Riders: Hayley Squires, Mark Badger, Peter “rosy knees” Down, Stephen Grieg, Mick Abbiss, Martin B, Martin G, Mystery Rider A

A perfect Sunday morning, blue skies, no wind, freezing temperatures, well as Meat Loaf said two out of three ain’t bad! It was winter kit time as we assembled at the Cricket club for a ride out to Wentworth Garden Centre, winter kit for everyone apart from Pete who turned up in shorts with a pair or rosy knees to match his rosy cheeks!

A quick planning meeting before we set off saw us change the venue from Wentworth Garden Centre to Elsecar Heritage as there was a Christmas Market at Wentworth meaning big crowds and big queues for the scones! Once decided off we set with Mick “the hoover” shepherding us along as usual.

Out of Tickhill we climbed Wilsic Lane in the crisp bright sunshine with the slight incline warming everyone up nicely, even Pete’s rosy knees, and before long we had passed through Braithwell and headed down to Micklebring. Nodding to a few other hardy souls out on their bikes we headed into Ravenfield passing through both the new and old bits turning left on Thrybergh Lane which we hoped had thawed out as we descended past Thrybergh Country Park.

A brief spell on the busy Doncaster road before we turned left to head for Kilnhurst. Passing over Karl’s bridge with no incidents this time we began the long climb to Upper Haugh, the clue’s in the name although I don’t know how to pronounce it, the climb went on and on spreading the group out as usual requiring a regroup at the top.

We turned right for a fast descent on decent tarmac for a change but not fast enough for some of our car driving friends who couldn’t wait two minutes and had to squeeze past in the most inappropriate places, it was a relief to turn left on to quiet America Lane and start the next climb to Hoober Stand. What goes up must come down so after a brief regroup our hill climbing efforts were rewarded with a sweeping descent through Brampton and eventually rolling into Elsecar and the Heritage centre.

Parking the bikes up we inadvertently upset one of the shopkeepers by parking our bikes in front of her window but Stephen negotiated parking for two with the rest spread around a little. Bikes parked a recuperating Jenny walked gingerly over the carpark to meet us for coffee and give rosy kneed Pete a lift home. Service and food was good in Brambles Café and I think we’ll be back. Fed and watered it was time to get the show back on the road but outside Hayley got chatting to a guy showing birds of prey and asked if we could have a photo in front of them, “I can do better than that” he said and in a few minutes Hayley had a leather gauntlet on and a big owl sat on her fist!

Photos taken with Tom the owl it really was time to get the show back on the road as we were getting cold. A short sharp climb up to Wentworth soon got temperatures up and heart rates racing before we turned right for a 4-mile loop taking us back out of Wentworth only to come back in at the garden centre which was ¼ up the road if we’d have turned left! Oh well our ride leader knew what he was doing so off we went.

4-mile loop completed it was pretty much a case of retracing our route back through Upper, Upper, Upper whatever it’s called, Swinton and Hooton Roberts which was mostly downhill so should have been trouble free, apart from a BMW driver who, being late for church, cut us up in a dodgy overtaking manoeuvre and headed off into the distance. Just around the corner however there were a couple of horses, so Mr BMW slowed down for them of course giving Martin G a chance to catch up and have a chat with him about his overtaking skills.

Waving good bye to Mr BMW there were just a couple of more hills to contend with before Martin G left us for home near Conisborough, Mick left for home after climbing Clifton hill, Martin B & Stephen detoured from Braithwell to Maltby leaving Mark, Hayley and our mystery rider to head back into Tickhill.

Another great ride for the club in near perfect conditions despite it being a bit chilly.

Martin B