Ride reports for Sunday 28th September – Stainburn and Harrogate

We get all types and sorts out with the social series… people who come cycling for all sorts of different reasons, and often those reasons change over time. But most of us remember what is was like to first come along and want to encourage others to get as much out of it as we have. Thus we get people like Christine, who a few weeks ago was riding 187 miles in a non-stop 12 hour tandem time trial, this weekend leading a 16 mile gentle ride. Judging by her reports of both days, she’s been feeling the love recently!

Gentle ride to the Honey House cafe at Stainburn

Christine’s ride report…

One of the things I love about the gentle rides is the new cycling friendships that develop over the course of the ride, with everyone supporting and encouraging each other up the hills. Today was a perfect example as we welcomed back Paula (after maybe 2 years away!!) and  Graham (preparing for the 3 Swans Sportive and coming over from Wakefield for our special blend of cycling for the 6thtime!!) We had two newer riders Claire (who came on the ride last time) and Julia (on her first ever social ride) I was supported by Sheila as my fantastic back marker – giving praise and encouragement up those hills and Andrew, John and Fran all choosing a gentler, shorter ride for the day.

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We took a very relaxed approach along Pool Road (exploring the pointless Fishing Ponds loop) and then up the hill to Almscliffe Crag for the compulsory photo stop in front of the crag. After this the climbing was easy up and then down to Braythorne where we went for a special coffee stop at the Honey House Café.2016-08-28 10.48.43 We feasted on home made cakes and scones with huge mugs of tea and coffee. Over the mugs… plans were hatched for regular gentle rides to help build fitness for the future and numbers were swopped and Twitter tips shared. We avoided all the pot holes and gravel to Leathley and then an easy ascent up Farnley, only stopping once. Back to the Fleece for 12.15 for a relaxed drink in the garden with our new friends!

Thanks to the Honey House Café for your welcoming hospitality.
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Stretching to Betty’s

Ken’s ride report…

Started out in the morning with the intention of going to the prologue cafe in Harrogate, as the pine Martin were to busy. (Although Mark charmed his way in with his group ). A bit chilly to start, but it wasn’t long before the stripping started as we climbed up to Farnley. We had a new rider to the strenuous today, and a rider who hadn’t been out for awhile, so it was good for me to meet a some new faces. After a few tough climbs we changed tack and decided to go to Betty’s for tea, scones and fat rascals and a pleasant 1/2 hour chatting. On the way back the rain that threatened never came and the sun came out, which meant a pleasant end to the ride in the beer garden at the fleece. Many thanks to Michael for doing a great job back marking.

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Six people on one bike. Clever! (and a VERY tall man in the background)

Stretching ride to the Pine Marten (Harrogate)

Mark’s ride report…

With it being a bank holiday and a wet and murky start to the day, numbers were down on our previous Social Sunday. However, we still had  enough riders to warrant two Stretching rides to Harrogate. Mark led our group of eight, Jill back marked and the rest of the group comprised of Dave, Trish, Chip, Robert, Serena and Phil.

Heading up Farnley Lane, Trish had an unfortunate puncture after only a mile, but we were quickly on our way again after Chip stepped in to fix it. We continued to Leathley and then on the back roads towards Beckwithshaw, staying in single file for the very busy stretch of road into the village.


Our plan (which had been agreed back at the health centre in Otley) had been to visit Prologue Cafe on Cold Bath Road in Harrogate – and to meet up with the other Stretching group, led by Ken. It turned out that the other group had decided to shorten their route slightly and to visit Betty’s instead. This wasn’t a popular option for our group, so we opted to visit The Pine Marten which was just a little further up the road. Sinking into the unfeasibly comfy leather furniture, we enjoyed teas, coffees and sandwiches and found it very hard to leave – especially with the increasingly grey skies looming on the horizon.


Difficult to get out of… sofas at the Pine Marten

Miraculously, we managed to miss the rain and returned to Otley via North Rigton, Leathley and Pool. Given the gloomy start to the day, never did we imagine that we’d be sat enjoying a post-ride drink and catch-up in the Fleece beer garden.

Strenuous ride to Harrogate

Lee’s ride report…

Five guys & 1 gal set off from the health centre on our strenuous ride to Harrogate on what was a quite dull, overcast morning. The weather had threatened to test the worth of our various waterproof items but despite a couple of hurried jacket fittings as cloud thickened, we all stayed largely dry throughout.


It soon became clear that we were a very well balanced group so re-grouping stops were very few & far between. After heading out along Weston lane & tackling the climb out of Askwith up Moor lane, we headed for Timble & Fewston then onto the long flat Penny Pot Lane where we were able to practice our drafting skills speeding along to Harrogate & our café stop at the very lovely Valley gardens where we enjoyed our eagerly awaited bacon & sausage sandwiches accompanied by hot teas & coffees.

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The return trip took in Beckwithshaw & North Rigton before heading past Almscliffe crag which was the first time a couple of our group had been this close to the rocks. From there we descended to Leathley where we decided to miss the planned climb over Farnley park & instead head for Pool road for our return to Otley and a well earned pint in the Fleece beer garden while catching up with friends & cyclists from other groups as the sun finally made an appearance.


Huge thanks to Ian for back marking the ride & to Vanessa for her excellent choice of cafe stop.