Eventually (and probably on a Tuesday) the sun will explode in a supernova and Wharfedale will cease to be. But in the meantime, it laughed in the face of the bank holiday weekend and shone down gloriously on Otley and all its surrounds, providing us with some damn fine cycling (and some pretty good photos too). Luckily, being OCC, we also had some damn fine people to do it with – hurrah! Here’s what they all got up to…
Gentle Ride to the Honey House
It was a beautiful sunny morning for the Gentle Social Riders expedition to the Honey House. The bank holiday had reduced the expected numbers so Captain Steve decided to merge his gentle group with the aspiring Honey-Housers. This select band of eleven set out via Castley Lane and Almscliffe with Clare taking the lead, and Julia providing a safe pair of wheels as the back marker.
A warm welcome was extended to new riders Marie and Harry, and it has to be said that Marie deserved special applause for climbing up to Almscliffe and back over Farnley on a monstrously heavy mountain bike.
The group were sad to say a final farewell to Eddie, whose impending relocation south of the M6 meant that this was his last ride with the Otley Social Series. It was a straightforward ride at a steady pace with no mechanicals and plenty of pauses to take in the views from the steep bits.
Cakes at the Honey House were excellent, especially since Amy and Julia managed to snaffle an extra honey cake – well nobody complained that they were missing one!
At the Otley Bridge, Julia took part of the group back to the Fleece while Steve lead a breakaway group of four, including Harry, for a few extra miles over to the Ilkley iron bridge via Askwith. Well done Harry for keeping up with the speed merchants. We are looking forward to seeing you out with the club again in a couple of weeks.
Stretching in the sun
Good weather brought a great crowd out today and 10 of us set off on a 24 mile ride via North Rigton and Fewston reservoir. Despite a couple of mechanicals (which we fixed on route) and a couple of challenging hills there was lots of laughter and chat as we rode along together.
Because of the sunshine the view at the top of Askwith Moor was worth the climb – and we were blessed with seeing a couple of red kites too.
We received a warm welcome at the Square and Compass, and our coffee stop there was eventful including a fire alarm (which didn’t stop us from enjoying our scones and bacon sarnies) and a game of ‘hunt the smarties’ (Trish – did you find them all eventually?!). What I also love about this cafe stop is that 2/3 of the ride is done by the time you get to the cafe so the ride back on cafe legs feels easy!
Chip and Mark took over Ride Leader duties on the way back meaning I was able to chat to Liz, Marie, Sandra, Isobel, Claire and Janette while we rode.
Stretching to Roundhay
It was a very unusual August Bank holiday Sunday – warm, dry and sunny, so there was a large contingent of Social Series rides out. A group of 11 set off up West Chevin Road and Yorkgate to Surprise View, everyone taking this initial climb at their own pace before re-grouping at the top.
We then went a little “off-piste” taking a different route to Eccup which proved popular and then made good time to the Tropical World cafe at Roundhay Park. The service there was excellent with sausage sarnies and toasted teatakes turning up as soon as we were seated.
The return leg saw people leaving at various points to make their way home leaving 7 of us to enjoy a well earned drink and chinwag at The Fleece in the sunshine. A lovely ride and thanks to Mike G for back marking.
This strenuous ride was notable for two things: 1 – barely entering Wilsden, despite its name, as we unanimously decided to take in an extra loop over the Cullingworth viaduct… and 2 – being devoid of flatness. In fact we worked out the only flat bits were bridges; the viaduct, and the footbridge over the River Aire in Saltaire.
It was in truth probably hillier than most strenuous rides, but the four of us merrily went up and down like a rather slow yo-yo as we explored the both sides of the Aire Valley.
One of the things about club rides is you discover lots of roads you wouldn’t otherwise find. The Aire Valley can be busy but we sliced through on the back roads to enjoy the stunning views it can offer as well.
It’s also nice to discover new people (…to be fair, this probably ranks higher than new stretches of tarmac 😉 ) and it was great to ride with Ian, Mike and Pam. Strenous, but still definitely a social ride! Thanks all for the company, and sharing the back-marking without really knowing it!