Not really expecting any other riders I set off for the Cricket Club. Surprisingly there were quite a few cyclists milling around some worse for wear others wanting to top their mileage up for the annual total! A few like me just there for the exercise and fun of it.
Once sorted the blue ride was: Martin Crapper, Robin Heyward, Tricia Krill and John Clark. Since the Red Ride was going to Retford we decided we might as well go there too. A shorter route obviously because otherwise they might drink all the coffee!
We shot off to Harworth and Serlby with hardly any traffic and only a light breeze against us. Serlby to Ranskill was just as quiet and apart from a line of 5 closely packed cars going the opposite way we didn’t see much traffic getting to Mattersey.
No one seemed to be having any trouble - no long term after effects of Christmas. Even John who was getting to grips with his road bike after a lot of gravel biking was OK. I just put on a brave face and kept pedalling!
Turning right on Job Lane and right at the end is easy when there is no traffic but I found myself automatically unclipping - shows a lack of confidence perhaps? Anyway we went on and turned off the main road to go through Lound and then back to Sutton. We had a bit of a pause at the Great North Road but wizzed over the level crossing on Sutton Lane - not a train in sight and I wasn’t tempted to wait to see one. I can remember those twin spotting books you could buy but don’t think I ever owned one.
We went along Babworth Road and turned right towards Ordsall - mainly because we were early. Then First left (!) so I could introduce everybody to the Back way round to where we wanted to be. Confused? Ah well. We went left on high street , turned over the river and along Goosemoor Lane and Whitehouses Road until we met the London Road. From there it was a nice easy ride into Retford and the 10 Green Bottles. We arrived first, not just before The Red Ride but before any customers even before the waitress. The manager stepped up and managed magnificently. We enjoyed our drinks and buns (or whatever) and watched as the Red Ride fast bubble arrived and found a table.
I kept looking out for the rest of the Red Ride with little success. Half an hour must have passed before they turned up and by then we were outside getting kitted up for the return leg. Having taken a photo inside we were off! Across the square and onto Bridgegate then onto the Great North Road. After a while we jumped left onto the North Road which runs parallel to The GNR and is safer but sadly doesn’t go too far. It leads to a footpath running along the GNR and would have been Ok but for Man and his dog. He was happy, we were happy but decided that more dog walkers might be a stretch. So back on the GNR and over the railway bridge and into Barnby Moor Before turning left onto Retford road. We stopped at the end of Tinker Lane for Robin and John to discuss the merits of a possible detour. But since it was a flooded long cut of about a mile to avoid a third of a mile of main road i left them to it. Wisely, they followed.
We cycled into Blyth and out over the A! to Harworth then on towards Tickhill, stopping in the entrance to the Horsey place to say goodbye to Robin. John declined the suggestion from Robin that he keep him company (they both live in the same general area) with the feeble excuse that he came to Tickhill by car! It had been a good ride, good company, good cafe stop and the weather hadn’t beed bad either.