Sunday 12th February saw our first extended club ride. I was always asking for trouble planning the first ride for February. From the forecast February was going to live up to its billing.
Not surprisingly there weren’t many volunteers so well done to Johnathan, Lewis and Simon who joined me for our trip to Helmsley. I can’t claim it wasn’t cold, wet , windy because it was , it even snowed a little, but it wasn’t as bad as the deluge that was forecast. It was out into the head wind via Flaxton and Foston before we headed up the monument climb at Castle Howard, one of my favourite climbs. The theme for the day was set as Lewis raced off in front , battling to the top against a VC York rider who had passed us on the way out. From here the rolling road took us to Slingsby and thankfully flat to Nunnington where at last we picked up a bit of a tail wind. Johnathan pointed out some blue sky above us, but mother nature was teasing us and the drizzle soon returned. We skittled through Helmsley and climbed out of town , the cafe stop now in grasping distance. One more climb and we plummeted towards the T-junction in Ampleforth, as my Tektro rim brake leavers approached the bars I was wishing for Simon’s disc brakes, few we all stopped in time. We parked round the back of Kirks cafe and walked in. Ampleforth is a posh place, evident by the family sat at a large table in their Sunday best, Grandad was even wearing a bow tie. The look on their faces as we walked in dripping wet was a classic. The staff didn’t bat an eye and served up much needed , if not a little expensive, bacon sandwiches and hot drinks. We headed back out when Lewis pointed out it was snowing , which seems a bit dumb now I say it like that but it stopped as soon as we were outside. There were 25 miles to go and just the final big climb up to Yearsley, it started snowing again but by now I reckoned it was looking pretty. From Yearsley it was a tentative descent to Brandsby, making sure we avoided the cycle eating hedge on the right. Lewis announced he was getting cold waiting for the rest of us so he headed off at his own pace, which turned out to be the speed of light because I swear he just vanished. With a bit of a tailwind the final leg from Sheriff Hutton whizzed by and the ride was over. One to put down in the book as remember that day when…. Hopefully the next one will have better weather, it will struggle to be worse !
I was asked earlier this year if I’d like to take part in a charity bike ride and be allowed time off work to do it. Immediately I said yes of course before being told it was 300 miles. The aim was to raise money for Benenden charitable trust which is part of the company I work for and SAMH which is the Scottish Association for Mental Health and has Sir Chris Hoy as their ambassador. The plan was for a group of 10 to ride from SAMH offices in Glasgow to York, then a second group from Benenden offices in York down to the Hospital in Kent. Details and sponsors can be found at https://www.benenden.co.uk/about-benenden/charitable-trust/cycle-gb-2016/
The people taking part ranged from a few regular riders to some that hadn’t ridden a bike for years and had to buy a bike to take part. I was in the second leg riding 300 miles in 4 days. I’ve only started to ride regular and longer miles since joining YRCC and had never ridden 300 miles within a week so it would be a challenge for me too. I rode a bit more regular in August and managed 300 miles over 7 days so felt I would be ok. Others taking part had ridden about 40-60 miles as their longest ride but would be doing roughly 4 days of 75 miles in a row.
We were having some funny conversations in the lead up to the Charity ride over what type of bike to buy, food and drink, chamois cream and clothing. Even down to explaining the difference between shorts and bib shorts (those ones with the braces on them)…..
We’d all put some training in and our team kit with sponsorship logos came meaning it was very close to the start. Our first stage group had a gruelling first day. Over 90 miles with 5k feet of climbing and heavy rain for the last few hours. I honestly thought that would have broken some of them. But they all carried on for day 2 and then day 3 they arrived in York on the Friday, where we met them outside the office pictured below. That meant on Monday it was our turn to ride 300 miles.
The Start York to Lincoln – day 1
I crammed everything I thought I’d need in to a massive walking rucksack and cycled very slowly to work ready to load up for the start. A support vehicle would be with us so the bag was chucked in their along with the others taking part. We all met and introduced each other, had a briefing about what would happen and the route we were taking. Then after the official start photo we headed out towards the Planets bike track. I had the route on my Garmin but as long as we were heading for Selby it would be ok. As soon as we left York it started to drizzle but once we got towards Selby my Garmin couldn’t find the route leaving us to debate what the route was and the best way to get back on it. We should have taken a turn before Selby to head to Goole but after contacting Support we agreed to carry on towards Drax and cut across back on route to Goole for the first rest stop. A well deserved coffee to warm us up and a mix of sandwiches, Chia bars and crisps. As we were back on route leaving there, we could follow it again down South next to the river on quieter roads. But getting wetter as the day went on. We then heard a plane go over our heads before we’d got to Lincoln. Then more planes before we realised it was the Red Arrows practising their flying formations. It was great to watch except we were veering across the road, but cheered us up before we arrived in Lincoln.
