Riders were: Paul Bacon (ride coordinator), Matthew Lowe, Kevin Thomas, Diane Jordan, Martin Crapper and two guest appearances (one of which was welcome)
An early morning start (or late for Paul) began at the Sun Inn in North Wheatley, Needless to say I couldn’t find it and did a lap in my car round the village, well who would expect to see a pub with no advertising and only a large painted sun at high level! Still I got there to find all but Paul waiting and he had seen me go past so chased after.
A quick visit to the facilities at Paul’s house and we were off with the promise of a fair day and light wind on the way back. Didn’t stop us looking longingly at the Citrus café as we went past but we were settling into a nice routine, two at the front two at the back and one in the middle. With light winds we made good headway out of Saundby over the roundabout into and out of Beckingham to Walkeringham.
“Ring Ring” ah it’s Pete Hanks on the phone to Paul asking where we were (we knew he was going to meet us en-route). He was at West Stockwith and was to join us to the café and leave us again part way back. Back on the road again we met with Pete at the Misterton roundabout and carried on as a group of 6.
It seems like a string of villages sheltering alongside the Trent, Gunthorpe, Owston Ferry, West Butterwick, Althorpe. At Owston at the junction where the right and immediate left turn is whispered advice of “clear” rang silently through the group. Sue and Alan (you don’t know them) who live on the corner and sleep upstairs at the front get miffed every Sunday by cyclists shouting “clear” and waking them up so we did our bit even though getting up would have been good for them!
Somewhere along this road we had to wait as Paul and Matt stopped to admire the scenery someway back and need to catch up, and Paul need to ring and warn the café that we were on our way.
It was a cold head wind and with the sun breaking through here and there we appreciated the warmth just wishing it was a bit more consistent. There hadn’t been a lot of traffic but it built up once we reached and crossed the bridge at Gunness. I used to Live in Goole and Flixborough and Alkborough were seen as little places at the end of the known world. Its not like that - Diane had been this way before on her way to the Humber Bridge! This part of the route was also more comfortable, there was a bit more shelter from the wind, the roads were smoother and the café was getting nearer and the traffic lighter. We had had a couple of boy racers demonstrating their capabilities and speed as they passed us, Nothing of course compared to boy wonder on the way home! We cycled through Burton upon Stather without seeing what the Stather was-a stream or a hill perhaps?
The road beyond was much longer than I remembered from Paul’s 60th birthday ride but we made it and were welcomed by a row of 6 gleaming cycle stands secured to the wall. There seemed a lot of customers but we found tables and within a short time our orders were taken and we waited and chatted the time away. To be fair, service was pretty good even though Paul tried to throw a spanner in the works by ordering Pudding (well cake) after his sausage sandwich. My scone with jam and cream was a good 6.5 points worth.
On the bikes again we had a major decision to make, Lands End or John O’Groats? See Photo! Fortunately Diane needed to get back as she had a concert to go to so we put off the decision till another time.
We had the wind behind us so the pace increased, and there was or seemed to be a lot of downhill to do. We were back at the bridge in no time parting with Pete who was going to take a direct route back to Westwoodside - it was going to be his longest ride since taking up the pedals again. So we now 5 headed home too down the East side of the Trent with breeze firmly behind.
We followed the road and the river as far as Susworth, 2 houses needs a collective name? And then turned east to go through Laughton Forest where the roads look to go on forever. But with a tail wind it didn’t matter too much. The road then seemed to travel from Forest to Wood to Plantation before taking us to Morton at the North end of Gainsborough. As we turned right we met coming out of a side road a hard tail bike plus lout. Is that too kind a word? Probably. He, Larry the lout, decided to pass us. On one wheel with cardboard box and what looked like 2 cornettoes. He was on the wrong side of the road so it didn’t matter — until he had to throw the box, grip the bars and avoid the first car heading at him. One cornet fell out of his mouth the other from his hand, but did he stop to pick them up ? NO! A lot happened in the next few hundred yards (thats metres Diane). Firstly as we past him he decided not to let us, so he accelerated head on for a car coming the other way, Thinking to swerve and probably knock Paul off, he was thwarted by Paul and narrowly missed both traffic island and braking car.
Clearly up for a challenge he offered Kevin a race! He was never going to win and eventually gave in. By this time we were at the bridge over the Trent and headed down the river bank to the industrial estate and from there back into Beckingham. The smell of freshly cut timber was such a change and pleasure. Oh little things!
Back to Saundby and for the second time we passed the Citrus Café without going in. But we had just been offered a coffee and fresh scone at a local invitation only café - “Chez Paul”. But first Diane had signed up for a BC challenge and need to do at least 100k. I did ask, she said BC challenges were always in foreign measurements. So we went via Sturton Le Steeple and managed a fraction over the 100k so all was happy.
Eeerrr not quite happy, Diane had a flat tire on her car! We sent Paul home to get the kettle on and pumped the tyre up before sending her and Kevin on their ways. Matt and I drove over for the promised scone and drink.
As requested I offer a relative score, And it would have been higher if we’d been offered a second helping but for that it only get 9.5.
A great ride — enjoyable or interesting all the way round — thanks everybody and I hope to see you next weekend.