I arrived early at the Cricket club (early for me anyway) to find it swamped, yes swamped, with cyclists. Fortunately on checking their credentials they were nearly all up for the red ride! That left 7 of us (7up!) for the gentle blue ride. I had avoided advertising the route to add a little mystery to the ride in addition to the usual list of catastrophes and getting losts!
We 7 were Pete Hanks, Robin Heyward, John knott, Michael Bulleyment, Michelle Greco, Theresa Bryant and me! A laid back group obviously!
We headed round the village and eventually along Blythgate Lane which was a bit wet especially for our most laid back member on his recumbent machine. But the puddles were not too deep and John is both waterproof and resilient!
We turned the corner and headed up Malpass Hill with John way out in front and showing no sign that it was a hill as he wizzed passed Robin. Robin who was having a wee moment — a technical (not so) wee moment. I swerved round him and said we would wait at the top and carried on.
We (5 of us) waited and waited and got quite excited when not 2 but 3 riders approached over the brow of the hill - Pete and two strangers though. Strangers went along Thornbury Hill Lane wishing us well as they went and Pete with the bad news came straight on.
He, Pete, was going to go back and split Robins chain and then try to repair things. He or they would then meet us at the café.
Full of confidence that we would meet later we 5 set off towards Oldcotes through the temporary lights and then on westwards towards Letwell. We had several stops on the way. John did his best to go slow but …….. Occasionally we stopped just because we could — it was a good chatty ride and there was no rush.
From Letwell we went on to Gildingwells and then turned back towards Carlton. The road became a nice long and gentle slope which I think we all enjoyed. But Carlton arrived and we turned left and headed back towards Oldcotes.
Part way up the hill into Langold the phone rang, with Pete letting us know that Robins problem couldn’t be mended by the roadside so he had phoned home for a lift. Pete was going to wait with him and then ride home. Not news we wanted. And not news Robin wanted as he had only just had the drive train sorted!
Temporary lights potholes and just uneven surfaces made cycling more difficult and just before the turn in Oldcotes John’s chain came off. We waited just round the corner for him to put it back and for the lights to let him through which they did eventually.
We arrived at the café just behind another group of cyclists and just ahead of a third; the place was busy! The, cakes, bacon butties and conversation went well and in the sunshine we were happy just to sit there! Eventually though we set off again heading for Blyth. Being reminded about the group photo we paused in the gateway long enough for Michelle to get her pose right and for the photo. Moving on, the car boot sale looked to have been a very small and damp affair with what seemed like acres of waterlogged fields surrounding it.
The sun was out but it did feel a bit cooler — didn’t stop us chatting or spoil the views! We slowed to let the lights go green in Ranskill and turned left and immediately right, again just because we could. It was just a diversion to get us clear of traffic and roadworks. We rejoined the main road via Folly Nook Lane. Who thought that one up?
We followed the main road along to Scrooby but turned off in the village where we paused for a group lecture! I hadn’t heard wether the road was flooded and although secretly I might have wanted to see how wet we could get John, who was now on his third cigarette of the ride, I wanted to give the impression of “good guy”. So I hinted that there might be a problem meaning we would have to turn back. Unanimously they decided to continue. It wasn’t even worth the name of “puddle” when we came to the spot where there is often a lake. But it had given me a chance to be bossy so we were all happy!
We carried on along the main road into Bawtry and turned right just in front of No1 Yorkshire and wandered round to see how the flooded road was doing. It looked dry but was blocked by a van and workmen - clearing mud I learned later. A lone cyclist passed us saying he heard cyclists could get through and went for it! We ignored him and went along the back streets passed the church enabling us to turn left on the main road before turning right towards Tickhill.
We five all made it back to the cricket club where the red ride fast bubble (?) were debriefing themselves. we had a brief chat and eventually went on our separate ways home. It had been a short but enjoyable ride - but only for five of us!