Boston Spa – Ripon, Tue 28th July 2021, 55 miles

On a sunny morning, but with showers forecast for later in the afternoon, 9 riders gathered by St Mary’s in Boston Spa. The starting line-up was Steve W, Steve P, Steve B, Nick, Frank, Pete D, Bob, Kenn, and me, Mark. We were joined by Pete C, on foot and with his arm in a sling, who was in good spirits though frustrated by his broken shoulder.

The destination was declared to be the ice cream café at Risplith, which was rumoured to be closed but we were going anyway. Turning down and across the bridge in Boston Spa a suspicious hissing started to come from Steve P’s rear tyre so he pulled over. The rest of the group continued but I stayed to scratch my head and watch while Steve tried to get the tubeless tyre to seal -we could see sealant leaking out of the tyre centre. After a good deal of pumping and the application of a CO2 cartridge we thought that the seal was complete but another hundred metres of riding proved otherwise. Although Steve had a tube with him, he decided that he’d turn back – less than a mile into the ride – and fix up the tyre at home.

Before turning back Steve phoned ahead to try to find out where the rest had Wheeled to but got no answer so I set off, guessing the route. I hadn’t paid attention to the route briefing, as usual, but knowing Frank’s love of the A168 that was my first target. Thankfully Steve W had waited on the bypass so we pedalled on together to meet Nick who had waited on the corner of Mark Lane and the group was reassembled, riding through Kirk Deighton to Knaresborough.

Passing through Knaresborough we headed up the hill at Farnham where Kenn showed us the power available from his e-bike. Obviously, we could have easily caught him, we just chose not to…

Heading towards Markington and then Fountains Abbey (almost) the group split into two, with the front group heading up How Hill and dropping down to turn left just before Fountains, through Sawley and to the ice cream café which was closed, as predicted. We took the nice fast descent into Ripon.

In the other group, Nick had a significant fall when he hit a sandbag that had been left in the road to control water crossing. He had a muddy landing and sustained some cuts and bruises so they called into Fountains Abbey where he could clean up and assess the damage to him and his bicycle. The group then went directly to the Sun Parlour Café in Ripon where the rest of us heard what happened.

After lunch Frank, Pete D and Steve B agreed to accompany Nick home at a steady pace – his bike was stuck in a single gear. There was a short delay before the rest set off through Littlethorpe, assuming that the first group had gone the shortest way home.

After a few miles of pressing on we hadn’t caught them so Steve phoned Frank, only to find that they were heading for Boroughbridge. We took a turn north to get back on the route past Newby Hall and, having checked that Bob and Kenn knew where they were going, Steve and I upped the pace to catch the lead group. We were surprised that we hadn’t caught them by Boroughbridge but Steve W and I pushed on down the A168 – surely that is the most direct way ? It turns out that they had taken the more scenic route through the Dunsforths so we never saw them but Steve and I “enjoyed” a leg-burning blast down the main road to Wetherby where we split.

So, a rather chaotic ride even by Wheelers’ standard, and we wish Nick a quick recovery and good luck in finding any bike parts he needs.

Mark