Sunday, 23 February 2014

Another Saturday another superb shop ride

Led by the industrial language of splendid Steve Major we enjoyed another C&DCYCLES Saturday shop ride taking in the delights of East Northants. Some good Strava segments on this including one of my least favourite hills out of Thrapston. I got a PR on that slope so I think I may be starting to win that battle!

Monuments and bits of history grabbed my attention yesterday. The Finedon war Memorial was first thing that caught my eye with it's side inscription of 'ENJOYMENT' which I thought was a bit odd and the more appropriately 'COURAGE' on the front. Then we passed the 'Waterloo Round House,' which has a rather interesting history . The next thing I noticed was the war memorial at Denford, much more serious with it's 'COUNTRY, SACRIFICE, HONOUR AND ENDURANCE,' inscription.
(ps Steve I hate that lumpy bit of road from Denford to Thrapston.)
Then through Twywell we passed the Toll Cottage which, apart from a mention in a toll or turnpike database I can find nothing of interest about. I guess the thing that struck me was we would have paid to go through Twywell on our penny farthings.

Anyway a great ride and a most welcome slice of cake at the shop at the end.

Great turnout as usual

This is the view of Rushton on my way home to show what a beautiful day it was

Splendid cake at the shop

Friday, 21 February 2014

flipping freezing lap of Pitsford reservoir

The last in the half term Supersam series. We headed to what I consider to be Northamptonshire's best country park Brixworth. This place has it all: great play areas, walks, nature reserves, fishing, sailing, a bike shop (before I found C&DCYCLES I swore by Pitsford cycles,) barbecue/picnic area, outdoor fitness equipment and of course the 7 mile loop of the reservoir. This really is ideal for riding with kids because it's mostly flat, it's also good to walk or run round but hey I prefer to see the world on two wheels.

We were all set for a good ride with Sam confidently predicting we'd easily do two loops. Then we got going. It was cold. Too cold. Poor Sam was in bits but he manned up and we pushed through numb fingers and toes and got round. That's the trick with cycling. Carry too much kit and it annoys you, if you haven't got enough you'll be cold and no one likes that. I got it wrong! Sorry Sam.

We warmed back up in the cafe and Sam picked out a potential new bike. Niamh has a specialized hot rock and he wants one too. Of course that's not all, he told he he needs a road bike too. Back in the cafe Sam had his third hot chocolate of the week.  Now as surveys go this is worth listening to. Sam rated his best hot choc of the week as the one at fineshade. The other places did not do marshmallows, for Sam that's a heinous crime!

It may have been cold but it sure was beautiful. Check out the pictures. How can you not like that?


Looks beautiful doesn't it?

Action shot on the causeway

What a view

Action shot through the woods

Warming back up

Good carrot cake

Another cafe another hot chocolate

Thursday, 20 February 2014

No punctures in Scaldwell!

Today's Strava ride name is in honour of the GB Ladies curling team. If you didn't see it they yell at their sweepers with braveheart ferocity. I wanted to go fairly quick so please ignore my paltry average. Do pay attention to the PR's which I'm quite pleased with.

The route was standard fare for me: Orton, Loddington, Draughton, Lamport, Scaldwell, Holcot, Old, Loddington, Orton, Harrington and back to Rothwell. Some beautiful roads and my all time favourite Holcot causeway which crosses Pitsford reservoir, another local treasure but more about that tomorrow.

Did I mention it was a beautiful day?

Really beautiful!

These days were made for cycling!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

it is a great ride but not right now!

Ok so I sold this ride to Sam as the best bit of downhill in Northants and it's true if you don't attempt this route in the middle of the wettest winter on record, you'll have a splendid ride. Sam was great. We walked nearly half this route because it was unrideable. I kept apologising. He kept saying he liked a challenge. Sam is officially badass, I, unfortunately am a dumbass. The best thing he said was 'wait til I tell Mum, she's going to really tell you off!'

In the middle of this ride we arrived at Geddington. I attempted to tell Sam a little about the Eleanor Cross but as if by magic a Canadian Historian appeared. He told us about Edward the Confessor, how no kings since him have been faithful to their wives (including our future king,) how the cross is sighted on an ancient spring that the Romans built a temple to and that temple is now the site of the Saxon church in little old Geddington which appears to have been incredibly important in medieval England. Also they weren't crosses at all but situated on crossroads. Wow! I could have listened to this guy for hours but we had to get to Brigstock which at that point we foolishly thought was half an hour away!

The end destination is pretty good as it's another of our splendid country parks and the place where they started the red kite reintroduction. I think we all know how well that went. One of the winged monsters landed in a field near us. They are so cool and frankly ten a penny round here! The big attraction of the country park was, you guessed it, the cafe. Sam was not only greeted by hot chocolate and a cookie but his Mum had also turned up with a change of clothes. Surprisingly I didn't get told off. She just said: "I'm sure he loved it anyway!" Apparently I promised to take him back when it's not so muddy!!!

So far so good this is a nice track

Hmm we had to go 'off off road' because the 'off road' had been churned up by loggers

See it's a mess!

Ah that's better but Sam is already a soaked mess so a quick text to Mum to bring dry clothes!

These road things are a good idea...

It's got a explanatory plaque but when you have your expert who needs that?

Geddington's Eleanor Cross

It's getting tough

This is why!

Can you please tell me when we get to the 'good' bit?

Well deserved cookie and hot chocolate

Look at the state of those! Sums it up really doesn't it?

