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Red Ride: Iron Horse Equestrian - Second Attempt

  • Date: 24 October 2021
  • By: Martin Bagshaw

Riders: Jenny Down, Jacki Sheriff, Diana Jordan, Gary Durham, Pete Down, Jon Palmer, Jon Brough, Dave Lee, Steve Greig, Mike Sales, Will Smith, Kevin Thomas, Robert Stevenson, Lawrence Buckley, Mick Abbiss, Andy Calvert, Martin Bagshaw

The Comfort Bubble Perspective

0% chance of rain the forecast said so it was out with the Sunday bike and away with the raincoat for a bright sunny autumn ride. 16 other riders had the same idea, so it was standing room only at the Cricket club while we discussed the planned route and the fact that we needed to split into a fast & medium paced bubble. Dave L stepped up as the fast group leader after admitting he had the route on his Garmin, he gathered 5 other members before disappearing down the road.

This left 11 for the comfort bubble which would still need a gap on the road for safety. So, with Mick installed as back marker off we set in hot, or tepid, pursuit. Out of Tickhill and up Apy lane there was a lot of catching up to do, not just the fast group but all the news and gossip after last week when all the red riders stopped in bed! Apy lane behind us we headed down into Edlington in the first spots of rain that wasn’t supposed to be happening, I was getting wet, and my best Sunday bike was getting wet and dirty! Looked like I was about to find out how dry chain lube works in the wet.

By the time we got to the Sprotborough hairpins the few spots had turned in to rain making the descent a bit hairy, especially for Will who was suffering with sticky brakes resulting in a couple of squeaky bum lock ups which he recovered well. We regrouped after the climb into Sprotborough for those with coats to put them on and those without to rue the decision not to pack a mac. Diana departed here being on a short pass and needing to be back home by 11:00 while we had a quick look over Wills brakes. All seemed in order but as we were passing within a mile of home Will decided to err on the side of caution and drop out to get the bike checked,

Onwards in the rain, which now seemed to be set in for the morning now as we headed up and up to Hooton Pagnell stretching the group out a bit Mick the hoover kept everyone together. The reward for the climb was a descent to the A1 which went a lot smoother than the previous ride which fell on the same day as a horse show resulting in a steady flow of horse boxes!

At Hampole we had a brief stint on the busy A638 before turning onto the quieter Leys lane to head for Skellow and A1 crossing. I’d had a conversation with Andy, who was joining us for the first time, and he said he was looking forward to riding on some new routes, I don’t think he was anticipating carrying his bike over a foot bridge but our rides are nothing if not varied. Slippery wet footbridge safely negotiated in cleats, we mounted back up to make our way in the rain out to Campsall where a helpful motorist hung out of his window and suggested we should be riding singled out, well I think he was being helpful, maybe not, through Askern and on to Moss where the coffee, cakes and fast bubble riders should be waiting.

Alarmingly the bike racks were full which didn’t bode well for getting a table in the warmth but surprisingly we all got seated and despite being full, the service was quick, the coffee was good, and the cakes were excellent so 10/10 Iron Horse!

The first few miles after a café stop are never easy but when you’re cold, wet and it’s still raining they seem even worse but them bikes don’t ride themselves so off we set. We upped the pace a bit after the café, nothing to do with the fact we’d left in front of the fast group while they completed their pre ride preparations, more to try and build a bit of body heat! We managed to keep in front of the fast group for a couple of miles, but they swept past just outside Kirkhouse Green, oh well it was good while it lasted.

Our next port of call was Stainforth where we recruited a few more members as a group of local urchins decided to join us on their bikes, some of which had tyres, none of which had wheels the same size on the font as the back! This added another dimension to the usual hazards we contend with on the road but fortunately their abilities weren’t as good as they thought, and they didn’t last long. We departed Stainforth with out further incident, apart from another motorist who thought we should be riding singly, well at least he was holding one finger up out of his window while blowing his horn, I think that was what he was inferring.

Every soggy wet pedal turn got us nearer to Tickhill but we had to contend with the 5 mile straight from Hatfield to Blaxton to contend with first, made worse by a stiffening head wind. Mike, Rob & Kev did a sterling job on the front, taking it for the team. A regroup at Blaxton then on to Finingley and Austerfield where Andy dropped off for a solo ride home, but he did say the rain, footbridges, irate motorists and rampaging Stainforth street urchins hadn’t put him off and he’d be back next week!

Final push now for the last few miles through Bawtry and back into Tickhill for a bit of a catch up with fast group before separating for home, a warm shower, and some dry clothes! One last Magenta hurrah, as we were leaving Tickhill we were able to give the returning Blue riders a cheer as they rode into Tickhill after their equally wet, but probably more hilly, ride out to Wentworth.

Chapeau to all TVC members and guest riders, Blue, Red, fast, medium, who ventured out in less than favourable conditions. One omission: No photos! You’ll just have to take my word for it, we were all wet, did I mention it was raining?

Martin B.

Red Ride: Iron Horse Equestrian - Second Attempt