I might confuse you with times and colours - not sure I can report without doing that anyway!
We all met - yes “all” at the cricket club at 9am. The Red ride to be led by a man who took off his red jacket before leading out; the returning 7am ride (do they have a colour?); the blue ride to be led by a man in orange ( more soon) and a purple ride to be led by a man in TVC regalia. Quite a gathering and probably a big improvement on what went before.
Red leader gave a short safety briefing. Well done and worth repeating.
However back to orange leader and the blue ride:
riders were: Matthew Lowe (ride leader), Pete Hanks, Mary O’Shea, Chris Higgins, Hilary Thompson, Diana Simpson, Christina Cooper, Dan O’Shea, Martin Crapper, Paul Bacon (who set off at 6.45 to cycle here) and Neil Robinson.
Sorry but if you weren’t on the blue ride you don’t get a mention.
We eleven including three new faces on the blue agenda (lovingly called the 9.30 ride) set off to the right out of the gate and regrouped at the junction of Sunderland Street! This was not a taste of what was to be - the traffic soon cleared - After that we were pretty damn good all through the ride. 2 by 2 and fairly tight.
We went through Harworth, we passed the Golf course at Serlby, and almost all of us regretted the lack of thick winter clothing but were bravely chatting as though it didn’t matter. Right and left towards Mattersey, then through Mattersey Thorpe, where the roads were beautifully resurfaced, before rejoining the Everton road and then right along Eel pool Lane before heading into Clayworth. Left round the church and up the long hill into Gringley.
The pace increased a little but was well controlled as we flew down the hill turning right towards and through Walkeringham and then northwards along the main road to West Stockwith. The signs indicated the road we wanted was closed but thanks to Pete we were led that way knowing that we would turn off before the closed level crossing. OK, by the time we reached Epworth we had to rely on red traffic lights to force a regroup and as one we hit the café! We probably dallied longer than normal but you can only blame the excellent drinks, food and good conversation. Prices as always were low and a staff member even took the photo. Matt was doing his best to integrate (on the photo) and failing or maybe he was looking proudly at his charges!
We took the easy way out of Epworth heading past Low Burnham and turning right into Haxey getting a bit spread out by the hills but gathering easily and speeding downhill into Westwoodside. I thought, hoped(?), that there was a second coffee stop coming but Pete’s Place is still closed for renovation.
Past the duck pond and along Cove Road before turning back along idle Bank to meet the B1396 close to the once Park Drain Hotel. Pete left us here to go back home. As we turned off this busy main road towards Misson things were going really well although a quick rest would have been handy. Step up Chris! A broken chain! What most of us thought was a disaster leading to a long walk was overcome with such ease it seems likely we will all be going out to buy ourselves a chain tool. Matt came to the rescue with his repair kit and the repair was exceptionally quick - well I could see me taking a fortnight to sort it! Others had in mind the ET solution to “phone home”.
At slightly slower pace ,just in case, we carried on to Bawtry where we were separated by traffic and being at the back yours truly had to make a small diversion to meet the waiting group by the old chapel. They waved me on and within minutes I was lost! The lesson learned long ago - Ride leader should be in front! By the time we got back to Tickhill there were fewer of us as riders peels off to go home, me included.
This was a very enjoyable ride, a little longer than normal but to be looked forward to when it crops up again. The company was good and the new faces a welcome addition. Thanks everybody and good luck to Dan and Neil at the Severn Trent Sportive this coming weekend.