Lincoln to Peterborough – day 2
After a full breakfast we headed out of a very busy Lincoln on a cloudy day. We would be cycling in to a headwind again all day and on some busy stretches of road. There were some stretches of road that were quieter; but on the whole we were trying to stay safe with cars/lorries not giving us much room at all. There was a bike track section through a park for the last few miles but the surface was quite lumpy so we were training to avoid a flat tyre or falling off. We got to the finish quite thankful not to have been hit on the roads.
Peterborough to Cheshunt – day 3
This was the best day by far. The weather was perfect and the roads much quieter. We’d arrived for a rest stop in St Ives, but it seemed all the pubs were closed except one. After a very nice stop there we headed out on a bus/bike lane which use to be an old railway line. This meant we could ride in a large group and actually relax and talk to each other a bit more. after about 15 miles we had to navigate Cambridge. By now I’d already taken to the front of the group to navigate the route on my Garmin. It helps when you can see to street level where we needed to be. After that we were on fairly quiet roads again in to Cheshunt. I’d collected 2 flat front tyres in the afternoon, the second thankfully right next to Scott that was our mechanical support. By now everybody had aches and pains and we were queuing up to see Helen for a massage on aching legs and shoulders.
Cheshunt to Benenden Hospital – day 4
Our last day was going to be skirting around London and involving a Thames river crossing by boat too. The usual 15mph headwind was there from the start and a bit of drizzle but we kept happy knowing the weather should improve and getting closer to the finish line. Much of the start was ups and downs going through Epping Forest. The weather did start to clear in time for the couple of descents we made, luckily no cars coming round one of the corners that one of the group ran wide on. There was quite a technical a 15-20% but had some sharp turns and then speed bumps which some thought was fun and wasn’t as much for others. After following a bike route we got to the river crossing point and were told the boat had broken down. We thought they were joking at first but it turned out they weren’t. We had to try fit us and the bikes in to the support vehicles to drive back and over a busy dual carriageway to get to the other side of the river that was about a 15 miles drive. After taking all the bikes to bits, it looked like at least one of us wasn’t able to fit. I volunteered to ride it and see them at the other side along with one of the others (safer with 2) but with moving gear round in the cars we did manage to all squeeze in.
After driving round, the delay meant we were well behind schedule. That also meant a decent lunch stop was out of the question, so a quick sandwich eaten in the car park. Toilet stop in the local pub and after Jenny chatting to the regulars about what we were doing they handed us some money for the collection. A quick check of the route and we were back on it again. Battling through aches and pains we had a minimal afternoon stop and try get to our destination in Kent as close to 1700 as possible. We tried to stay in 1 group as the roads were fairly quiet and didn’t want to drop anyone off the back of the group. 1700 passed but some colleagues that were from the area knew we weren’t far away. Within 2-3 miles from arrival there was a small climb that somebody shouted was a Strava segment as they went past me. So I got out of the saddle to chase him down and as I went past the front of the bike felt soggy. I’d got another flat front tyre. I nursed it up the remainder of the hill and as it hadn’t gone completely, I carried on. About a mile further I thought it wasn’t going to last, but was told the finish was about a few hundred meters down the road. Freewheeling to the last corner keeping my weight as far back as possible we went over the finish line to lots of people cheering and waving. The bikes were dumped and everyone in the group hugged each other. Photo’s were taken, I gave an interview about 4 times about finishing with a flat tyre – so that might be weird to see when it’s out on Youtube etc… the teaser trailer can be seen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DO9NQYWGE3Y
We’re all already talking about what to do next year. . . .
The route this Sunday heads West from Tesco through Askham Bryan, Healaugh, Wighill and Walton. Heading South from there to Boston Spa and on to Tadcaster. Against the wind to Ulleskelf, Cawood and the edge of Stillingfleet. A brief section on the A19 turning right at Escrick and out to Wheldrake. North towards Elvington for the wind to help us back past the York Maze down Hull Road and Heslington for an optional cafe stop at Cycle Heaven.
