The weather was a bit iffy in the hour before the start so I was not sure who would turn up. There was one rider “going” on the Facebook page but wanting to meet between Bawtry and Blaxton! So plan A was out of the window!
I arrived at the cricket club to find company for the ride, and a surprise. The riders were Emily Tweed, Dave Bowden, Rob Drohan, me (Martin Crapper) and Frank White. Yes, no typos here, it was Frank, on his bike, coming with us! His last ride with TVC before his move to Cheshire (?). And finally intending to meet us en route - Diane Jordan.
It was just about rain jacket weather and those who had them put them on. It was to be on/off for quite a while. We set off with ancient memories dictating the route. As we went up the hill towards Bawtry we were seeing Frank and Rob disappearing ahead. Thoughts of “Frank, can you hear me, slow down” came to mind as we pedalled through the drizzle. But they waited at the junction in Bawtry so we were able to continue as a group. Through Austerfield, Finningley and on to the magic roundabout at Blaxton before setting off on the TT’s return leg.
It was getting a bit breezy but not enough to cause problems and we made good slow progress along to Hatfield Woodhouse. We began to get a bit spread out along Cemetry Road and over the bridge into Hatfield so regrouped just before the church. Then along Station Road over the bridge and into Stainforth trying to make sure we didn’t get too far apart before the turn past the market. There were stalls and customers but we were not tempted and continued over the canal and then the river.
Once over the river the road turns right and heads towards Fishlake. The same Fishlake where we took the wrong turn! I suppose since there wasn’t a definitive plan it wasn’t the wrong turn just one needing a better plan than we had!
We headed off in roughly the right direction down Trundle Lane. We seemed to have eaten up more miles than expected and mushy legs were announced by one of the group! Mushy map reading caused confusion around Braithwaite where we set off to explore Kirk Bramwith instead of heading directly to Moss! But we arrived eventually and found that nearly all the bike stands were already taken. A café popular with cyclists.
Diane found friends in the forge, the little outbuild, and persuaded them to keep at their table until we returned with snacks. Well we ordered, came back down, took over their table and were eventually served. And it was worth the wait. No scones were consumed but plenty of other goodies were. We had a good rest before setting off again.
The return was hopefully going to be simple (ha!). Straight past Trumfleet and into Barnby Dunn, a doddle. Coming out of Barnby Dunn onto the main road split us up but we seemed close by the left turn taking us up and over the railway. Rob was in front but Emily and Dave were nowhere to be seen. We, Diane and me, waited and waited. Like a true gent I let Diane go back to find them and she eventually returned followed slowly by the other two. Emily’s chain had come off and Dave’s hands were covered in oil.
No sign of Rob as we I approached the first roundabout and where we said goodbye to Diane who went off to see her mum. We carried on and found Rob waiting for us a little further along. Dave decided to show us the way to bypass the main road and set off. This involved following Hatfield Lane and then Westmoor Link and into the industrial estate.
“Rob where are you” - he was infront again but we needed to rest to let Emily do a bit of Yoga to ease her shoulder pain; didn’t do us any harm either! We kind of guessed that sport on TV might have been a distraction and didn’t worry when we didn’t catch him up again. But more importantly “Rob you didn’t tell me I had left my glasses at the café”. It getting to be a habit and I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t tried to push them up my nose when things were a bit out of focus. And they wouldn’t have helped anyway because they are were only sunglasses!
From there we went through Cantley and Bessacarr and made sure we were a tight knit group as we crossed over the busy junction at Parrots corner. It’s a simple journey back from there to the cricket club but we needed another couple of stops. I guess if you were expecting a short ride this was the stuff of nightmares. But nobody gets left behind and one way to hide the fact that it was hard work was to enliven the ride with gossip, stories and humour.
It had been a good ride thanks everyone. Sorry about the photo but the camera never lies. Can you see my glasses on the table?