Bramham – Bishop Monkton, 12th June 2021, 44 miles

Four Wheelers assembled by the war memorial in Bramham at a few seconds before 9:00am – Keith, Phil, Simon and me, Mark. The weather was bright and breezy, with a little more of the latter than expected. No chance of rain though – hooray ! Keith gave a quick summary of the route we would take, with a destination of Fountains Abbey being mooted. We were pleased to hear that Pete C would be joining us in Boston Spa, his first ride for some time following an operation on his hand.

So at 09:00:30 we set off up the hill past the school and across the top road to Boston Spa where we met Pete. We took the cycle path from the roundabout down into Wetherby and through Kirk Deighton on the Knaresborough road. The plan to cunningly force Phil to take the front all the way broke down at this point and in a rare change to the convention I rode at the front instead of the back for a while, even though there was a headwind. I’m pleased to report that the latest roadworks on the York Road intersection seem to have finished – for now at least.

Out of Knaresborough we encountered a very inconsiderate driver who tried to be the fourth car to fit into a three-car gap between two groups and then yelled that we were taking all the road even though we were all riding single file. There is no reasoning with some people.

Having hauled up the hill from Farnham we regrouped and decided to modify the destination to Bishop Monkton so that we could deliver Simon home by 12:30 without going full gas, as the pros constantly say. Keith then asked if my rear wheel was alright, having noticed that it was wobbling somewhat. A quick check revealed that it was indeed out of true, to the extent that the tyre was kissing the inside of the fork in one place. A slack spoke was quickly identified and the tell-tale rattle told me that he spoke nipple was no longer attached but pinging about inside the wheel. Having no realistic option I rode on – I don’t carry either a spare spoke nipple (tiny, lightweight) or the tool required to fit it (long, not lightweight). Later at home I fitted a new nipple – the old one has split – and trued the wheel, done in a few minutes.

From Bishop Monkton we headed east through Roecliffe into Boroughbridge, passing by a long line of traffic apparently caused by the closure of the A1 nearby. We visited Plenty for a coffee/tea/hot chocolate stop, sitting round the back as we did pre-covid which was very pleasant. Out of Boroughbridge we headed through the Dunsforths, encountering a colourfuk group of horse-drawn caravans along the way. Then it was Whixley and to Cattal, with another driver providing a demonstration of impatience on the approach to the bridge.

We parted company from Simon at the Rudgate crossroads bang on time and then dropped Pete in Boston Spa before rolling on into Bramham. A good time was had by all (I think) and I was certainly relieved to make it home without a collapsed back wheel.

Mark Lawrence