Ride Leader: Matthew Lowe. Riders: Alan Senior, Sue Shore, Paul Bacon, Mick Lee, Peter Hanks, Tina Musgrove, Helen Hand, Stuart Mades, Diana Simpson, Martin Crapper, Paul Russell and Nick Kay.


It was a lovely winter morning, bright, dry and little to no wind. Ok so some complained of frost when they left home but I hadn’t really seen any worth a mention. Alan and Sue were a welcome addition to the ride and we split into 2 groups before setting off about a minute part. Team Bacon being the 6 at the rear!


We set off east along Sunderland Street as an impressively compact couple of groups, singling out as we went up the hill at the Stripe Road crossroad and made our way to Bawtry. The advantage of a crisp winters day is that the views tend to be clear and their day was no exception the views were tremendous. It was promising to be an enjoyable ride.


There seemed to be quite a bit of other traffic as we reached Bawtry and we did get separated by a few yards at the junction but by the time we got to the right turn towards Auckley we were back together again. Rather than turning towards Misson we kept to the main road to Finningley chatting as we went. It is a nice flat road and we kept to the advertised speed and keeping Team Lowe just in our sights. Taking the right turn in Finningley alone Wroot Road we crossed the level crossing and over Sandersons Bank past the flood quarry and along Candy Bank eventually arriving in Wroot. At the left turn we found Matt waiting to point us in the right direction and the remainder of the lead group just around the bend (no that’s right!). We didn’t need the rest but we gave them a minutes start anyway and went off down Woodside Lane where the grid iron pattern of ditches and dykes took us through the right angles towards the River Torne where were greeted by Peter who then headed off to rejoin the lead group. I’m not allowed to say why we paused as it may be before the watershed and unfit for delicate ears, so we paused. I’m not even vaguely sure what a Turbary is but we went through Epworth Turbary and along the back roads into Epworth.


Amazingly we arrived within minutes of Team Lowe and were let in through a door to a storage area. It was my first visit to the Lemon Tree in the garden centre so bike security was a surprise.  Regrettably locking up took longer than it should and I admit it I got lost inside the garden centre. An assistant pointed out the route past the donkeys’ through the Christmas decorations and into the cafe area. Another surprise was to find Peter Wilby sitting drinking and looking far fresher than the last time I saw him. Hopefully he will be rejoining us soon.


Regular tea or coffee and a buttered tea cake or scone at a pleasantly low price seemed to attract most people and it was good but it was also warm and the prospect of heading out again a little daunting. The Donkeys provided a little excitement and one of our group managed a very passable imitation — of the noise not the appearance! 


Helen and Stuart left us to take a different route as we set off. We soon got warmer although the cold was noticeable as went down the hill into Low Burnham and up at the other side and into Haxey. expecting to go straight into Westwoodside I was confused when we took a right turn in Haxey The wind was beginning to rise a little but not affecting progress, just making it a bit cooler. The hill between Upperthorpe and Westwoodside seemed to get everybody excited and produce a bag full of “PR’s on Strava. (sorry that’s almost technical). Peter left us here to do more house sorting having at long last got into his new palace.


We continued on, turned left into Park Lane and by the time we turned right onto the A1369 I knew where I was again - Sandersons Bank and the way home. But turning left into Springs Road we were heading towards Misson and still reasonably well grouped although depleted in numbers. Bawtry Road back towards Bawtry the chatting had eased off a bit, not that we had run out of things to discuss it was more a case of conserving energy. At the junction with High `street in Auckley Matt stopped and left those who wanted to continue. He would follow shortly. He could be still there!


That seemed to leave 3 of us heading through Bawtry and up the hill towards Tickhill where the others were I have no idea! I could go check I suppose they may be with Matt on the corner. Mick turned left at Stripe crossroads to ‘put in a few more miles’ and I turned into Meadow drive leaving Nick to return to the Cricket club. alone! I had a really enjoyable ride, no mechanicals, bike running better having had a service at Don Valley Cycles as had Paul and Diana’s bikes following our farces the previous week. I look forward to another outing next Sunday and perhaps a middle session or two.