We were blessed with 2 ride leaders today, or 1 ride coordinator who led the ride and 1 ride leader who rode at the back!
The guy at the front: Matt Lowe (official ride coordinator), Hilary Thompson, Mick Lee, Diane Jordan, Christina Cooper, Kevin Thomas, Paul Rhodes Diana Simpson and Paul Bacon (the ride leader at the back)
Not sure about everyone else but I got up early (for me) and arrived at the cricket club late! After separating into 2 groups the Blue ride had 10 riders, not enough to make two smaller (and safer) rides but not too many to be worrying either.
We set off east towards Stripe Road and turned right towards Harworth, it was Mothers’ Day and there was a fair amount of traffic (cars) before we made the junction. The group made it over the junction reasonably closely knit and continued along over the roundabouts and through the industrial estate along the main road. Once we got to the top of the hill and began the descent towards the traffic lights and A1 roundabout shouts of “slow down a bit” had the desired effect.
The early part of the ride was chilly but with plenty of sunshine and we ambled along expecting to regroup by the lights. In fact although that did almost happen a combination of lights, traffic and the rise over the A1 saw us split up and we opted to stop in a site entrance before going down into Blyth. About half of us were milling about when a car indicated and we were all in the way! The car owner leapt out and with little indicating injury smiled that Rob Stephenson smile and had stopped for a chat. We all knew he had come especially to see us but he claimed he was going for his dog! It was good to see him not so good to hear of what had happened so far but we all wished him good luck for his next operation. He hopes to be on his bike in a couple of months. It will be good to try to keep up with him then! Rob set off for the dog just after the remnants of the group caught us up.
A few more minutes and then setting off again we were forced to a bit of regrouping at the first little roundabout where sons driving to see their Mums got in the way. But on we went turning right onto the Worksop Road. Although there continued to be more cars than usual they were generally good natured and caused us not trouble. They had no effect whatsoever on the amount of chatting which went on.
As we reached Fifty Acre Wood we turned right onto Crossley Hill Lane with a bit of a rise but with a very welcome down hill ride spoiled only by the state of the road. And despite being a free wheel event we were spreading out again. We were not to learn until the following days Facebook post that Hilary who hadn’t cycled since September was doing it with her back brake on! Knowing how fit she keeps herself she was clearly doing it as a favour to us all.
At the bottom of the hill we turned right onto either ~Tinkers Hill or Hundred acre lane (they join somewhere here) and then left towards Wigthorpe along Liquorice Lane. In Wigthorpe we regrouped and after some negotiating ride leader one and ride leader two agreed that would do something dramatic. Like running as two separate rides and waiting for each other at predetermined points rather than randomly as we were doing so far. Since half of the riders were either being pushed by ride leader two or dragged along by ride leader one it didn’t make a lot of difference. The pace was easy-ish, the day fine and we were having a good time (OK maybe not so nice for Hilary).
We continued along meeting and turning left on the A60 and then right into Gateford and their temporary traffic lights. There was time for a picnic whilst the lights eventually decided to turn Green, for once the queue of traffic could see that we were being forced to hold them up rather than choosing to!
Fortunately Matthew know the back streets of Gateford and Worksop well and we made our way through quiet backstreets under the railway bridge and out past the retail units onto the new road layout. The route took us alongside the canal for a while and into Rhodesia before seeing us take a left turn along Tylden Road, under the railway bridge and then along Steetley Lane.
At the end of Steetley Lane we turned right onto Scratta lane which changes its name to Dumb Hall Lane part way along. A few inches into Dumb Hall lane Matthew had a thought or a recollection, a realisation, with apologies and brief guide to how to find the coffee he set off back to meet Paul and the other half where he had agreed we would all wait! One of the disadvantages of being a ride leader is that whatever happens it’s your fault (like being married really!).
So leaderless we aimed for the Airfield at record pace and seeing the car park was full of cars went to the garden area expecting a crowd. No, we were almost alone, just two men with binoculars watching incoming planes (there weren’t any). The café was even more empty, we were the only customers, found a big enough table and order drinks and snacks. A variety of snacks and drinks arrived as did the rest of the group and we sat for quite a while chatting inside. Despite the sun it was still chilly although beginning to cloud over. After the bun fight a very nice man just returned from Tenerife and enrolee to Norfolk took a photo of the group.
The conversation turned to kit and with Diane trying on Christina’s gilet I admit that the conversation took a turn for the suicidal. There were no swords available I had to take it on the chin! There are times when you can’t do right for doing wrong! So best not dwell on it then……
The clouds had the sky and it might have been a bit warmer but we were all aware that the journey home was going to be into the breeze. Out of the airfield we went through Thorpe Salvin which is a village worth looking at for the variety of expensive looking houses. And it is flat. But we also had to meet the main Worksop Road.
We turned off the main road and this took us on to Kiveton Bridge over the railway crossing and then along the A6059 (Dog Kennels Lane) towards South Anston. The hill took its toll and we were some time regrouping at the top before setting off once more. Setting off more slowly we passed through South Anston to the A57 junction. But the main road was very busy and we waited a long time for a gap in the traffic to allow us safely to turn left and then within a few hundred yards right and quieter roads. Wisdom (others, not mine) took us along Penny Piece Lane for a sharp right up Quarry Lane, less steep, we were told than the alternative. But still leaving us quite read out by the top on Nursery Lane and into Dinnington. Despite best intentions by the turning from lodge Lane onto Burrs lane we were two separate groups so from front half waited for the others to catch up.
The hills had taken their toll and it was decided that Hilary, Christina and Diana would rest a while and cycle back together leaving the rest of us to continue alone. Quiet roads, slight winds and although a bit chilly we were enjoying the ride. The route took us through Letwell along Lamb Lane and down the hill of Kidd Lane into Firbeck. Coninuing along very familiar roads, Mick and Kevin decided to stretch their legs up Thornbury Hill and waited at the farm entrance (or slowed a bit anyway) before we all headed down the well rutted part of the lane until we met the A60. From there it only seemed to take a couple of minutes and we were back at the cricket field.
Another really good ride and thanks to the ride leader(s) planning.
And the “young Lasses” who got back later had parked the car wisely under the CCTV camera on the old worksop road so were able to load up and make their way home.