Not many to be seen in the car park. We were 4 and the red ride only slightly more numerous! The ones with rain jackets on were the blue riders (except for me — no rain wear yet). We let the red group set off and then headed for the triumphant starting arch (the gate).
OK, so it was just about breezy but we made our way through the village up Malpass Hill and turned right along Thornbury Hill Lane before heading onto Firbeck. The traffic on the main roads seemed much heavier than we were used to so we were doing a fair bit in single file.
Surprisingly we were a reasonably close group — up until the bottom of Kidd Lane. But we regrouped at the top and headed into Letwell. Gildingwells, Woodsetts and on towards our first big roundabout at the junction of Worksop Road and Gateford Road, but when we got there, got onto the footpath and were preparing to cross the dual carriageway, there was no traffic - Or a big gap which we took advantage of and headed through the bushes and into Shireoaks. we came to a junction, a crossroads except the way straight ahead is a track (public) through a farm so I always avoid stand we turned right (as I always do) and that was a mistake! We passed the quarry and came to the Chesterfield road where we turned left towards Worksop. The traffic was HEAVY so we singled out and made a quiet way into worksop, uneventful but quiet!
I can’t remember where but by this time we had had a Jackets off stop along the route. There was very little rain but very high humidity so “they” were getting hot and sweaty!
Once over the Roundabouts and into Worksop we turned right and headed through the outskirts to Sparken Hill. No one seemed concerned so on we went turning right at the top and before long we were at the café. It wasn’t looking too bright so we could a table inside and ordered. Our snacks came quickly and despite seeming reluctant to go home we set off again.
Through the window it looked like rain so all those rain jackets went back on and we headed into Clumber Park. One or two motorists, absolutely desperate to get there first, overtook us but generally traffic was light. We came out the other end and paused for the photo forgotten earlier - does nobody remember to remind me? Photos done, we resumed our way over the A1 and on towards Retford. traffic was not so heavy and we were able to chat as we went. At or just after Botany Bay we turned left and then right along the Green Mile.
Another “jackets off” stop happened - actually to be fair (why?) mine stayed off all day and Kevin keep his on all the time. It was just them others! Humidity and temperature were both on the high side so it must have been uncomfortable with the jackets on. But hey ho just over the canal we had to stop so they could go on again. I did know where mine was but I saw now reason to get it all stressed out! We turned left in Barnby Moor and then left again towards Blyth. The wind was now behind us and the pace had increased without us noticing. It questioned I would have said that overall we were slow but checking when we got back into Tickhill it was above the Blue Ride average.
In Blyth we turned right at the first and left at the second roundabout and went on towards Oldcotes. I was expecting traffic leaving the car boot sale but there wasn’t any and there didn’t seem many buyers down the field, and we were not going to check. We turned off towards Styrrup and enjoyed more help from the wind and had a quick and uneventful return to Tickhill.
A good ride but I now have some thoughts about variations to make the route easier in terms of traffic although I can’r guarantee (yet) that there won’t be more hills. And for the first time in as long as I can remember we finished with as many as set off! You can see but they were Lida Bardsley, Michelle Geco, who is now threatening to join us, Kevin Thomas and Martin Crapper (me).