Boston Spa – Hebden, Tue 13th July 2021, 70 miles

Eight riders set off from Boston Spa on a cool but dry morning.

Frank, Pete C, Michael, Steve P, Nick, Ken (on his new electric bike), his friend Bob and myself Steve W.

We set off through Collingham, Linton then to Sicklinghall. It was here on the hill that Ken came whirring past us testing his bike in boost mode, well most of us, Michael wasn’t having it and overhauled him by the top. Onwards to Beckwithshaw, where we hoped to have a café stop at the church, which was advertising such the last time we passed.  No luck, closed this morning.  Ken turned back here suffering from “range anxiety” with his friend Bob.

Along the never-ending Penny Pot Lane, heading for a coffee stop at the farm shop near Fewston. No luck again, closed on Tuesdays. We set off in what was now warm sunshine to take the lane that joins the Greenhow road but this was closed for resurfacing, so we headed on to Blubberhouses and turned right up the steep climb of Hardisty hill.

It looked like our luck had changed as Mackenzies farm shop and café appeared at the top of the hill. We trooped in and waited at the check-in point and waited…and waited, finally someone brusquely asked if we had reserved.

‘No’ Frank says ‘We just want to sit outside for coffee and cake’.  ‘Just wait here’ says the man ‘And don’t touch anything’. Just made that last bit up, but we did feel like unwanted peasants.

We finally sat down in the nice terrace area.  Service was not forthcoming.  A couple sat down near to us and were immediately served by the waitress who completely ignored us, time to go we all thought.

Original destination was Grassington, but with all the delays we decided to stop for lunch at the Old School tea room at Hebden. Success at last, lovely table for six in the garden, fast and friendly service and Michael rated the beans on toast at 9 out of 10. 

We headed out through Hebden after lunch and stop for a photo and video shoot by Steve ’Spielberg’ Pearson of a scenic view of the river Wharfe cutting through Burnsall below us We took the road through Appletreewick then right to Howgill, Wharfedale looking splendid in the warm afternoon sunshine.

A left turn down the single track lane before Barden. The road is closed due to subsidence but you can get through on a bike or off it as was the case with Pete C as his back wheel skidded on loose gravel and he hit the banking hard at the side of the road.

Despite being in pain from his shoulder and covered in nettle stings, it was impressive how he never swore once. We got Pete to his feet and we all walked about a mile alongside the river to the Cavendish Pavilion. Pete tried riding his bike here, but it was just too painful.  So he phoned for his wife to come and collect him.

Michael needed to get back so set of home, the rest of us got coffees and sat outside the Pavilion watching Pete being treated by a lady from the Pavilion who was a first aider, who washed and treated his injuries.  There were some mutterings from the others about having suffered a groin strain (in your dreams).  Anyway, Pete was in good hands so we headed for home.

Myself and Steve P were instructed not to wait for Frank and Nick as they were not in as much a rush to get back, so myself and Steve P made a swift return to Boston Spa with a nice tailwind.

PS. Pete has broken his shoulder, I am sure you will join me in wishing him a speedy recovery and also in thanking the lady at the Cavendish for her care and diligence.

Steve W