I arrived very early at the cricket club, not wanting a repeat of the previous last minute do, but was still not first! Denise was already there looking comfortable and ready for off when somebody else turned up to join her. Before long we were 5: Denise Motley, Rob Drohan, Robin Heyward, Kevin Thomas and me, Martin Crapper. And not a red rider in sight - they were off to Cleethorpes so left an hour before.
We eventually set off heading via the Buttercross and back roads towards Wilsic. Light winds didn’t really affect us although they did seem to be head winds. And we might benefit on the way back!
We turned left at the main road and went on towards Conisbrough where we got our first rest at the traffic lights. As we went on it was clear we were keeping well together (even me!) even where traffic kept us in single file. The route took us into the station car park. Adventure cycling through the car park, back along the platform, up the dogleg ramp and over the bridge ready for a repeat on the other side. It took us over the tracks and onto the off-road part of the ride.
Describing the route becomes more difficult, but for a while tarmac with lots of trees and tree roots which vibrate through the bike and are not even slightly dampened by the saddle! Good views to the left of the accommodation area formed in the old Earth Centre. Lots of flowers, the odd dog walker (usually in pairs, walkers and sometimes dogs).
Amazingly long stretches of this, the Trans Pennine Way, have been resurfaced with tarmac which made the going easy. Easy for a while but then we were back to gravel until the turn towards Harrington. Proper roads then until the turning back onto the TPW which we almost missed as it was hidden by overgrown branches. Well that’s my current excuse anyway.
From there on it is mainly beaten earth with a few gravelly bits, and some huge rocks designed to slow us down. We had a near miss with a road cyclist coming towards us at high speed and skidding to a halt just in front of us. We had done him a favour because there was no way he was missing those boulders otherwise!
We reached the café and were asked to dismount by a volunteer in case we ran into one of their other visitors. Needless to say there were none visible and once in the café the only other customer was a cyclist. We ordered and sat down to wait for snacks to be delivered. Denise seemed to have ordered coffee and cake for a worrying £11.50 which got us all thinking. With a bit of checking and maybe a touch of dislexia we discovered that the young assistant typed in the correct costs on the till but didn’t necessarily connect cost to brain before speaking! We ended up happy though.
We came back the same way and without mishap passing the turning to Denaby station and heading straight on. At the viaduct over the Don we came up behind a group of MTBers who we followed through to the outskirts of Edlington where they went one way we went the other.
Rob left us on the main road and headed back home and we four continued through the village emerging near the Alverly Inn. We didn’t stop! Despite having suggested we would give the hill a miss, we did go up Tofield Lane. And “they” very kindly waited for me at the top. Well my gravel bike is heavy - it slowed me down.
We went through/via Wilsic and back down the way we set off with the wind still not helping us and made it back to the cricket club to see a match in full flow. And with a crowd to match. We didn’t stay and went our separate ways. Another enjoyable ride