A tale of two rides : 9.30 ride to ??? and ???


A beautiful morning sunshine greeted us on Sunday 1st July 2018 for what was to be … different!

There were probably about 16 or 17 of us milling about and a fair number (9) hanging about at the back waiting to go slowly to the Old Schoolroom for coffee and cakes.


I mention 9 and those riders were: Matthew Lowe (ride leader) Peter Hanks, Me (Martin Crapper), Chris Higgins, Kieran James, Hillary Thomson, Rob Drohan, Tom Drohan and Ben Drohan. 


The other group set off and regrettably apart from a brief encounter we didn’t see them again!


I heard someone at the back of the back describing a right turn at the cricket club gates a left onto Sunderland Street and right at Spital crossroads. So Matt took us the official route which was right at the gates and right along to the Buttercross and so it continued. Not I should add Matthew’s fault, they were all his decisions (mainly) to take.


Rob, Tom, Ben and I kept at the back and ambled along turning left towards the mill pond and along side it, lagging a bit as we went but on a day like this who cares? Well, me for a start, I had a brief stop to try to adjust my gears and a mad dash to catch up, and by the time we got to Malpass hill I was struggling to hold one gear (from the 20 odd available)!. Another gear-adjust stop just before we re-grouped going right onto Thornbury Hill Lane and then a pleasant journey to the top. Ben was having trouble keeping pace but we were doing OK.


Turning right onto the Maltby Road took a little while until the traffic made way for us and we then turned left towards Firbeck without incident. Lovely countryside around there and little wind to upset us. Once we took the left onto Kidd Lane in Firbeck with the road rising we 4 at the back drifted a little, catching up at what we thought was the right turn to Lamb Lane. At this point we were offered a little off-piste diversion straight across onto what looked like a private road but is a continuation of Kidd Lane. We then turned right onto Barker Hades Lane which has that pretty green stuff growing through the tarmac. Well, what probably used to be Tarmac. We survived and came out in Letwell. The 4 back markers were way behind at this point and to make matters worse Ben had a puncture! Rob took the decision to take Clan Drohan on an alternative ride (which he had had as an alternative “in case”) and I had some pedalling to do.


That left 6 of us continuing, when I finally caught up, but probably way behind schedule. You know what its like when things go wrong and it’s your own fault, well somewhere between here and Gildingwells or perhaps Woodsetts my gears played up big time (no, bigger than that). The group generously waited and several had a go at fixing things till eventually we were able to set off again. I’m not saying I could enjoy the scenery and know where I was. I was spending a lot of time  coaxing the chain until probably Woodsets where things did get better. Cant complain about the sunshine or the views though.


With such a small group we were more easily able to ride as a neat group and all in club kit! We took the right turn in Woodsetts and headed up the long hill towards North Anston and then right onto Main Street and Mill Lane before the more difficult but short length of  the A57 Sheffield Road,  turning right onto the less busy B6059 West Street which becomes Crowgate and then Dog Kennels Lane en-route to Kiverton Bridge. There we crossed the level crossing ready to have a little rest and met unexpectedly with “them others” in group 2. After a shortish discussion they were heading off to The old Schoolroom café whilst we were dithering. It seems at the time pure coincidence that we met there but shouldn’t as we were on the same agenda. Maybe the 9.30 rides need to be split with different destinations in the future. We anyway set off over the Chesterfield canal intending I think to go to Sally’s (?) Café as we were drifting back against the planned timetable thanks to your truly and the gear problem. 


Along Packman (?) Lane and turning right onto manor Road We were enjoying the views and the traffic isn’t too bad. After turning right onto Thorpe Road and then left onto Union Street we hit the traffic lights and had a wait for the green one. Regrettably in the excitement of the green finally coming up we over shot the junction and had to turn back to take Serlby Lane with a bit of a rise going out of Harthill but nothing we couldn’t handle. And then the gentle descent along Common Lane, Packman Lane (again) and Harthill Road through Thorpe Salvin and still down towards Netherthorpe.


At Netherthorpe Airfield we decided that if they would serve us we would stop for our break. It did say members only but that apparently didn’t apply to Tickhill Velo members. We sent Kieran in first just in case they cut up rough but I’m pleased to say they treated us very well. Posh seats at the side of the runway, inexpensive drinks and food (although they did ask us to ring in first if there were a lot of us). So we may not tell you where it is! Coffee menu was limited to coffee with or without milk, choice of scone or cake but they ran out of cake and an endless choice of cooked food. And acrobatic entertainment while we ate, pretty good all round.


Some of us were realising that time had just passed very quickly and we opted for a more direct route home than was planned. So we headed east along Thorpe Lane to Shireoaks and from there via Rhodesia to Worksop, passing the roundabout to the dump site, the industrial estate and turning left when we reached Gateford Road to go under the railway bridge but then turned left along Valley Road by-passing the main B6045 for quite a long way. But right along Thievesdale Road and left again on Carlton Road and we all thought we new where we were going.


We were given a choice, but you know about choices don’t you — its give in or die! So we turned off the direct route , passed by Wigthorpe and headed along Crossley Hill Lane. Its called crossly Hill Lane ‘cause it's a hill. Cycling hills always go up! But we were getting tough by this stage and kept in close formation all the way.


The B6045 appeared again and was busy with plenty to keep us in single file until we reached Blyth, and over the motorway. Somehow and it cant have been my fault I was in front and had leading riders deafness. There is a minute nettle encrusted footpath which I never knew existed just over the A1 roundabout. It seemed quiet so I pulled into the café car park and guess what everyone else took the footpath. With no one in sight but the sound of Pete’s voice urging me on I caught up on Blyth Road just the other side of the soon to be new roundabout. I know I promised myself last week always to stay behind our very able, infinitely knowledgeable, in a geographical sense, ride leader (is that enough crawling Matt?). 


From here it was a simple journey back through the double roundabouts at Harworth and eventually left into Tickhill and the Cricket Club. The Cricket match was still on and one side was doing OK, but they were all in white so I don’t know which side it was.


Looking forward to proper sport on my bike in a couple of weeks when I will have been back to local bike shop (agh they are sponsors) _ Don Valley Cycles and be in good working order. Thanks all for an enjoyable ride.