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Blue ride to the Paddock Tea Rooms, Alkborough

  • Date: 22 October 2023
  • By: Nicolas Kay

With the veteran ride leader still away on holiday travelling on his private yacht, it was once again time for the Junior ride leader to step up.

I wasn’t sure how many people to expect – there were “Going” messages from FB, but some different names on each of the two FB groups. Plus, messages from other club members telling me to “expect guests”.

On that basis, I thought it would be sensible to get ready early and watch for “lost” riders – not lost in the Martin Crapper “I’m ignoring the Wahoo guidance” terms, but people who are trying to find my house. So a few riders turn up, park their cars and start sorting out their bikes. Looking down the Nooking for more, I see someone with a bike carrier parked a far distance away – I say “see” because I wasn’t wearing glasses and so it was really an indistinct blue. So, I get on my bike and ride towards the “blur” which turns out to be Robin. However, just round the side road are two more riders – one of which I recognise as someone who occasionally works in the village library. By that I mean he is sometimes in the library, not that he’s generally in the library and sometimes works. The two turn out to be the guests I’d be told to expect.

So, back at the house we finish the pleasantries and set off. We only get 100m or so when I realise why my eyes are feeing cold – I’d forgotten my glasses (I should have realised that early – remember the “blur”?). Shouting for the rest to carry on I left the tertiary ride leader (aka Peter Hanks) to lead on while I ride back to get my glasses.

At this point I should point out that one of the guests is on a recumbent trike and I’m wondering what sort of speed he can do, will he be able to keep up, what about the hills? None of this should have been a concern as he was an accomplished criterion racer and hills were just minor bumps for him.

The ride went through Epworth (avoiding the road works), Beltoft, Althorpe, over Keadby Bridge, Flixborough, Burton upon Stather and on to Alkborough.

Other than Pete Hanks trying to destroy his chain, no incidents to report – all riders seemed to be in general conversation with each other and enjoying the glorious weather.

Before we set off, Michael had suggested calling ahead to let them know how many people would be arriving – as it turned out, numbers weren’t an issue as there were only a handful of people at the Café when we arrived. However, it certainly made for fast service. No scones here but “top marks on the Sausage Butty Index” from Pete Hanks (and other).

After some people removing a layer, it was time to head back in the glorious sunshine. The return route would be via West Halton, Coleby, Thealby, past Normanby Hall before rejoining the “out” route to enjoy the faster speed down Flixborough Hill and back across Keadby Bridge before turning onto the Trentside road. We (well, I) deliberately ignored the “road ahead closed” signs and optimistically road on – the obstruction was a number of vehicles blocking the road as small diggers did what diggers do to the side of the road – the trike managing to get by (at some speed) and we road on through West Butterwick, Kelfield, though Owston Ferry, East Lound and back to Haxey.

Well, not quite… I counted them out (Nine) and I counted them back (Seven) – even my maths skills could work out that wasn’t right It turned out that one of the guests had needed a “P” break and it had taken them a while to catch up – profuse apologies by me.

Back to the house and after some further chat everyone set off for home (other than me as I was already home)

Simply put, a great ride, great company and conversation, great weather and I / we hope to see the new members and guests again soon.

Finally, apologies if I have any of the names wrong - it’s the fault of each individuals’ handwriting. I tried taking a photo of the “attendance log” (order sheet borrowed from the café) but my iPhone kept thinking it was a Qcode and tried directing me to an eBike site.