Today’s riders were; Matthew Lowe (ride leader); Pete Hanks; Mark Motley; Denise Motley; Owen Thomas; Kevin Thomas; Mick Lee; Paul Russell; Clair Scammell; Darren O’Connor; David Orridge; Noreen Dunnett; Kieran James and Paul Bacon.

Riding out of Bawtry to Tickhill I met Martin Crapper... riding from Tickhill to Bawtry.  Before I knew it I spotted, in my mirror (Rule #66... fufff) Martin catching me up.  He explained he was just out for a quick ride as he wasn’t able to make the organised ride for the day.  Sadly, he didn’t pass on any wisdom or tips for completing the write up so...

It was sunny, the Humber Bridge riders were on their way without incident (I passed them near Misson) and the numbers grew as we neared 9:30.  Finally there were 14 riders (Rob and Martin still trying to confuse us by hanging around) and we set off in two groups having received the first few directions from Matt.

We took the scenic route through Tickhill and made our way up Apy Hill Lane, where we met Hilary and a group of Dinnington riders coming down.  The first group waited for us at the top of Back Lane, riders checking their tyres for bits of hedgerow which had been chopped and thus littered the road.  No thorns but Kieran did find a random, free swinging spoke on his new back wheel.  By this time the first group had exited stage right and we stayed with him until a lift was arranged.  We waved goodbye and made our way down through Old Edlington, Warmsworth and Sprotborough where we were reunited with the others.  Under the A1 and left up Sheep Walk Lane (no sheep spotted) and crossing what turned out to be a very unbusy A635.

A quick right and left saw us riding on Roman Ridge (no cars, no thorns), exiting onto Green Lane, Woodlands.  The B1220 took us from Adwick le Street to Carcroft and Owston Road and Owston Lane (wonderful quiet, country roads).  Then... into the entrance for Owston Hall Hotel and Owston Park Golf Course.  I was asked if this was the coffee stop.  Sadly not and after a few yards up the drive we rode on the path to the footpath (where we dismounted) leading us to Stockbridge Lane (where’s the guy with the cx when you need him!)

Nearly there... through Sutton and into Askern.  As we arrived a group were leaving and we were able to enjoy ourselves outside in the sun with a certain Mr K James, who had managed to get himself to Askern with bike (Boardman cx) number 2 (sadly all the off road stuff had taken place already!).  As usual various items of food and drink were consumed and we were entertained by some pretty exciting remote controlled yacht racing.  Group photo, a walk around the lake and we were back in the saddle for the return ride home.  It was now becoming warmer and the few feet of climbing to be done would warm us up even more.

We rode through Burgwhallis and Skellow and were then confronted by the footbridge over the A1.  The second group caught the first group up... so we regrouped for the next part of the ride – Leys Lane, Hampole and the drag up to Hooton Pagnell.  The heat and the gradient fragmented us a wee bit and it was really the last time we saw the first group.  We got ourselves (the members of the second group that is) together in Hickleton and Harlington.  A management decision was also made to take route B through High Melton rather than doing the descent and climb through Cadeby.  We took a few moments after Ludwell Hill and continued along Doncaster Road and through Sprotborough, carefully navigating the hair pin.  We opted for the planned route through Wadworth and after that cheeky little bump, Tofield Road, had a quick water stop at David’s brother’s house where we were topped up with wonderful, refreshing, ice-cold water and it was even better than it sounds.

We returned to the cricket club and sat, and chatted, and enjoyed the shade by the score board, and reminisced.  It had been hot, tricky for some in places (but they didn’t give up) but very enjoyable.  Why?  Well, because Matt had found and organised a super ride and the people who we rode with are great people. 

(Editor’s note.  Upon completing the report I did, of course, try a spell check.  The first problem it found was Clair’s surname which it wanted to change to camel.  Really...  Then of course it falls out with David and... )