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Fineshade Wood - A superb family ride with Sam

Today's ride was at the superb Fineshade Wood which is North of Corby. This Forestry Commission site is a fantastic resource with a bike shop (Rutland Cycles,) a cafe, toilets, play areas and to top it all a well signposted and maintained woodland cycle circuit of around 6 miles with additional 'skills loops,' for youngsters ready for a bit more of a challenge. For bigger people looking for even more you can warm up on the skills loops (rated Blue) before heading over the road to Wakerley Woods - Scartree Trail (rated Red.) It's three pounds to park and I think you get more than your money's worth for that price. The really big thing for me is that Sam absolutely loves it. I want to encourage him to cycle as often as possible and this place really motivates him. I'm also looking forward to the day when he can show me how it's done over the road at Wakerley.

Also worth a look at is that bike Sam's riding. The little Scott kids MTB was bought for our eldest son Joe in about 2003, it was passed down to Niamh and later to Sam. It cost my Dad around 200 pounds and just proves he's very right that you get what you pay for. When Sam moves onto a bigger bike that little Scott will need a new home because there's a lot more life in it yet!

Supersam ready to go

Red kites everywhere

Here we go

Blue rated skills loops ideal for kids to learn trail riding on

The boy has style

A groovy style and a bike that just won't stop!

Good skills Sam

Time for a bigger bike?

No worries!


We always have to stop at the tree house

But hey it's quality so who cares?

Like all 'real' cyclists Sam understands the importance of the Cafe!

I love challenging myself, I love getting out on the roads on my own, I love riding with my mates at C&D Cycles but nothing compares to getting out with Sam. I think we ought to do it again tomorrow!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Strava is an obsession!

Ok so it's the first nice day in ages, sunshine, no rain, lighter winds. Result! This is the day to smash out 130km (80 miles) and complete the February Gran Fondo challenge. The keener eyed of you will already have spotted the 79.8 that Strava recorded. That's right 5 1/2 hours in the saddle and I'm short! Challenge 99% complete! major fail! The problem was my phone froze meaning I had no idea if I'd done enough or not. The lemonade from those lemons is I'll just have to try again, probably on Thursday.

My chosen route was to use the Old (as in the village) TT circuit of around 10 miles, do 7 laps and the bit to and from the circuit. Now for some that may sound a bit repetitive but hey it was a beautiful day and the route has points of interest. The very straight bit of road leading to Lamport used to run alongside a military runway. The Lamport airfield was used for reconnaissance missions in WWII and then housed nuclear missiles during the Cold War. Hard to believe isn't it! Then there's also Lamport House if you're into stately homes.

I had a serious ear worm for the ride having watched a great cycling video featuring Brett Bellchambers

Solo Twenty-Four from Sixth Row on Vimeo.

Thanks to Brett I can't rid myself of the woodpecker song. F you can't beat them join then so beware C&DCYCLES I'm going to punish you with this ditty for weeks!


The peaceful view across the old airfield

War memorial to the reconnaissance operation

What a beautiful day

So much better than the view from the turbo in my shed

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sam's homework

Sam had to write about someone who inspires him. He picked me! Ok so he's 8 so he thinks I could outride Brad Wiggins but hey I love this and he really does love cycling too. Also his homework does show some of the great family rides in Northants. 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Hurricane Dave

Well that was brutal...I loved it! There's something rewarding about riding on tough days. You have accept your average will be low and the strava PR's aren't under much threat know it's money in the bank in terms of building strength for nicer days to come.

Today I rode a bit with C&DCYCLES and a bit on my own. Just for good measure I took on four of the toughest hills around these parts. Rocky hill is always a big challenge especially as it was against the wind today. The others at Ashley and Cottingham are pretty fierce and I really didn't need Arthingworth to Kelmarsh towards the end of my ride.


Today's ride is named Hurricane Dave because of the blowiness and in memory of Roger Lloyd Pack. On Facebook it's national Dave day...after Rodney!

I nearly didn't get out this morning, as I tried to put the overshoes on Harvey set up camp on my feet!

I was so glad I had these in my pocket to keep me going today

And of course I had my ubiquitous kitkat!

All that windy action sets me up for the rest of the day. The dogs still need their walk but after that I can enjoy the rugby, come on England followed by come on you saints with as much beer and pizza as I like. Yes that's the truth of a good ride, you can get it down your neck without any calorific concerns.

Happy Dave day, peddle for Trigger!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Windy old shop ride

This was Saturday's C&DCYCLES shop ride and it was brutal in the wind. Tremendous turnout from us and bags of  other Lycra loonie groups out on the first dry day in a while. Predictably there are still lots of roads you could canoe down and the odd ford that isn't usually there! Still that wind! I did 40+ with the ride to and from the shop and it felt like 80! The plethora of cake at the shop was very welcome.


lovely day, another flipping puncture and a tiresome wind

So this morning I set out on a little 30 miler, pretty much the aborted route from my last Sunday puncture fest. I got past Scaldwell this time but got a front flat on the very next climb, another cat4 or maybe for Northants it should be called the 'other' cat4. No kind man with a track pump this time so I tried to get up to pressure with the mini pump, I wish I'd bought a CO2 pump now. The pinch I got from furiously trying to get the tyre somewhere rideable added insult to injury.


Got a pinch off my mini pump!
Beautiful Northants
Snowdrops in Harrington
The view from Mill Lane on the way to Old