Boston Spa – Bedale, 25th May 2021, 70 miles

The normally well-attended Tuesday ride was down to a minimal hardcore crew: Frank, Nick and me, Mark. We waited a while for any late-comers – not unknown on a Tuesday – but there were none. The weather was threatening and there had been a recent short shower so Frank suggested that we aimed for Bedale, with an option to divert and turn around at Melmerby.

We rode over the bridge and onto the Walton road before (inevitably) joining the ncessary evil of the A168 for a northwards push up to Boroughbridge. There was a headwind building but we just told ourselves it would be a tailwind home, which it was mostly, and carried on. From Boroughbridge we went towards Ripon but cut north through Copt Hewick, Hutton Conyers and Wath. This lane has excellent view to the east where we could see some significant meteorological activity over the higher ground of the North York moors – it was chucking it down. We continued to take our chances though and rode into Bedale for lunch.

It was market day so Bedale was quite busy but we went to the Platform One cafe by the railway where it was fairly quiet. There was plenty of activity from the Wensleydale Railway volunteers though who were preparing for their re-opening. We opted to sit outside although there were seats inside as the weather had brightened and warmed up – as was confirmed to Bill when he called Frank to ask about a ride. Suitably replete we remounted and rode towards West Tanfield, keeping an eye on the black clouds and rainfall to the east and keeping our fingers crossed.

Initial plans for a coffee stop at the Sun Parlour were changed to a stop in Knareborough as we arrived in Ripon too soon, assisted by a friendly tailwind. So it was on through Bishop Monkton and Copgrove and on to the Riverside in Knaresborough. Nick treated us to coffee (thanks, I owe you one) while we were amused by the occupants of a couple of the rented rowing boats attempting to escape from being trapped at the barrage. Steve Redgrave can rest easy. Back on the bikes we rode alongside the river, at one point passing a notice that the road would be closed from 1st – 28th June… could get interesting. From Knaresborough it was staight down the Wetherby Road where we split up, congratulating ourselves on our good fortune having stayed dry all day except for a couple of brief light showers.

Mark Lawrence