Today’s riders were; Catherine Adams; Tina Musgrove; Dave Orridge; Martin Crapper; Diana Simpson; Pete Hanks; Matt Lowe; Helen Hand; Mick Lee; Kerry Wilcockson; Justin Booth and Paul Bacon.
It was a cloudy, cool and as nine o’clock approached riders gathered at the cricket club. There was no confusion, really there wasn’t, just a perplexed individual (Catherine) who had turned up for the red ride only to find it was starting from Wentworth, which annoyingly, is only a mile from her house. Too late to get back there and trying to meet them en route was not an option so she opted for joining the blue ride. It was great to see Justin on his first club ride too, ready to go in club kit. We perhaps should have renamed it the blurple ride (I’ll let you work that one out for yourself).
The twelve of us were lead by Matt out of Tickhill to Bawtry where we negotiated the left and right turns making our way to Finningley. A quick stop after the right turn to Wroot allowed certain members, well member, to ride and find a suitable stopping point and all were back together for the ride along Bank End Road and Sanderson’s Bank. At some point I’ll have to mention, so may as well mention it now, that the pace and organisation of this ride could have been taken from a cycling manual. Only for the briefest of moments, e.g. the rise at Tickhill Spital, did the group separate slightly. The rest of the ride was in two’s, all together.
Sanderson’s Bank was as usual a little busy with traffic but our compact group made life easier for the friendly motorists and before long we were ready to turn left onto Idle Bank. We passed Thorn Bank, Matt opting for the next left turn, Poles Bank. These roads can allow two vehicles to pass but drivers seemed reluctant to pass us when riding in twos so we singled out to allow them to pass safely. However this was not as straightforward as you would think. The usual shout of ‘car up,’ was given and the first few vehicles did in fact pass us whilst riding in twos. Then a larger, 4x4 type vehicle tried to get past and the shout of ‘single out,’ seemed to be lost on the wind so it drove alongside until the front runners realised it was a slightly wider motor and single out. As a result, it was decided that we (i.e. those at the back) should inform all and sundry of the width and type of vehicle that was behind so everyone was in the know. (This discussion was undertaken while riding and passed up and down the group) Being at the back, I had to rely on my trusty little bar mirror as I find turning around too often a little disorienting due to the varifocals. I think this is one of those ‘you had to be there’ times as it was great fun trying to identify the vehicles which were following us. The motorists didn’t help either as one or two sneaky individuals had trailers which I couldn’t see until they were coming past. It made for light banter and much amusement, the miles passing effortlessly until we reached Tia where a gentleman who shall remain anonymous decided to dismount in a most unconventional method (he was OK).
The service was excellent, quick and efficient and despite one or two folks being unhappy with their hot beverages being served in disposable cups (T***), the repast was well received. The only other hitch was that their minimum card spend is £6, resulting in a little negotiation between riders but easily overcome. Catherine decided during our stay that she needed to spread her wings, stretch her legs, push on... and opted for returning to Tickhill following the outbound route. The rest of us opted for the shorter inbound route.
One of the joys of being at the back is seeing a well organised group riding along, chatting, making necessary calls/jestures... feeling a sense of pride to be part of it. Never more true than our returning approach to Bawtry. We had to stop at the Austerfield junction, saying fond farewells to Diana and Pete but as we came along Station Road we approached the junction with the A638 and the road being clear we negotiated the junction as one rider and... the pelican crossing being on red allowed us to do the same as we turned right to Tickhill... so smooth. So we continued, all the way along the A631. Mick and Helen had peeled off by this time so there were seven of us left to reminisce and enjoy the sunshine. We left Kerry waiting for Catherine and were happy when Justin said he would join us for another ride.
Many thanks to all for a super ride. If you’ve find any of this report slightly confusing you’re in good company. I have too and I wrote it.