Riders: Ride leader Matthew Lowe, also Paul Bacon, Andrew Rex, Robert Stevenson, Denise Motley, Mark Motley, Mick Lee, Hillary Thompson, Peter Wilby, Martin Crapper, Diana Simpson, Christine Cooper, Nick Kay, Paul Russell.

 

A lovely Sunday morning, sunshine, no clouds, a little breeze (but growing) and cold saw us looking a very smart (fashion conscious?) group. Denise had parted with her sun glasses, clearly not wanting fascial tan lines and Peter thankfully wearing an acceptable yellow rain jacket to hide his southern club shirt. 

 

Splitting into 2 roughly equal groups I joined the second and we headed east along Sunderland Street with Hillary showing us a clean (sorry, flashing) pair of heels. We turned towards and past Harworth roundabouts and almost made it to the Industrial estate when a minor mechanical slowed me down, a repeat of the chain slipping which had affected me the previous week. Fortunately it turned out to be a minor problem and didn’t force an early bath! Oh, I almost forgot, on the fashion front, or because he overslept and didn’t have time to dress properly, Mick was riding in his bed socks!

 

Across the Bawtry Road onto Serlby where we singled out  anticipating golfing traffic we were noticing the coldness of the wind. As it turned out there was little traffic and we made it to the Retford Road turning right and then left and generally keeping as a pretty compact group. The first group lead by Paul were long gone and I assume were going well.

 

Skirting Ranskill we headed towards Mattersey with not too much interference from the wind. The group continued as the road swung north in Mattersey and we turned onto Eel Pool Road and towards Drakeholes where we turned south along Wiseton Road. Cold days like this tend to be brilliantly clear and this was no exception. The countryside and views were tremendous. The cycling wasn’t bad either! As we went over the canal bridge we were a little strung out so we dallied a little at the church in Clayworth, but as we were due to meet the A team a little further it was a brief rest. At the other end of Clayworth near The Beck the groups joined together for a while and then separated into a first group to take in a couple of hills and the rest of us to take a relatively flat route to Retford and the café. Paul and the hilly group set off first and we (Paul said wimps!) took the easy road.

 

Remembrance Sunday remember! The site of several hundred (thousand?) people at the cenotaph in Retford wasn’t a problem but the one diminutive traffic warden sealed our fate and we headed out away from the coffee and cakes and the warmth to take in the ring road. But we made it to a café already full of cyclists and found seats and enjoyed drinks and food. Fortunately we had arrived before the 9 o’clock group but there seemed to be a constant turn over of customers so when they did arrive there were seats for them.

 

There was some difficultly in setting out for the return journey — we seemed reluctant to leave the warmth for what we knew was going to be a cold ride and into the wind for most of the route. And no-one wanted to hang about for a group photo. Paul wisely left us to take the direct route home, he had done a fair few miles before we set off — and had a drink in the café on Sunderland Street. The rest of us, and Andy Singleton who joined us in group 1 to see how it was done, set out as briskly as we could. Straight down the A638 but turning off towards Sutton at which point we realised we were a man down. Peter had been separated from us by the heavy traffic on the town roundabout, but having caught us up we rode on. Conversation was thinner as the wind was thicker. We made it safely into Mattersey and turned back towards the A628 again.

 

Somewhere along the journey Paul caught the rear wheel of Peter and came off heavily right in front of me! Having no time to avoid him I rode over Paul’s leg and came off into a pile of metal, still clipped in. Diana unclipped my right foot because I couldn’t (natural stiffness and old age) which was a surprise bearing in mind I had just head butted her rear wheel. I could then see bleeding flesh on Paul’s knee. I realised I might not be a proper cyclist because my initial reaction was not “is my bike OK” but “have I broken his leg”. Hopefully a torn knee was the only damage. We took our time straightened out my saddle and pulled the bend out of Paul’s rear mech and continued as though nothing had happened! 

 

By he time we made it back to Harworth, Peter had left to take the direct route home and Mark and Denise had also turned off to make there way home (or possibly longer way home). By my count there were 5 of us heading into Tickhill but I see facebook has a complainant who had been in a car seeing 20 of us so she couldn’t get past. Perhaps it was the other group (?) but single file or two abreast you can’t please everybody. I had had another good ride.

 

The bike is due into the workshop tomorrow anyway so I am looking forward to a more confident ride next weekend.

See you then!