Riders: Paul Bacon (ride leader), Paul Russell, Darren O’Connor, Mick Lee,Peter Hanks, Denise Motley, Mark Motley, Martin Crapper, Robert Stevenson, Andrew Rex, Dave Orridge, Noreen Dunnett, Matthew Lowe, Rob Drohan, Nick Smark, Diana Simpson, Sue Shore
Quite a big group on a beautiful Sunday morning chatting merrily in the cricket club car park, introducing ourselves to Darren on his first ride with us, until that is Paul tried to get us split into 2 groups. Paul was to lead the first group (of 10 riders) and the reluctant Matt the second group with Rob bringing up the rear (in case of………)
A few minutes were spent sorting the two groups out and a few more in roughly describing the route (lost on me I’m afraid - far too excited at just going to remember where i am going!). I do remember the very clear instruction to ride tidily (!) and keep 4 or 5 car lengths between groups. I don’t think that once we left Tickhill the two groups ever saw each other again.
So … off east towards Stripe Road but right towards Harworth the first group set a fair pace (for a 9.30 ride) - you may need to read elsewhere for a group two resumé. But over the roundabouts, over the bridge and left into the industrial estate and still fairly compact all the way down the hill to the A614 and the entrance to the Serlby estate. A brief pause for traffic and we were off again. Regrouping had become a habit but wasn’t really essential as we were all together at Scrooby Top. It was already getting warm - not something we’ve got used to but hey ho we’re cyclist we can cope! Lovely scenery in this part of the world and even though we were going fairly quickly (19mi/h according to Strava) there was plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and conversation. There were times when conversation paused when you could hear birds!
We turned right onto Job Lane just on the outskirts of Mattersey and right again onto the Retford Road. A few light hearted moments whilst we waited - well Paul insisted on doing his Ride leader /Mother hen thingy - and we headed south towards Sutton where there are very welcome road surface improvements. At the Great North Road junction where we were to go straight across towards Babworth Park we came a bit unstuck - cars coming at some speed saw us separated for a few minutes but there was no real danger just plenty of caution.
At, or pretty close to, the junction with the A620 Mansfield Road a set of traffic lights gave us a safe crossing over what was a fairly busy road and we headed off towards the big A1 roundabout. Paul’s group were either unadventurous or sensible and headed along the A614 and onto Limetree Avenue into Cumber Park. I will leave Matthew to describe/explain away/justify the logging experience of the second group - there may even be a song in there somewhere.
We found the new experimental car parking arrangements for the weekend didn’t affect us at all and were in the coffee queue at 11.00m prompt. With bikes lined up on the wall to the children’s playground (where else would we be?) and coffee and cakes bought we sat on the stone plinth (?) in the bright sunshine and chatted away. Group 2 arrived 40 minutes later.
After the group photo, curtesy of someone else who saw the stone plinth as a good place to sit we negotiated some regrouping and who was leaving where and when as they came close to their respective homes. The groups were pretty much as they were before and we headed up Clumber Lane where the cars queueing to get in were endless and special mention to the driver of the car who didn’t spot that she had completely blocked the main road in her attempt to keep he place in the queue. Should have taken a photo it would have easily ranked up with those of the double parking in Tickhill.
We sensibly road along to the B6034 Ollerton Road turned right and then left onto Sparken Hill. I distinctly remember the excitement I felt when that little voice shouted “lets see if we can light up the 30 (mph) sign at the bottom” - no names. I don’t like the steep downhill bits so set off with brakes engaged but eventually thought “why not” and followed. Garmin could be wrong in telling me I just exceeded the speed limit but momentarily only. And I caught the others up eventually!
There was talk of us avoiding the steep(ish) hill near the hospital but we went through the centre and got a bit tangled up with heavy traffic so there was a bit of stop start a s we tried to keep together especially just after the right turn onto Blyth Road at the college junction. But we didn’t take long to get together again. Well a couple left here so there were now fewer to keep together. Then Mick hit the front with his “if you don’t use it you lose it” and set off to get his heart rate up with us following as well as we could. It was enjoyable but hardly 9.30 pace and it did suit all present.
Through Blyth we were fairy restrained - I’m not sure if Darren thought we were slow, he made no comment but did’t seem the slightest out of breath. Mick attacked the hill up to the roundabout again, and we followed straggling behind but seemed to be together as we left onto the Bawtry Road. But at the left turn onto Snape Lane we were split up and I had a wait for the others to catch up. I don’t think Mick noticed he had left us and I didn’t see him again!
Having caught up Pete Hanks opted to go on to Bawtry and Home leaving just two of us continuing on. When Rob abandoned me in Harworth I could have been in trouble but fortunately remember the way home! No chatting, no doubling up or singling out, made it in line piece through!
Next weekend will be a bit different as 3 of us are on a cycling course in Hull so I’m having to look forward to your company in two weeks time when hopefully the ride will be as good as it was on Sunday.