Bramham – York, 26th June 2021, 41 miles

A cool, dry and cloudy morning at Bramham war memorial brought a group of five honed athletes to enjoy the Wheelers morning ride. It also brought to me the weighty responsibility of leading the route, meaning that I had to know where I was going (thanks to Ride With GPS and Garmin), ride on the front and not lose anybody. Two of the five were regulars Darren and Pete C and two were newcomers, Sue and Simon, who happen to be friends of mine and live almost next to Darren. Plus me, Mark, of course.

A town and country loop was planned, taking in a river crossing at Cawood, a little nibble of York and a return through Bolton Percy. The start out of Bramham went east along Toulston Lane, through Stutton and up the main road to Raw Lane through Ulleskelf. A left turn took us through Ryther (no flooding, despite the heavy rain on the previous day) and another left in Cawood led us across the bridge, accompanied by several deafening motorcycles.

Darren had pedalled ahead to take a photo and we resisted the temptation to pick up the pace and regrouped as we rode up to a left turn in Stillingfleet and on to Naburn. A quick discussion of the coffee options (Naburn Marina, Cycle Heaven or Doylys) led to a bird-in-the-hand outcome and we stopped for coffee, tea, hot chocolate, eggs and bacon. The Marina has certainly smartened up its facilities recently and the service and produce were good too.

From the Marina we continued northwards to join the busy but manageable streets of Fulford and York centre, crossing the Ouse again near Clifford’s Tower and turning south through Bishopthorpe. Staying close to the river we rode as a tight group (maybe) through Acaster Malbis, Appleton Roebuck, Bolton Percy and Tadcaster. The final stretch was up the road towards Boston Spa before forking left down Bar Lane and into Bramham.

I definitely counted five riders out and five riders back and with no mechanicals, no getting lost and no complaints within my hearing I consider my first lead a success. I’m quitting while I’m ahead.

Mark Lawrence