Lots of riders were milling about in the car park but mainly for the red ride. Blue ride was to have been lead by Paul Bacon but he couldn’t make it so Matt bravely stepped into the role, thought long and hard and decided that the published destination (Harley Gallery), or the route to it, was a bit busy for him in his perilous state! Think Race Around Ireland, no sleep and gallons of Guinness and you’ve got the message if not the method.

 

The riders were Matthew Lowe, Martin Crapper, Dave Orridge, Nick Kay, Christina Cooper, Paul (Elwell), Denise Motley, Helen (Hand) and Stewart (Oades). Honestly! They can remember to come on a ride but can’t remember when signing a register what there surnames are!

 

We were to be ten but firstly Noreen dropped out giving the extremely pathetic excuse that her shorts had split — we weren’t allowed to look so maybe she had a point. Diana also opted out - having looked forward to the Harley gallery and a flat ride she was disappointed at the revised hilly destination. Let’s hope we see them both next week.

 

Matthew had some route planning to do on the bike as he didn’t have time beforehand. Unavoidably short notice! This is in no way reflected in the Strava view of our route out of Tickhill, it may look less than direct but it was very scenic — apart from the lower part of Apy Hill Lane. But once out beyond the industrial site and into the countryside we began to enjoy ourselves. The pace was “easy” with no one getting too far in front and no one getting left behind. We turned right at the end and then left and into Braithwell. Cycling through Braithwell we turned left onto Holywell Lane and in a roundabout way made it into Maltby. 

 

Shouts of “that’s Mick”from one and “has he had a shave?”  from another disrupted play but no one fell off and we got down to the main road in one piece although not on a route I knew. Turning right we did a stretch on the busy main road before turning left onto Carr Lane and Into our first hill and I could see why Diana might have worried about the hills.  Just as we got to the bottom of the steepest section we turned right — not flat by any means and long. Low Lane was where riff-raff at the back suggested that Matt only came this way so he could see his name on a billboard. And it was spelt wrong anyway!

 

Having had our fun with him, Matt took us into Carr and along Ramper Lane/West Lane?Newhall Lane (its all one, why has it go by different names for different sections? Can’t be snobbery can it?) At the end we waited for traffic then turned right and immediately left onto Sandy Lane and into Wickersley.  From there we headed down the A6060 and left onto Moat Lane to go back over the motorway towards Thurcroft and then Brookhouse. And OK I fibbed a bit about wanting to go up Bib Lane but we went up Rose Lane and Rotherham Lane anyway into Laughton where the road have been resurfaced! Wonders will never cease!

 

It was nice enough when we got there so we ordered and sat outside. Service was excellent, the waitress resisted the temptation to silence Christina and the coffee and cakes were at least 9/10.

We ate and drank whilst being watched by the one toothed llama! Rain jackets went on to most as it looked like rain but it held off.

 

A very nice lady offered to take a group photo although she was a bit short sighted without her glasses and a quick “we’re over here” got her focussed on the right crowd. 

 

We set off after a quick discussion and a decision to go straight home although Christina opted to go home directly whilst we remainders simply turned left and headed for Firbeck. Matthew and Paul were in front and, despite what he told Paul Bacon, Matt set off at better than Olympic pace. No doubt concerned about a dodgy weather forecast. We regrouped in Firbeck where we lost Denise who opted for home and turned up Kidd Lane.

The rest ( a smaller rest by now!) continued on and, at the point where we were to turn up Thornbury Hill Lane, Dave continued on to go to Oldcotes and then Carlton to be picked up at his daughters house by a  more suitably dressed Noreen. 

 

Halfway down Malpass Hill, Helen and Stewart turned off towards Styrrup leaving three of us to make it to Tickhill. A wet ‘me’ arrived having followed a mudguard-less Matt through puddles. Nick and I arrived safely and having thanked Matt left hoping for a dry day next Sunday and good company as always.