Half-day Social Ride Reports – 24th April 2016

Who knows what to wear on bike rides at the moment? Hot, cold, sun, rain – it could do anything! But more than forty social riders overcame their indecision and came out fully clothed (thank goodness), ready for action and cake! Those that went for the extra layer were definitely the most smug, as it turned out far chillier than it looked. Luckily we all had some hills to get us warm, as the various ride teams headed up to North Rigton and Harrogate. Here are their stories…

Gentle ride to North Rigton with Graham (guide) and Chris (back-marker)

Nine of us enjoyed a very cheerful ride on a cool spring day. We welcomed Angela for the first time, and Anna and Peter who had only been once before. The route is one of our hillier gentle rides, it took us to Pool, and then up the valley side to Almscliffe Crag, but everyone tackled the climbs with aplomb. We took them slowly and in stages to catch our breath, but I think we all agreed it was worth it. We saw a couple of red kites at very close quarters, and my scone at the Square & Compass was so lovely that Debbie felt compelled to take a picture of it. Anna and Lou were our speed queens, enthusiastically enjoying the descents on the way back, and there was a definite note of satisfaction in the voices as we looked back at Almscliffe Crag on the way home and said ‘we’ve just been up there’. Big thanks to Chris who did a grand job back-marking for the first time.


At the top – made it to Almscliffe Crag!

Strenuous ride to Harrogate Central with Matt (guide) and Ian (back marker)

Seven brave souls joined Matt on his debut leading a ride as we rode over to Prologue Cafe in central Harrogate. An early climb out of Askwith up the Low Snowden hill got everybody warmed up before we headed over to Harrogate via Timble and Fewston reservoir and plenty more climbs.
We stopped at Prologue Cafe for refreshments and an extended debate about whether it was worth paying £2000 for a pair of new wheels (the consensus was a firm no).With Matt leading from memory, we took a very minor diversion down a dead-end on the way back. After a few more climbs on the way back, we arrived at the Fleece for well-earned liquid refreshment.



How much?!!

 Stretching Ride to Harlow Carr with Mike (guide) and Andy (back-marker)

We had eight riders join our group today, all seasoned social series cyclists.  Our route started with a warm up climb to New Farnley before following the quiet country lanes through Leathley and Stainburn.  We then headed off via Beckwithshaw to our coffee stop at Betty’s Harlow  Carr.

Once refuelled on Fat Rascals and cheese scones, we headed off on our return leg, through North Rigton and Castley, before adding in an extra hill to climb to New Farnley once again.

A lovely ride with mainly dry, but chilly weather, with our customary stops to chat and admire the views.  Thanks to Andy Jones for his work in back-marking this group, and for overcoming his natural desire to dash off up all the hills.  And thanks to all riders for making this such an enjoyable ride.

Mike Blank

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Strenuous ride to Yorkshire Showground with Andrew (guide) and Heather (back-marker)

It was all going so well, cruising along chatting not a care in the world enjoying the ride.Then I remembered I was ‘guiding’, supposed to be keeping everyone together. Is everyone here? 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, Oh sherbet!  Should have stopped at that last junction to regroup.First time out and I’ve lost one!! Luckily for me he knew what he was doing and where we were going and we all met up at Fodders.  Good food, very busy but quick service once sat down.A thankfully uneventful journey home saw us all in the Fleece to re-hydrate.Big thanks to Heather for back marking.

Strenuous ride to Fodders - group photo

2nd Gentle Ride to North Rigton – 16 miles (Liz:Guide, Phil:Backmarker)

Aka – 7 go on an adventure’ (and 7 come back too!).
You can tell Spring is finally here as we had such a great turn out that we needed to run 2 Gentle Rides to North Rigton to keep the group sizes manageable. Our group included a new rider – Maria – for whom this was going to be her longest ride in the hills of West Yorkshire. She’s coming back for more which we assume means she had a good time!

We kept a steady pace on the flat road to Pool as it was a bit chilly and people were cold. We kept together as a group and it was nice to chat as we went along, with the occasional shout out to check if the pace was ok or if people wanted to stop. We had a bit of a breather on the climb up to Almsclife Crag to admire the red kites and the retro tractors in the field. A great day for great views.
Brilliant service as ever at the Square and Compass (free smarties!) followed by a steady return to the Fleece. It’s always nice when the larger hills are BEFORE the coffee stop! Just one ‘mechanical’ with a slipping chain but Phil and I worked well as a team (thanks for the Backmarking Phil!) to check everyone was ok and didn’t get left behind.
Group photo - 2nd gentle rideVintage tractor

2nd Stretching Ride to Harlow Carr with Ken (guide) and Frances (back-marker)

Really enjoyable ride out today, on what I think is one of the hardest stretching rides we do. It was nice to ride with some I hadn’t ridden with for a while, the group consisted of Ali and Aishah, Chip and Tricia, Sheila, Adele and Myself and Frances who did the back marking and kept us all nicely together. It was Chips first time out with us, so hopefully he will be joining the ranks soon. We made good headway, and only stopped a couple of times, as the group where making light work of the climbs. When we arrived at Bettys, there was a table for 8 ready and waiting for us, which was great. A pleasant ½ hour was spent chatting, and eating cheese scones, and I gained some useful tips from Ali in my quest to lose some weight. In fact, it turns out that the Harlow Carr run, was only the middle leg of the three rides Ali would be doing that day. So with lighter wallets, we started the return journey to the Fleece via North Rigton, and again on the way back we remained a tight group, and judging by some comments when some riders came in later, we seemed to stayed ahead of the rain others encountered. On arriving at the end of Castley Lane, the team were enjoying the climbs so much the vote was to make one final climb over Leathley and down into Otley, instead of the Pool road. Finally into the Fleece for beer and chips. So thanks to a great group, Betty’s tearoom and the Fleece for making it a great Sunday ride.

Coffee at Harlow Carr