Riders: Peter Hanks, Martin Crapper and Lawrence Buckley.
The forecast for the day started as diabolical and slowly improved as the weather people sharpened their pencils and rechecked the data. As we waited in the car park it began to look as though we could have a dry ride!
Pete and I didn’t wait for the red ride to set off - we were raring to go and did. Heading east there was enough traffic to keep us in single file but not enough to worry about. Immediately after turning right at the Stripe Road junction Peter’s little voice said “ there’s another one behind us”. Rather than turning to see and consequently falling off I used my little mirror and could see it was Lawrence.
I like to think he had seen the merits of a potentially fantastic blue ride and thrown his lot in with us. The possible alternatives, including ‘cause we are slower, will be ignored! Whatever the reason he was a welcome addition. We almost caught another but more of that later.
There was very little wind, absolutely no rain and we had chosen a fairly flat route so could enjoy ourselves. We continued on through Harworth, Serlby and past Ranskill where the temporary traffic lights on Folly Nook Lane had been removed. Left and on towards Mattersey.
Miles seems to fizz past and soon we were in and then past Mattersey and onto Eel Pool Road. For the first time I saw long boats moored across from what used to be the Griff Inn and is now looking ready to re-open under new management.
The breeze was staying away and visibility good so we were able to enjoy the scenery. Lots of small groups of cyclists were doing the same and we spent quite a while waving and saying hello to folk we may never see again - but it was good to see so many out in the fresh air.
There was little traffic from there into Clayworth so we chatted out way along, over the canal and through the village and then left just before the canal bridge. Lawrence and I stopped at the junction thinking we would let Pete catch up after a comfort break. But he hadn’t had the decency to go slow and was right there and carried on! No rest after all. And we followed !
Having arrived at the garden centre we found “our” poly tunnel blocked by pallets and plants inside! What were they thinking? There were pallets and empty display shelves nearby so we stacked the bikes up locked them and went inside. I brought up the rear and was amused to hear the other two being told that arrows on the ground were meant to show you the way and not to be ignored. The nice lady was probably practicing for when there were more than three milling about inside.
“Are you it? Are there more of you?” Er no just three. “Well when there’s one or two there’s usually a load more, and we need to know”
Then we reached the café. Much nicer staff but suspicious. Having scanned the QR code we had to show that it said citrus café- they didn’t want COVID denyers sneaking in. But we made it to table 3 on the left and keep your mask on till you are sitting down. The coffee and cake were great and the staff were after all doing what they should!
We left in ones. And who should just be arriving - Diana. She had set off from home knowing where we were going but guessing an anti clockwise rather than our clockwise route. Notice that I didn’t mention that you overslept. Maybe I should rub that out in the final draft.
Pete was going to leave us in Westwoodside so we headed into Beckingham and onto Walkeringham where we turned left and began to notice the wind. The route took us to the main Gringley/Misterton road and we made good progress and took the Haxey road beyond Misterton.
A left turn took us past the café at Shepherds Place where the outdoor terrace was deserted - not a cyclist in sight. But we didn’t need more sustenance and carried on. We didn’t even stop at Café Hanks although Pete probably had a drink when he got In.
Lawrence and I carried on past the duck pond and on towards Idle bank. There wasn’t a lot of traffic but enough to keep us in single file. Cars and lorries seem so far away, approach slowly and then pass like bullets. We turned left to Wroot along a very quiet road. Er wrong. Usually a very quiet road. Just when you’ve got back into a nice 2-abreast rhythm another one sneaks up behind.
We continued along through the village, which was quiet, probably all in church. Out the other side the caravan and white van were still in the field on the right. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t live in a small caravan for over a year in a village with no facilities. From here into Bawtry it’s pretty flat so apart from the odd bit of road pointing into the wind the going was easy. We saw no swans on the water - they would have come out for Diana probably!
As we approached Finningley the road seemed hazy as the lorries were churning up the dust as they skirted the verges. It didn’t last long and we were over the level crossing and into the village in a short while. The main road back to Austerfield was largely single file and we took turns at the front. From there into Bawtry always seems messy, the road is rough and the hedges not well kept but there wasn’t much traffic.
That didn’t change in Bawtry we joined the main road and turned right for home without any trouble. Lawrence took the wind up front all the way to the Plumtree estate - that is the first time I’ve really enjoyed that hill!
Before long we were back at the cricket club. As I looked down at my Garmin it said 15 mph average. Don’t tell Lawrence he thinks we always do that!
Enjoy your cycling, I’m away this coming Sunday. Must practice remembering to take photos whilst away!