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Wednesday ride to Askern

  • Date: 04 October 2023
  • By: Martin Crapper

Five of us met at the Cricket Club: Kevin Thomas, Peter Hanks, Nick Kay, Robin Heyward and Martin Crapper (me). We discussed the weather in proper English fashion and decided we would miss the rain. And in proper English fashion there was an awful lot of rainwear on show.

Apy Hill was not on the agenda after reports of mud so after a romp around the village we headed towards Wilsic at surprisingly easy pace bearing in mind we needed to get to the café before they shut! We had opted to go clockwise to do he hills first and to allow Nick and Pete to head off home without returning to Tickhill. It was like cycling in a foreign land!

Thinking “turn left here to Conisbrough” we turned right to Wadworth and it seemed like that all day. Fortunately the Wahoos and Garmins knew the way so we didn’t get lost. I must try some of the other saved routes in the reverse direction sometime. We wizzed down Tofield Lane - gradient not a problem - turned left and went into Balby; left again and then right passed Polypipe, dodging traffic as we went.

It’s a busy set of roads but once the lights went green we were on the way to Sprotbrough falls (“passed” not “to”). The hairpin bends were dry so were safely negotiated. There were little hills in our way so we followed Robin (at a distance) into Cadeby where we found him chatting up a local!

We regrouped and headed along and then down that nice long hill down (most of the way anyway) to Barnburgh. And then payback time came and we headed up to Hickleton. It wasn’t as bad as expected and we got a forced rest at the main road waiting for a gap in the traffic before heading to Hooton Pagnell. We were a bit spread out when we reached the village so when Robin and I followed the main road the others took the left fork and went through the village! We soon met up and carried on. The route took us to Hampole and then over the pedestrian bridge over the A1 and into Skellow.

We eased our way through Burghwallis and Sutton but encountered a problem. Or rather Pete encountered a problem. From the shout it seemed as though someone just fancied a rest, but we stopped and within a short time Petes bike was on its back getting sorted — chain jammed ! It was one of those 4 men and a screw driver jobs — with me doing my best not to interfere or get dirty.

Back on the road again Pete seemed reluctant to risk changing gear and we assumed it would be a slow ride onwards. But he soon overcame that and we headed to the café by the lake. With Nick indicating right and us all following a big black car sat on his horn and overtook! He must have been desperate to meet his maker! We survived and wandered round the lake to the café.

The bike stands are too low and we fancied an outside table so we secured the bikes to our chase table and went into order. “Cash Only” was a bit of a shock but we had enough between us so ordered and went to sit. One topic of conversation was how cheap it was to dine outdoors in Askern. No frills of course but we didn’t care.

Having finished we set off and spotted a very nice flower shop 100 yards away (bit less than 100 metres for you younger people) with seating outside so obviously also do coffees. We didn’t stop and carried on passing the Iron Horse café with the wind finally helping us along (and building up too). We wandered down country lanes with very little traffic until we got to the bridge in Stainforth where we encountered a bit of a bottle neck. Once through we set off at our much improved pace into Hatfield and then east towards — well towards. Nick and Pete went left into Thorne and we now three went right along Cemetery Lane into Hatfield Woodhouse.

I don’t think Robin was too impressed with the outward leg of the TT route maybe because of the head wind but he stuck it out and we paused in the lay-by to introduce him to the magic roundabout before turning right and passing Walkers Nursery. We continued along and turned left along Hurst Lane losing Robin who went home along Hayfield Lane.

I was getting tired but fortunately Kevin took the lead and since he was there I stuck to his wheel for the rest of the way home! It had been a good ride with good company and one I will look forward to when it next rears its head!