Riders: Matthew Lowe (ride leader), Paul Bacon, Peter Hanks, Andrew Rex, Christina Cooper, Hilary Thompson, Denise Motley, Mark Motley, John Musgrove, Tina Musgove, Robert Stevenson, Chris Higgins.


Early Morning fog had cleared and the odds of a dry day seemed reasonable! Of the 13 only one kept the raincoat on and may well have been warmer than the rest. It was going to be a short ride - wellingtons is only half a mile away. Matt’s advert clearly was wrong offering a 33 mile ride and we set off in the right direction but not even glancing at the café as we sailed past. The art of a good ride leader is misinformation beforehand with real enjoyment in the ride. And 14.5 mph give or take a tiny bit was what we did. No one passed the leader and no one got left behind (in lap one anyway but I cant say for lap 2). We turned right onto Blyth Road at Stripe Road end and with a bit less traffic headed through Harworth to the A1 junction.


Inexplicably none of the drivers going to take flowers to ‘Mum’ were coming around the A1 roundabout so we were able to cross over without pause - even the traffic lights had been in our favour. Extra brownie points there Matt!


Through Blyth and onto the B6045 Worksop Road we made our way in tidy formation and with light traffic up to the point where to miss even the ‘light’ traffic we turned off towards Hodsock Priory. At this time in the morning there were no visitors so we had a pleasant and scenic ride past the main entrance and out towards the exit.


Did I mention that as part of 9.30 cycling you have to toughen up and try under mud cycling? The sign said ‘EXIT” with an enormous arrow pointing straight up. So we went ‘right’! I was prepared of course my GT bike is sold as a cyclo/cross bike. As long as mud is below the axles it goes forward. To begin with the route was grassy and interesting but 10 yards along and the puddles appeared followed pretty quickly by mud. Mud Puddles and more mud. There was scenery but you daren’t look at it in case you fell off - no knowing what was below the surface. There were those who thought ‘we should go back’ but I can’t multi-task so stuck to trying to stay on. There were squeals (of delight) but I can’t say from whom and Matt had obviously chosen this to acclimate for Majorca!


What seemed like several miles later we hit proper tarmac and regrouped with the reassurance that the road was ‘not far now’. And it wasn’t but if you are ever tempted to go along Hodsock Lane wait for a prolonged drought.


Carlton-in-Lindrick had never seemed so attractive. We zig-zagged through the village till we reached Rotherham Baulk and then continued East passing Gildingwells and along Red Quarrry Lane/ Lodge Lane to the outskirts of Dinnington. For the technically minded we had only cycled 12.5 miles (unless you are Paul Bacon or Peter Hanks) and climbed 832 feet. Sorry for that I was feeling a touch of OCD)


The ride took us down Less lane along Lamb Lane and then a left onto Penny Hill but before Firbeck we turned away again towards Laughton-en-le-Morthen. Straight through we went and into Thurcroft taking a couple of right turns and on towards Brookhouse. I saw the sign on the left saying “Bib Lane” but kept my head down until well past. I did hear Tina saying “I’m going back and up Bib Lane” but I had to keep going! Tina and John, who also took the hill, waited for us on Carr Lane and looked less out of breath the i was too.


The group turned left in Carr along Newhall Lane/Sandy Lane into and more or less directly through Bramley. I like that little bit of Cycle route which takes you along Main Street in the opposite direction to the one way traffic. Its one of those “up yours” feelings that I don’t suppose for a moment you get!


Lidget lane is the beginning of the general decent towards Tickhill But we were not there yet! We crossed the M18 and turned off towards Micklebring where we headed along Cockhill Field lane to meet the spring/summer intervals route at Cockhill Lane. Following the course a short distance wee took the left turn into Tickhill Back Lane which becomes Apy Hill Lane But before we new it we were at Wellingtons where despite it being Mothers Day we were able to find a table.  Drinks and food went down well but some of us were heading for home rather than a second lap (but a second lap without the mud). The managers (?) took a phot which you can see on Wellingtons Facebook page - I can’t because I tried to log in on my PC rather than my MAC and am currently locked out! Still I shall get some peace now until I get reinstated.


I look forward a) to reading part 2 and b) to next weeks ride.