Riders; Martin Crapper; Paul Elwell; Chris Higgins; Matthew Lowe; Clair Scammell; Diana Simpson; Kerry Wilcockson and Paul Bacon.
The usual crowd gathered inside (for a warm) and the usual suspects were outside. Comfort was given to those riders missing their friends who were on other duties and we managed to vacate the changing room before the mystery door closer was able to act... Most seemed to opt for late winter/early spring attire with only a few riders sporting shorts. Madness or folly... in my case I feel it was folly. We had one holiday form for next week and a couple of notes of absence... one due to decorating I believe (lie in...)
Our red riding friends left us and the pre talk was soon all done and dusted... “Ready!” We left via the more usual right out of the car park and left at the junction. There being only eight of us we were soon, and I don’t say this lightly, formed into four perfect pairs. We headed out for Bawtry and it wasn’t long before our perfect eight was a sort of stretched out formation more suited to eleven peeps kicking a ball around. However, we were soon back in shape and stayed thus for almost all of the remainder of the ride. We navigated Bawtry, the right turn in Austerfield and onwards through Misson. It may have been chilly but we maintained a comfortable pace, had interesting conversation and enjoyed the fresh air and so the miles ticked by.
At the junction onto Sanderson’s Bank we nearly convinced certain members of the group that there was a ‘straight on’ option (yes the picture is from street view but you get the picture... get it? picture...hmmm) Anyways we turned right of course and next left up the long, straight Idle Bank. In quite a state in places despite having been repaired only recently. We took the right on Wroot Road which means that we missed the swan’s nest by some five hundred feet (I saw it on the way in). No mention of the Turbary this morning which was a bit of a shame but we motored on into Epworth and up their newly surfaced entrance. Diana did the honours and found a very nice man who let us put our bikes with his plants and such like. It’s something when you can stay dry on a ride but have to dodge the sprinklers in the garden centre!
As always at the Lemon Tree the service was very good, the food was very good, the value... you get the picture (oh, I’ve done that one before methinks). After refreshments the shuttle service operated to the toilets, a very kind lady took two photographs (I’ll spare you the one with part of Martin’s head missing), we recovered our bikes and we had a brief discussion about the route home (to Gringley or not to Gringley, that was the question).
Matt took us to Owston Ferry and then inland rather than follow the river to East Stockwith (home of the Idle Brewery) through Walkeringham and to Gringley. Diana opted for Walkeringham, Beckingham and the A631 up to Gringley. We were just having a moment at the top of Beacon Hill Road when who should appear from the dual carriageway but Diana – great timing. It was then a formality returning to Tickhill via Clayworth, Mattersey, Mattersey Thorpe, Ranskill and Harworth. Some riders took the option to go straight home on the way home but a happy band of riders made it back.
No mechanicals, medicals or other mis-adventures today (oh there was... we thought we had a loose rear wheel but it wasn’t confirmed) – just a very enjoyable ride with a great stop and great company. Thanks Matt.