again. Cycling down through Bramhope and then on to Eccup reservoir for the photo shoot we made a group decision to stick to the main road & therefore bypass the slippery path around the grammar school.
A relatively quiet Muddy Boots was our cafe stop before returning to Otley adding a few extra miles via Dunkeswick & Castley & then a welcome pint back at the Fleece.
Thanks to Heather, Peter, David, Rob & Stephen for great company & special thanks to Graham for back marking our ride.
A Gentle ride up the Chevin via Menston
There were over 10 riders who wanted to the gentle ride option so I offered to take a group out on a different route so we could avoid all tackling Creskeld Lane at the same time! Dave stepped forward for the first time to back mark and did a great job, thanks Dave. My route involved some interesting back roads around Menston and Guiseley (visiting the stocks) so that we could climb to the top of the Chevin along the gently sloping Carlton Lane.
Anna found a new joy in her spinning technique and was happily chatting her way up the hill climb with Lorna and we made it to the top of the Chevin without a pause! This meant I could put in an extra cheeky hill climb or two as it was clear I had got a trainee mountain goat group this Sunday, there was no moaning at all and all did really well, including our amazing Eddie who at 78 is still tackling these hills.
I suggested we tried High Trees Garden Centre Café. Dave had been here since it was renovated so guided us to the “secret garden” area which will be lovely in summer but also made for a good bike park for us. Indoors the café is now huge and we were quickly served and enjoyed sitting on very comfortable sofas. Top marks all round for the service and the quality of the toasted tea cake. Reluctantly we left the café (but it will feature on future social rides so watch out!!) and the head wind made for hard work. We decided to do an extra hill over Farnley instead of the head wind on Pool Road and made it all the way to the top without stopping. A swift descent to Otley and the group were returned safely to the Fleece.
We were sorry to hear on Twitter that after the ride Andy Jones (our very own Army Andy) fell off his bike and has damaged his already injured wrist, we wish Andy a swift recovery and hope that 2017 is an injury free one for him.