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Blue ride to Epworth

  • Date: 06 August 2023
  • By: Martin Crapper

I set off for the cricket club in happy cycling mode, pushed my glasses up my nose as I passed Robins parked car. Except! Except I didn’t have them on! Quick thinking (for a change, I know) got me going back to pick them off the dustbin where I put them whilst getting my bike ready. Arrived with 3 minutes to spare and I know this because - I was told!

It wasn’t going to rain on us today. Us being, well me, Martin Crapper, Denise Motley, Christina Cooper, Rob Drohan, Dave Bowden, Robin Heyward, Pete Hanks and Nick Kay. We let the Red ride set off first, turned out they were going to our café but not using our route.

We set off out of the gates and then turned right on then left on Sunderland Street heading for Rossington. We had only got to stripe Road Junction, when I discovered that either I was dead or the heart rate monitor wasn’t working so I stopped. I seemed to be alive, checked the monitor and it came off in my hand. So stuffing it back under my jacket I carried on ignoring it. I do that anyway.

Half the group had kept on going but the wise few were waiting. We pedalled on - it was one of those rides where everybody was deep in conversation with someone; either at their side, in front or behind. We continued on through Rossington, passed GoOutdoors and turned right at the junction. The lights caught most of us, but Pete at the back saw it coming and took the footpath! We caught him up before turning right on the roundabout and headed into ex airport territory where a massive warehouse has appeared since I was last there.

We carried on; more lights stopped us. And in no time we were over the magic roundabout, the scene of many successes the day before. You should have been there - on a bike. Entry is only a few quid and it’s only a few miles. You can do it next year! The other Martin will remind you.

We carried on in single file until the left turn towards Wroot where we became more sociable again. In fact on the outskirts of Wroot there was a lot of social going on. “Wroot Rocks” the annual “do” attracts masses of campers and caravaners who had filled the camp site and the adjoining field. No music - perhaps we were too early!

We turned left in Wroot and carried on, stopping only to let a very patient lorry driver get past. Reaching idle bank we turned left and then right alongside the canal. The swans nest there was abandoned but a little further along a family of four was busy eating the floating weed which just about covered the whole surface of the dyke.

A few more bends, more fresh air and we were in Epworth and heading for the café. The red ride must have warned that we were arriving and the barn door opened to reveal a shed full of bikes. We tethered up and got to the counter as Jenny the last of the red group got her order in.

We made the group into a crowd by sitting nearby and probably put some regulars noses out of joint by taking the best tables. We drank, we ate and we chatted away before having out photos taken and setting off. Pete Hanks checked I had everything with me that I arrived with and we then had the barn doorman take our photos again. Twice because Christina was slow getting to the line up!

The route back was via Low Burnham, Haxey and Westwoodside. Although we were down to 6 because Pete and Nick left us at the Epworth Traffic lights to do a little detour before going home. We were finding the wind behind us for a change until we reached Sandersons bank where the full force of the 12mph breeze hit us. As we turned left to go towards Misson we really appreciated both the rear wind and consequent improved temperature.

It was easy cycling with good company. We went along chatting and enjoying the scenery. Misson came and went and then we were at Newington where we stopped to ease saddle soreness (mine)! Setting off again in single file we had an uneventful passage through Bawtry and up towards the Plumtree estate where we stopped. We stopped to say goodbye to Rob who was heading left to Firbeck.

The rest of us, now 5, carried on to finish the ride at the cricket club passing one or two of the red ride making their own way home.

A good ride, no technical problems, no rain, light wind and good company. Need to do it more often.