Social Series Ride Reports -18th June

Normally the sun brings a bumper turn out, but it was strangely quiet at The Buttercross on Sunday. Partly because there was a lot else going on this weekend (time trials, Great Yorkshire Bike Ride), but also because it was Ride Leaders Choice week, so we had an away day, and an early start on two of the rides.

The common denominator however was that it was HOT! We were all cooked like lycra skinned sausages on a BBQ – dripping sweat onto the hot asphalt like fat onto hot coals. Beautiful. Long live summer!

And finally a big up to Kax who led a ride for the first time. Thank you Kaz!

Kaz & Co. go to North Rigton

On what was surely the sunniest and hottest Sunday of the year so far,this was my first step up to the plate as ride leader. Our stretching group of six couldn’t have asked for a nicer morning.With skies as blue as the Otley jerseys in the group, we set off up Farnley Lane towards Almscliffe Crag, then did a lovely circular loop from North Rigton to Burn Bridge, Kirkby Overblow and back to the Square & Compass for some very welcome rest and refreshments.

With the help of Bob, reminding me to yell ‘stopping!!’ every time we
found a shady patch on the side of the road, and Richard, sharing his
knowledge and guiding the group down a quieter and shadier route back from
North Rigton than the one I had planned, we all returned to Otley well
hydrated and with smiles on our faces.

Thank you also to Lorraine, for offering to back mark, especially after
her miles in the Great Yorkshire Bike Ride the day before, and to Karen
and Janine for their ever smiling and cheerful company. It was a great way
to get started as a bona fide OCC Ride Volunteer.

Ripley to Ripon gentle ride and gourmet feast

A glorious Sunday saw a group of 10 leave Otley at 8:30 to cycle out to the official start of our ride in Ripley , 3 consisting of Julia , Anne and Ray went looking for a hilly route whereas the sensible ones (Jill, Faye, Kathryn [my wife !], Siobhan and we even managed to steal Hazel and Chris who were originally going to watch the TT) went up the quietish main road .

An incident free ride to Ripley where we met with The “Hilly 3” as well as Clare, Julia, Paul and Lorna – sadly as none of our bags / pockets were big enough Daisy had to go on a walk with Matt instead !

So our team of 14 set off on a cracking ride through Ripley , the Deer Park where some of the group saw deer but others (me !!) didn’t , some stunning little lanes , a story about going uphills and a downhills linked to eating in a restaurant but ordering beans on toast ?(hazel / Julia ???) saw us arrive at the best coffee shop that the cycle club go to – the incredible Oliver’s Pantry in Ripon where most of today’s photos are from !!!

After saying goodbye to “the hilly 3” who were joined by Hazel and a slightly reluctant Chris we also decided to go a hillier route back taking in Killinghall,  Beckwithshaw and Leathley before arriving back in Otley a bit knackered .

A few heat related issues for various people on the return leg but nothing too serious .

Big thanks to Siobhan for backmarking a 55 mile gentle ride !!

Well done to Faye and Jill who were both a little nervous about doing 50m+.

And finally check out our food !!!

Sagey’s Saunter to Swinsty

It was a very low turn-out at the Buttercross this week – a combination of two Social Series away days, the Great Yorkshire Bike Ride (the day before), holidays and Fathers’ Day taking their toll. This meant that there were only three people for the 30 mile Strenuous ride to Fewston…Mark, who was ride leading, plus his pals Nel & Will who are in the process of joining the Club. As a result, Nel & Will did have to question whether they were paying their Club fees just to go on a ride with Mark – something they do fairly regularly anyway! A backmarker wasn’t really required.

We left Otley via the Pool Road and took Castley Lane in the direction of Harrogate. We then had short stop on Crag Lane whilst Will very swiftly fixed a flat. We were soon on our way again and passed through North Rigton before climbing High Moor Road to the junction of Brackenthwaite Lane. We then had a speedy decent into Burn Bridge and skirted round the edge of Harrogate to reach Beckwithshaw. On Norwood Lane, we paused to watch the men’s and women’s Harrogate Nova Summer Races steam past us, making us feel very inadequate indeed!


