Lordy what a scorcher! Lots of pasty white flesh turned pink today as the great golden orb in the sky gave us both barrels. For the first time this year, we saw above people’s knees as we all got our shorts out and liberally applied cream to our exposed parts. It was marvellous! Long live the summer! It was also ride-leader’s choice day, which meant we had an eclectic array of routes to new destinations. Some of which I think we’ll definitely be going back to. Many new faces too… we hope you enjoyed it and will come back… but I can’t guarantee you’ll ever get weather like that again! In that respect, it’s all downhill from here (but we all like a bit of downhill don’t we!).
We headed off up through Askwith and were soon rewarded with great views, which continued throughout the ride. After a stop for a puncture repair (the rest of the group sunbathed around the crags) we swooped down through Fewston and climbed back back up past the Fewston Farm Cafe to explore an area previously missed by Social Series ride – the moorland toward Thruscross. By this time we were back to three riders and found ourselves being overtaken by a sportive using teams of three – a shout ahead to the camera ensured no mistakes and we didn’t get our picture taken!
Feedback on the route was really good with the stunning moorland scenery, hills and reservoirs being much appreciated. We’d advertised it as a strenuous climbing one and, at 3,700ft and 28 miles, it fitted the description. If you fancy something a bit different, but still within the 30 mile Social Series limit then do give it a go.
Gentle away day Ripley to Ripon
A total of 15 riders gathered at the Ripley car park for a 10.00 am start. This included 9 established regulars, 5 riders new to the club on their second or third rides, and one brand new recruit (welcome to Nicky). Numbers being somewhat excessive for a single group we split into two, with Jill Birch stepping up as ride leader, Mike Gaunt as her back marker. Not sure how we deal with my back marker in the points system, as it was Stephen and Jane Gallagher on a tandem. 1.5 points each? Or 3 for Jane as she was at the back?
The sun was already shining bright and fair as we set off for a very gentle climb to Fountains Abbey. Managing to resist the temptation of the Abbey’s excellent teashop we continued through the stunning Studley Royal Deer Park where we stopped for the team photo.
Deer were in short supply, though a handful were spotted in the shade of one of the trees, and we continued into Ripon for refreshment at Oliver’s Pantry. We can’t stress too highly what a warm welcome you get here, with secure bike parking and excellent food and drinks. What more could you ask? The ride then meandered around Littlethorpe, Bishop Monkton and Markington before looping back to Ripley.
22 miles, no punctures, one chain off, temperatures at 24C by the end. It’s all down to the leadership…
Stretching Ride: A sunny saunter to Thorner
A minor panic at the Buttercross when we realised our Stretching ride was over-subscribed, but to use Strava speak, kudos goes to Andrew Jones who hadn’t led a ride before, but stepped in to enable us to split into two groups. There were eight of us our group, which was led by Mark and back marked by Kerri and also included Ruth, Ken, Nigel, John (on his second ride with the club since his injury) – and who could forget Trish & Chip!
We left Otley with the temperature rising after the early morning chill – and by the time we hit Pool it was almost Mediterranean! To reach Bramhope everyone tackled the climb of Creskeld Lane brilliantly – people really are getting fitter! Pausing for a short break at the top, we then pressed on to Eccup Reservoir where we marvelled at the beauty of the sunny haze on the water and took a few obligatory snaps. Again we remarked that it felt like being abroad, so rare is the bright weather around these parts.
We then skirted around the back of Leeds Grammar to reach Alwoodley, then on to Shadwell, Thorner and Scarcroft. Our cafe stop was The Dexter pub where we met up with the group led by Andrew and enjoyed a lovely late breakfast in the sun. What a difference a week makes – it was snowing last weekend! Our route back to Otley followed pretty much our outward journey, but we did enjoy an exhilarating descent down Black Hill Lane.
All in all, great company, a lovely route and wonderful conditions – a perfect day out on two wheels!
Stretching ride: Another sunny saunter to Thorner! Ride Guide: Andy, Back-marker: Robert
Today’s ride was a new ride from Mark going from Otley to Thorner. Group 2 .
7 riders gave me opportunity to lead my first ride, ably assisted by Robert as my back marker.
It was nice to shed the winter layers and have the sun all day.We stopped at the Dexter pub for the coffee and tea and food. Before setting back via Eccup reservoir to come down Black Hill. Finally made it back to the Fleece for a well deserved drink and chips .
Well done everyone .
Stretching ride to Pannal – Ride Guide: Graham, Back-marker: Julia
Twelve of us went on a voyage of discovery – a new route to a new cafe, however for some it was an even greater learning curve… Carolyn, Mark, Paul and Dave all joined an OCC ride for the first time, Anna & Peter discovered they could stretch to a stretching ride, and Julia was learning how to ‘brake-in’ her beautiful new Italian steed (she let us stroke it if we asked nicely). We also all learned that Mike can make women weep (but in a good way).
The route (credit Christine, not me) turned out to be ideal for such a hot day as all the climbing was done in the cool of the early morning as the mist lifted. We took it steady, and stopped on the way, but we reached the high point of the ride after just 6 miles. After that the road just unrolled before us like an asphalt carpet as we had mile after mile of gentle descent all the way round. (It’s true I tell you!)
The approach to Christian’s cafe is inauspicious – it’s behind a garden centre on the A61. As you nip down the side past the bins your expectations lower, but then you round the corner into a sun-drenched courtyard garden, and a full on trendy bistro. Food and service was excellent at our reserved table. We’ll be back!
Speed queen this week was Brian who always seemed to zip past me on the downhills. He’s clearly a man with well greased bearings. You’re our Il campionissimo Brian! 😉
Strenuous Ride to Langbar and Cow & Calf
The Three Musketeers Jim Holmes, Matt Langdon and John Barnett – JMJ – set off on the wonderfully warm and sunny ride to Langbar and the Cow & Calf. Jim back-marked, John guided and Matt expertly defended the middle position, although we did occasionally lapse and take up the others positions. Nothing like variety to spice up a ride, if you can call that variety.
The Langbar climb, from the easy side, was uneventful without the usual strong wind blowing, apart from of course JMJ having to watch out for sheep who always realise just at the moment a cyclist rides past that they’d much rather be at the other side of the road. I won’t mention the young boy who rode out of a garden just before the last part of the climb then left us for dead. He must have had a motor on that bike…
As it was such a fantastic day, the views from the top of Langbar were spectacular, hopefully a sign of things to come at the summit of the Cow & Calf. A fast decent down to Beamsley then through Bolton Bridge and on to the refreshment stop at Strid Wood.
After refreshments at the ever excellent Strid Wood Tea Rooms http://www.stridwoodtearooms.co.uk/
– lots of cakes to give the hungry cyclist a boost – we set off back through Bolton Bridge again, then taking the back road to Ilkley via Nesfield, greeted by lots of fellow cyclists coming the other way taking part in the Fat Lad At The Back sportive.
Into Ilkley and the start of the Cow & Calf climb. The cattle grid serves to break the rhythm as usual but the sting in the tail is always the last 17% ramp just by the car park and snack bar on the right. Fortunately, the Calf rock that had fallen onto the road 1st April – see pic – had been cleared so JMJ were able to complete the climb unhindered to enjoy the amazing views across the valley.
A fast descent to Burley Woodhead, infuriatingly broken by very prominent speed humps, into Menston, then the final short, sharp climb up Buckle Lane to be rewarded by the slightly technical descent of West Chevin Road to the finish in Otley.
Great weather, great route, great views, great cafe stop – and even greater company. ‘All for one and one for all!’ Cheers Matt and Jim!