Miserable forecast and windy too but amazingly the cricket club car park was awash with blue riders! They were Peter Hanks, Christina Cooper, Diane Jordan, Dave Bowden, Rob Drohan, Robin Heyward, Rob Stevenson and ma, Martin Crapper.
We had a brief discussion about the quality of coffee at Idle Valley and decided that we would use almost the advertised route but go into Retford for the café. So off we went towards Harworth in single file turning right at the Stripe Road junction and slowing round the corner to check we still had 8 in the troop. Over the roundabouts and left into the industrial estate where I pulled over to check again and, since they were all right there and kept going, I was at he back!
The route took us through Serlby up to Scrooby Top where we turned right and 75% of us turned left! They soon realised the error of their ways and caught us up.
The wind was strong and helping us along so that once we were through Ranskill and on the way to Mattersey we had an easy ride. There was a lot of banter, it was becoming a lively ride. So we went left through Mattersey Thorpe before rejoining the road to Drakeholes. Again the wind was behind us and we sped along. At Drakeholes the road turns right and we were expecting the wind to be difficult. The hedges seemed to protect us and we found the going “OK”.
We followed the road through Clayworth, over the canal on on towards the café via Hayton and Clarborough. Communication was hampered by the wind. And once we got to Hayton that was a problem! With Rob and Rob in front they went right despite shouts of “No” and “straight on”. Rob (the Scot) realised and turned back to find us “all over the road” wondering. But Rob (not the Scot) had kept on.
But he knew the way and I fancied the quieter more scenic approach so we went straight on over the junction and on to Welham. Once we reached the junction we paused as we were missing two others - Rob, the Scot, and Diane - but they were not long in catching up and we set off again.
Slightly more of a head wind but still OK except where we passed a house close to the road and the wind suddenly seemed both strong and unexpected. It was fortunately the only place where this happened and fairly quickly we were in a Retford. Party time!
There were stalls all over the square with dancers and loud music but more importantly there was an english Rob sitting in the café! Obviously he had taken a short cut - couldn’t have been faster than us!
So we claimed a couple of tables ordered our snacks and sat down in the sun to be entertained. The entertainment came in two forms - the previously mentioned music and dancing and an old school friend of Sue Drohan. She wasn’t there but English Rob got talking to him and it all came out! They didn’t do technology in his day at school. He agreed to take a group photo and every time he pressed the button he got a selfie of him and the sky! So we did the traditional countdown and voila - its down below.
We set off again meandering through the spectators and passed the spin class in the corner all with hands above their heads and pedalling like mad. Passed the old Broomwagon cafe and out onto the main road turning left for home. Over the round about and we followed the old Great North Road, with the sun warming us, as far as Barnby Moor. Just passed the Old Bell we turned left and headed for Blyth. Despite being more or less into the wind it didn’t seem to hinder us although since we were spending most of the ride chatting its more likely we just didn’t notice.
We turned right at the double round about in Blyth and said goodbye to Pete who was going back to Westwoodside in a more direct route before turning left and heading to Oldcotes. By the time we got to the traffic lights and bridge just outside Blyth we were all over the place. English Rob was miles in front, Pete was in the entrance to the hotel and two of us were by the roadside - all wondering where scottish Rob and the ladies were. Rob came through the lights first mumbling about chains coming off and that the others were caught at the lights again.
When the tail-enders reappeared we set off with even more to discuss! English Rob headed out front and eventually stopped at the Manor Café junction. Not for other coffee just to see where we would go. Whilst we were discussing it the owner of the house came out to ask if we were lost (really! Us!). He also said the road to Maltby was blocked, so we thanked him and carried on chatting. Diane and Christina used the mobiles to set up lifts back from Tickhill to their homes and once that was done we set off. English Rob to english Rob’s home and we to Tickhill. It was a good ride along to Styrrup. The more or less side wind helping us along and once we reached the village and turned it was behind us.
We stopped briefly in the entrance to the stables before heading to the main road and turning left for the run into Tickhill. There were six of us at the end - something of a record these days - so we stopped quite a while chatting before separating and going to wherever!
A good ride, good weather, good route and most of all good company, thanks everyone.