Wetherby – Easingwold, 13th May 2021, 72 miles

Seven riders gathered at the quiet end of The Shambles – also convenient for the conveniences – on a morning sunny enough to tempt a few riders into shorts: Graham, Mike Bo, Mike Br, Pete D, Steve W, Nick and me, Mark. We set off on the dot of 9:30 – if only all rides were this prompt 😁😉.

The route was chosen so that we were never too far away from home in case the weather turned foul, which some forecasts were predicting. Easingwold was the first port of call and Graham plotted a cunning and very pleasant alternative to the tedium of the A168 by going through Knaresborough to Farnham, across through Arkendale, the briefest of encounters with the aforementioned 168 and then over the Aldwark Bridge. This was followed by Aldwark village, Tholthorpe, Raskelf and arrival in Easingwold to be greeted by lovely warm sunshine and a free table at The Fika Room for a coffee stop.

Next on the route plan was a return through York via Strensall to Copmanthorpe. On the approach to York, slightly interrupted by an inebriated individual almost falling under a bus, we agreed that it would be better in the traffic to split into a three and a four. I insisted that whichever group I was in had at least one rider who knew their way through the city. As Nick claims to enjoy finding his way through York I was happy enough to be with him when the groups were formed by a particularly short traffic light change. And Nick did indeed find his way through a baffling sequence of cycling infrastructure, with scarcely a few hundred metres of actual road. Our journey included crossing the racecourse, making a u-turn on a path that was barely long enough to rotate a bike, passing Venus and Mars and diving through a hedge to make our umpteenth crossing of the A64.

Unsurprisingly the other four were already tucking into their lunch when we rolled up to Little Acorns in Copmanthorpe. The sun was still shining – enough to warrant opening up the table umbrella – but the sky was starting to look black to the west. After we’d all finished we began our return leg, via Bolton Percy and Tadcaster and a little loop towards Stutton before heading towards Bramham. Pete peeled off home, hoping to miss any rain after Tuesday’s downpours and having just cleaned and oiled his bike, as did Nick later. The rest of us split at the bridge over the A1, happy to have had a dry and very pleasant day out.

Mark Lawrence