Rider leader (oops! Ride Coordinator) Paul Bacon
The following followed (mostly) - Kieran James, Christina Cooper, Sue Shore, Oliver Hartmann, Clair Scammell, Paul Elwell, Dave Orridge, Noreen Dunnett, Mick Lee, Martin Crapper.
The car park was clogged up by cyclists who having got up early, seen the sun, were desperate to enjoy the outdoors. We the blue ride numbered 11 and the red ride about the same so 3 times the last ride! Having determined we were all setting off the same way Red ride headed off first and following the same route (but not for long) we also headed towards Harworth a little strung out I admit but it was the wind you see. In our faces, slowing us down but we knew it would be blowing us home later!
We made it safely over the A1 en-route and stopped to regroup before heading down into Blyth. The sun and traffic had made getting over safely a bit difficult. But we were not going to complain about the sun!
Through the village and we turned right towards Worksop. It was clear we were getting spread out but like a true co-ordinator Paul went for a technical pause. To a quick shout of “chain off” we stopped. By the time he discovered it was only jammed we were all together again. Setting off we lowered the pace hoping to make the group look at least a bit like pro’s.
We avoided the turn into Hodsock dwelling on the excitement of Matt’s 2018 course over land not fit for even a rough old MTB, mainly because the snowdrop viewing was on, the road busy and maybe they would charge us three quid each to get in!
It’s a pretty straight road from there to worksop and we were able to ride in twos and again recouping at the traffic lights before the hospital. Up the short hill and then the long glide down under the bridge and right at the roundabout towards Morrisons (or past in our case). We took the left fork off Kilton Road into Priorswell Road and at the end a quick left and right onto Lowtown Street/Netherton Road. We were enjoying the sunshine, quite unexpected in February and the temperature was higher than expected too.
On the map Ollerton Road seems endless but it didn’t seem so that day, admittedly we were too busy chatting to notice and we were then turning right onto Limetree Avenue pausing briefly to consider Paul’s ridiculous offer of cutting short the route and stopping at the Old School House Café. With barely time to catch our breath we were winding our way through lovely countryside alongside the lakes and through the trees and into Norton. From there it was a pleasant but brief ride along Infield Lane before we turned for the final leg into the A60 Worksop/Mansfield Road. Single file was essential but we made it safely To the Café.
Despite the car park looking packed and the weather being fair we were able to find outside tables to sit us all. There were a lot of orders for meals rather than snacks so it took a while for the orders to arrive and with the sun disappearing it began to feel cool. The food when it came was well worth waiting for. Regrettably the one loo also had to be waited for! Some only went to get warm under the dryer - yes we all noticed!
Noreen who had struggled to keep going took a “taxi” home. Having been unwell earlier in the week it was perhaps a bit too early to ride so far. Hopefully she is recovered by now.
Strava shows that some of us warmed up by doing circuits in the courtyard but we set off intending to take a direct and shorter route home. turning north (right) out of the gates traffic was busier than it had been earlier and it took a while to get back on the A60 safely. The sun was now showing when it felt like it and the day cooler. But we are cyclists did we care? Er yes, but we kept going anyway onto the A619 roundabout and regrouped just beyond. The big new roundabout where the A60 meets the A57 has lights ensuring we were all together when we crossed over into Worksop.
I always enjoy crossing the pedestrian bit of Bridge Street on a bike its that feeling of not being either a motorist or a pedestrian! Although maybe that last can describe my cycling sometimes!
We hit every traffic light on red - not what we hope for but what we expect.
Just leaving Worksop we pulled in to regroup. Someone realised we were a person short and said “We’ve lost Claire”. Ollie was heard by several to say “Shame, I quite liked her”. Gems like that don’t often occur and put paid to the theory that foreigners don’t have a sense of humour. My apologies if you also come from Thorpe Hensley!
Kieran expressed frustration about the “quality” of the cycling by some of the group and thought he might not come again with the Blue group for his safety. I think we all need to look at how we ride. Its the half wheeling, two/three abreast and riding too near the middle which are the obvious points to watch. Kieran had been at the back so was in a good position to see.
We paused again on the outskirts of ~Carlton and agreed to split into two smaller groups well apart until after the long string of safety islands between there and Langold. It seemed to work well but there were still cars going round the wrong side of the islands to pass us!
The journey back into Tickhill was uneventful - enjoyable as had most of the way home been as the wind had been helping us along.
I enjoyed the ride and hope to do more like it. Thanks everybody and Paul who puts work into the planning which our ride leaders/co-ordinators all do and which we don’t see other than in the quality of the route. See you next week.