Boston Spa – Malton, 11th May 2021, 80 miles

Five Tuesday Wheelers gathered at St Mary’s Church on a cool sunny morning: Pete D, Frank, Sean, Alec and me, Mark, with Nick waiting for us at the end of Rudgate. The destination was Malton, via York on the way out and Terrington on the way back. Alec stated his intention to leave the ride early as he had to pack for a trip to East Anglia and Sean said he might do the same as he had to wrestle an architect, though he did complete the full ride and get back with seconds to spare. Nick was also leaving early as well as arriving late – Hollywood beckons.

We left Boston Spa and rode out via Wighill, Healaugh and Askham Bryan and then through a moderately busy York, taking a route through which was familiar but which I could never find on my own. With two or three of the party intending to turn for home we called into the garden centre in Stockton on the Forest for a cafe stop. However, the cafe wasn’t open – ironically there was no outside space at the garden sentre – so Nick and Alec turned back while Sean decided to continue for a while at least.

The remaining four rode on through Sand Hutton and Bossall. crossing the Derwent before joining the relatively main road northwards into Malton. With typical Wheelers tight organisation just four of us managed to get separated, with three going to Thomas the Baker and Sean heading to a deli in the market square. We reconnected through the wonders of the internetto and left through Coneysthorpe towards Catle Howard, intending to head to Easingwold via Terrington Bank and ignoring the “Road Closed” signs which obviously weren’t meant for us. However, after a surprisingly rolling ride we came to the turn for Terrington and were met by a sign that specifically said there was no access for cyclists and a helpful worker who confirmed the same. The signed diversion was back up the hill we had just descended so we threw oursleves on the mercy of Sean’s Garmin and took the only other road. We wondered through Ganthorpe to meet a T juntion where we turned right for Sherriff Hutton from where, Frank assured us, it was downhill all the way to Easingwold.

A coffee stop at the The Fika Room in Easingwold was most welcome; Sean bumped up his caffeine supplies by enjoying a chocolate milk shake and a large slab of chocolate cake with his coffee. By now the weather was looking very threatening and a few drops of rain fell during coffee but we thought we would still be in with a chance of staying dry. The standard route to Aldwark Bridge was taken, where we stopped to put our rain gear on, though Frank continued, having cannily put his on earlier.

After the bridge we had a little light rain but not enough to wet the roads and punish those of us who didn’t have mudguards (Pete and me). As we approached Whixley Frank commented that he was getting a little cramp in his legs and would walk a little until it cleared. At his insistence we reluctantly rode on but turned back after a little while to check Frank wsa alright. We agreed to ride in together at a steady pace to avoid any more cramping. By this time the heavens had decided it was opening time, it was pouring rain, quite dark and there was thunder and lightning; quite exciting in a way and much less of a concern than it would have been near the start of a ride. We sloshed back into Boston Spa and Pete and I continued home, happy to have enjoyed a grand day out.

Mark Lawrence