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Blue Ride to Clumber Park

  • Date: 02 August 2020
  • By: Martin Crapper

Riders: Martin Crapper, Mick Lee, Diana Simpson, Paul Russell, Kevin Thomas, Paul Stevenson.

Another lovely sunny Sunday saw us meeting at the cricket club. 6 for the blue team and I think 11 for the red team. We were probably going to the same part of the world but unlikely to meet.

We set off East with little traffic on the road and turned towards Harworth and the Serlby. Crossing the main Blyth to Bawtry road gave us the chance to regroup and this was to be a feature of the ride. The didn’t seem to be many golfers out or perhaps they were already done as we chatted our way along to Scrooby Top. No traffic at the junction as we turned right and made our way through Ranskill where the lights turned green for us. There was wind, not too much but enough for us to relish the thought of a tail wind on the return leg.

As we reached Torworth we had a little confusion as to which left turn to take. The back seat drivers err sorry democracy ruled and we took the last option along Daneshill road - a long road with a fair amount of shelter from the wind. We paused again and then headed south along Mattersey road in the direction of Retford and crossing the A620 at the end of the Straight Mile and on to the A6420. This took us directly into the wind and we seem to struggle to amble along but made it after a couple of regroupings to the A1 roundabout where Mick seemed to have a bout of forgetfulness and headed off alone! Fortunately we hadn’t told him where we were going so he had to wait opposite the entrance to Clumber Park.

Limetree Avenue is a long uncomfortable road and the National Trust had decided to punish us by erecting a new sign which read “Visitor Centre 2 1/2 miles”! Bad enough to know how rough the surface is without knowing how far it stretched. We paused at the pay station to check if the refreshment cabin at Hardwick was open which it was but before turning off we met 2 other cyclist leaving who said the visitor centre was open with not many people visiting so we went there. The tables had been spread out all over the grassed areas with plenty of social distancing space and an enormous queue for the loo (which had its own reception gazebo!).

Coffee and cakes were pre-packed but “OK” although Mick opted out as did Paul S who sat at a separate table for a while.

Sustenance consumed we walked off and out of the centre before re-mounting our bikes and heading towards Worksop. Part way along Clumber Lane we had a short comfort break with ladies (1) at the top of the hill and gents at the bottom.

My Mum told me never to go into the woods and especially not with a strange woman but we willingly followed Diana as she knew the way to bypass the locked gate under the archway! Turning right at the main road and then left down Sparken Hill took us into town. Worksop roads are much nicer without cars and we saw few and no buses so made our way quickly through and eventually took the left fork just over the river.

Lack of coffee or a snack had its effect on Mick and he set off at racing speed through all the lights (we caught them all) and disappeared under the railway bridge and through the last set of lights near to Tesco. We were not panicking I knew the way - but he waited just road the blind corner. We took the Stanley Street option turning left to avoid and run parallel to the main road and meeting it again at the Canon (or whatever its called now). From there it was a fairly easy ride back into Tickhill with the wind largely behind us. Jenny Boyle tooted at us as we past her - she in her double decker heading for Worksop with a healthy number of passengers on board.

Unusually for a club ride we all ended up back at the Cricket Club - no-one felt the need to go directly home. There were people we missed but with groups of 6 that is going to continue. I hope they are all well and we see them at some stage.

Nice ride today - thanks everyone and a special thanks to Special K - no not the breakfast cereal, Kevin who brought up the rear throughout when I know he wanted to stretch his legs.