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Wednesday morning ride to Idle Valley Nature Reserve

  • Date: 22 November 2023
  • By: Martin Crapper

The riders were: Tricia Kril, Michelle Greco, Robin Heyward, Rob Drohan and me, Martin Crapper. A cheerful lot and too busy chatting to set off on time. But we made it through the gates eventually and since I could here someone saying words to the effect of we are going right at the gates then left” we went left!

Now I admit that wasn’t a well thought out variation on the route, but I was on my gravel bike with mudguards! We were OK until we started to go up the motorway bridge and it got worse on the lane leading back to the main road - mud fought for air with leaves and the result was ….. Sorry Rob I could see how clean your bike was.

It, the mud, must have all come off as we went along to Harworth and we settled down to a dry ride. A lot of the way we seemed to be single file but once we got passed the industrial estate traffic eased and we doubled up. Serlby underfoot(?) was damp but more or less leaf free - we were noticing that more and more trees had shed all their leaves. Winter is a coming guys!

Although not forecast we were noticing the wind picking up. We went on through Ranskill turning right in Mattersey alongJob Lane. A word of praise here for two car drivers both going passed the far end of Job Lane in opposite directions - they both stopped an waved us out. I almost fell off my bike with the shock.

Rob headed up front with Robin and it took a bit of shouting to get them under control and turned left towards Lound. The road was clear and we made good progress. As we approached the junction in Lound Robin and Rob had made the mistake of being in front and missed the spontaneous ballet demonstration by Tricia. She claimed it was a pebble what did it! A right turn took us through the village, through Sutton and we paused just before the main road. With 13 miles on the clock I wasn’t sure they were ready for coffee - Idle Valley was just around the corner though and beckoning so we headed along for coffee (and green tea).

Getting served was a problem as the till needed Wi-Fi and there wasn’t enough! So we had to go over to the shop area and order there. It was a long job. Drinks and snacks came and I guess it was probably only a 6 out of 10! Fortunately the company made up for it.

Helmets on, bikes unlocked and we were ready for off or not as it turned out. “I must have left my gloves inside” said Robin and set off to go back inside - despite the fact that we sat next to the window and we could see they were not there! He came back without gloves, checked in his pannier bag and voila there they were!

Going left out of the café we headed into Retford through the industrial estate and then passed Morrisons which I mention only because that’s where we spotted Andy Singleton looking fresh and going the other way. Other supermarkets are available etc.

Up the hill, left and on to Clarborough, Hatton and Clayworth. In Clarborough Rob went out in front, he had already said he would leave us in Mattersey to go see a friend, and he just seemed to keep going at his own comfortable pace. We didn’t see him again.

For a little diversion we went into Wiseton along the canal side and stopped for Michelle to take photos, two of which are attached. Good picture, thank you.

Carrying on through the village with more mud and leaves we made it back to the main road and headed into the growing wind. Drakeholes came and went and then Mattersey. We did go along the Mattersey Thorpe road just in case, but we didn’t see Rob who by this time was hopefully into his second coffee and cake!

The way back from here was over the same route as they outward route but seemed quicker even though we had a head wind. The hedges seemed to work in our favour!