We ploughed on in the sapping temperatures and reached Swinsty Reservoir and Washburn Heritage Centre where we stumbled across what seemed like the “Fewston Bake Off”. There were two coffee & walnut cakes on offer – one made by Sally and one made by Gill. Of course, we had slices of each between us and were asked to judge which was best. I think we politely suggested they were both amazing…which they were!


Fully refreshed and with water bottles replenished we started the return leg via the dam at Fewston, and we then climbed up to Timble and headed for Askwith Moor Road. We certainly suffered with our “café legs” on the steeper parts of Snowden Carr Road, but the thrilling descent into Askwith more than made up for it. Nel & Will returned to Burley In Wharfdale at Askwith which meant that Mark (the ride leader) returned to Otley all on his own…bless!

Stretching Ride to Thorner

Oh my goodness, it was Hot, Hot, Hot. A fabulous five had a great ride out round Eccup and out to Thorner with much laughter and merriment.

A minor navigational error on my part added an extra couple of miles but as a result we did see a rather glorious field of poppies. The Dexter provided a well earned shady respite and we were very grateful of the huge jug of iced water to replenish our bottles. The group fragmented a little on the way back as Father’s Day commitments and general exhaustion took hold but 3 made it safely back to Otley and a great morning was had by all.

North Rigton and Smarties

9.00am at The Buttercross in the soaring heat …..waiting for the Gentle Ride team to arrive!!!! Eventually we had 5 in the team braving the tropical desert weather. Myself Mark Jones leading, Catherine, Dave, Eddy and Ian Helliwell backmarking. We had a steady ride along the Otley – Pool road, through to Castley across the main road again, then up the hills stopping frequently to drink our water bottles dry in the Serengeti heat. Eddy took to revealing his chest to all out on the roads by unzipping his top flapping behind him like a parachute. Catherine wasn’t impressed, neither were the general public hehe!.

We arrived at Almscliffe Crag after a detour extra mile to eat up a bit of time as I was informed the café didn’t open until 11.00am at the Square and Compass. Took a couple of photos then headed off to the café. On route Catherine had a little incident and came off her bike…..Eddy and Dave were there like a shot to help Catherine, Eddy offered the kiss of life even though Catherine was fully conscious! We arrived at the Café only to be advised by the landlord that he would have served us any time after 10.00am (worth knowing in future), however the riders in my group were giving me some stick for getting them to ride down a hill and back up again to waste a bit of time. Took another photo, had our liquid refreshment had a good old chat and a laugh with the 2 Ronnies- Dave and Eddy! Who have a great sense of humour.

We then set off back along the route we had just ridden over to Leathley then up the hill to Farnley, not without incident I’m afraid. I pulled off the road into a gravel pull in and waited for the team to arrive to have a well deserved drink of water after the climb up the hill. Poor Eddy arrived and unfortunately hit some loose rubble and came off into the pull in. After an offer of return First Aid from Catherine, Eddy was back on his feet ready to go. Finally we descended from Farnley down into Otley, with my fingers crossed that we didn’t have a further incident. We did it…. all arrived safe and without any further scrapes. I would like to thank Ian Helliwell for back marking who did a fantastic job in keeping a check on everyone, a big thank you to Catherine, Dave and Eddy who all have a great sense of humour even after little incidents. A really enjoyable ride, thank you all once again.

Time Trial Team Cheerleaders

This week’s strenuous option was not a usual half day ride. We did a very fast ride to Walshford and hung around by a roundabout for 1.5 hours cheering our Otley members , including our Liz Hills, riding in Otley blue and a bit of a Bronte Weaver team (blue in the middle) in the national team trialling event.

After a morning randomly cheering fast cyclists by a roundabout we headed back to Otley along the A1 bridleway and got overwhelmed by heat and discovered the joys of laying on grass in the shade of a tree…a return to social riding!

Thanks Ian and Andy for cheering company.

Ripley to Ripon Ride photos (Courtesy of Ann’s Strava :-))

[Ed] Having scoured the internet I discovered where half the social riders were today – they had of course joined Steve on his rolling ride from Ripley to Ripon. We have but this couple of photos as evidence…

14 cyclists sweating in Oliver’s Pantry (mind the butter)