With the wind forecast to come from the South; we’re heading South to benefit from the tailwind for the way home. Starting from Tesco towards Bishopthorpe to join the Planets bike track down to Selby. Then we’re staying on mainly single track roads through Barlow, Carlton, Hirst Courtney, Temple Hirst and Burn. On the A19 to Brayton then some more quiet roads to Thorpe Willoughby and on to Cawood. Help from a tailwind to Stillingfleet and Naburn. Briefly on the bike track again over the river to come back in to York via Bishopthorpe Road for an optional cafe stop at Your Bike Shed.
We’re starting from Tesco going South East of York to avoid the Marathon taking place. Heading out on the Planets bike track then towards Deighton. Over the road at Escrick to carry on to Skipwith, South Duffield, Woodhall and Bubwith. East from there on the A63 for a couple of miles to turn off and head in to Howden market place from the South. Northwards to Bubwith for a couple of miles on the A163 and turning off for quieter roads again at North Duffield. In to Skipwith again, then looping out North East to Thorganby, Wheldrake and Crockey Hill. Then carefully up the A19 in to Fulford for an optional cafe stop for coffee & cake at Your Bike Shed.
We’re starting from Tesco going anti clockwise to the Northwest of York. A little longer ride than normal to try stay off busy roads and ride some new ones. Heading West through Askham Bryan, Askham Richard and Hutton Wandesley. Over the road through Long Marston, Tockwith and Cowthorpe. North through Little Ribston, skirting round Knaresborough towards Farnham. Eastwards to Arkendale, Great Ouseburn and over the toll bridge through Linton on Ouse, Newton on Ouse, Beningbrough Hall and Overton. Then carefully crossing the A19 coming in to York at Bootham for an optional cafe stop for coffee & cake at Your Bike Shed.
We’re starting from Tesco going anti clockwise to the South West of York. Heading West through Askham Bryan, Healaugh and Thorpe Arch estate. South to Boston Spa across the bridge for a climb up “windmill hill”. A scenic route down Warren Lane, taking care at the A1 roundabout then going through Aberford. Wind assisted East towards Saxton, Barkston Ash, Church Fenton, Cawood, Stillingfleet and Naburn. In to Fulford for an optional cafe stop for coffee & cake at Cycle Heaven.
As many of you are aware Mike Corley (YRCC club secretary) is participating in stage 2 of Cycle GB 2016 – a 600 mile charity bike ride in aid of Benenden Charitable Trust and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH). Mike will be riding 300 miles from York to Kent.
Mike is an integral part of the club committee and regularly posts weekly routes and club correspondence through the relevant channels. To thank Mike for his continued support in the running of YRCC, the committee has decided to use some of the clubs funds to sponsor Mike on his charity ride.
Benenden Charitable Trust helps people in financial need as a result of sickness, infirmity, disability and any other medical condition. In its first ten years, the charity granted over £650,000 to individuals in need, providing breathing space grants and helping to pay for life changing surgery and specialist equipment.
Established in 1923, SAMH currently operates over 60 services in communities across Scotland. These services, together with our national programme work in See Me, respect me, suicide prevention, sport and physical activity; inform our policy work to influence positive social change. With direct support to over 4,000 people annually and a supporter base of over 10,000 people, we aim to represent the voice of people most affected by mental health issues.
After a week off we have a ride with a couple of ups and downs. We’re starting from Tesco going clockwise to the North of York. Heading out through the City Centre, Gillygate and Wigginton Road. Turning West at Sutton on Forest through Huby for the first climb at Crayke. Straight over and on to Brandsby. Climbing East towards Coulton, then some descending with a sharp turn and climb out of Hovingham. Rising upwards to Terrington for a sharp descent, then climbing back up in to Sheriff Hutton. Through Strensall and New Earswick in to York, for an optional cafe stop for coffee & cake at Your Bike Shed.
We’re starting from Tesco going anti clockwise to the West of York. This is to avoid the Selby Swans rides South of York. Heading out through Askham Bryan and on towards Thorpe Arch. Then North towards Bickerton, Cattal and climbing to Whixley. Thorpe Underwood, over the toll bridge and then through Aldwark turning East to Tollerton. South from there to Shipton but crossing the A19 safely to head round the back way in to Skelton. Down the A19 in to Bootham with a sharp left at Rougier Street to follow the river and over the Millenium bridge for an optional cafe stop for coffee & cake at Cycle Heaven.