A chilly start, but by the end we were sat in the Fleece beer garden in short sleeves. Autumn at it’s finest 🙂
A massive thank you to David, Richard and Mark who all stepped in to volunteer when others had to pull out at the last minute due to illness. This week was notable for having a very even split of numbers across all 3 rides – including a massive 18 choosing the strenuous option. Everybody loves Langbar!
A Thorny Issue
Matt, our original ride guide called us early to let us know that unfortunately he was struggling with a bad back and was unable to attend the ride – hope it clears up and you’re back on your bike soon Matt! Thankfully, Mark was able to step in to lead a group of 11 riders on our Stretching ride to Harewood, with Sara Heartfield on back marking duties.
Our route took us via Farnley Lane to Pool, where we crossed the bridge over the River Wharfe and followed Castley Lane. It was here that we encountered our first hazard which would have repercussions later in the ride. A tractor was clipping the hedgerows and there were thorns scattered all over the tarmac for 50 yards or so. We rode on and breathed a sigh of relief thinking we’d got away puncture-free, but we were counting our blessings too early.
At the end of Castley Lane, we turned right and tackled the short climb of Wescoe Hill, then took in Weeton and Dunkeswick before we hit the Harrogate Road. A quick sprint down to Harewood Bridge and a short stretch on Arthington Lane and we were relieved to reach the traffic free estate roads of Harewood Estate which we took to our café stop at Muddy Boots.
Here we refuelled and enjoyed some cycling banter in the Autumn sunshine…which somehow moved onto the lyrics of Dr Hook!
We were all set to start our return leg to Otley, when Mark J noticed he had a flat tyre, pulling the mother of all thorns from his side wall (see picture) – probably picked up on Castley Lane earlier.
Thankfully he fixed it swiftly, fitting a new inner tube and we were soon on our way again, retracing our steps on the estate roads to Weardley.
We then climbed Eccup Lane, following it all the way to the junction of King Lane. Mark J and Ruth departed at this point, whilst the rest of us continued on our route back to Otley. When we hit Bramhope, Sheila split from the group to attend a family function and it was here we also noticed our second puncture of the day – Isobel’s rear tyre.
On inspection, we found the culprit – a tiny and very stubborn thorn which we really struggled to extract. We tried our multi-tools, long fingernails, teeth, you name it and we all agreed that a pair of tweezers would make a very handy addition to our toolkits! Repair completed and we descended Creskeld Lane and returned to Otley via the Pool Road.
A great ride, a terrific group, plenty of giggles and fine weather – what more could anyone want!
Strenuous ride to Storiths
Gentle ride to North Rigton & Almscliffe Crag
I offered to do this ride at last minute due to illness. My back marker Richard Ogden also only put himself forward the day before, thanks for the support. I’d never done this route before however I have been up and down many of the roads on other rides and knew enough of the area to feel I could lead the ride. I had been planning on joining a stretching ride however I’m really pleased I did this one and got to say it’s probably my favourite of the gentle routes with panoramic views over Wharfedale from North Rigton, made even more picturesque due to the coming in Autumnal colours.
We all met as usual at the Market Cross and with twelve of us in all we decided to split into two groups, therefore further thanks to Claire Groves and Julia Odell for leading and back marking the first group. The weather was fair and a decent temperature.
We headed out to Castley via Poole in Wharfedale. Once climbing Castley Lane we crossed the A658 and then climbed up to North Rigton going through Huby and passing the Almscliffe Crag heading to The Square and Compass for coffee and the extra treat of Smarties.
We set off heading back towards Otley taking in Almscliffe Crag and using the background as a backdrop for the group photo. The group took the descent down through Stainburn and Leathley and then climbing up to Farnley to descend into Otley and heading to The Fleece. We were the first group to arrive at The Fleece and there was a little scare when we found nobody else present and the doors locked. We were soon joined by members of the first group and the doors were unlocked.