Wetherby – Cracoe, Thu 2nd September 2021, 85 miles

Eight riders mustered in the Shamble on a cloudy early autumn morning with the possibility of afternoon brightness: Dennis, Graham, Sean with guest rider Chris, Pete D, Mike B, Mark and myself, Michael. We were heading into the Dales with lunch in Cracoe which seemed to be pronounced differently by every rider.

We rolled west via Sicklinghall dropping down Kirby Cliff, through Dunkeswick to Pool where Pete D peeled off. We then took the main road through Otley and Ilkley to the Ginger Plum Coffee Shop in Addingham. We were told by two mature customers that the café had been empty when they’d arrived; it was pretty rammed but we took the two last tables and enjoyed decent coffee after a bit of a wait.

Mark, or as he is known locally, The Blessed Cheesemaker of Scarcroft, told us he was heading back to visit a friend in the afternoon, avec fromage. The tourist trophy may yet change hands next year. Six remaining riders set off on a lovely circular route into the limestone of the Dales through Bolton Bridge, up the gated road to Embsay, north through Rylstone for a good lunch at the farm café in Cracoe.

The loveliest part of the ride opened up after lunch as we took the Way of the Roses route through Thorpe to Burnsall and down the back road to Bolton Abbey. Following a short discussion on the Duke of Devonshire’s charitable status we failed to reach a solution but agreed his grace was as slippery as his trout. The usual route through Beamsley to Ilkley was interrupted when Sean had a problem with his freehub. As we are a no-drop bike club we left him in Ilkley to either get a fix in Wheelbase or take a taxi home and barrelled on to the café in Pool. Dennis, Mike B and Chris (who rode well and is very welcome in the WWCC) carried on leaving myself and Graham and two coffees. We were shortly joined by Sean, bike all fixed. Freehub was fine and his bike was now rolling much better with the through-axle properly attached to the frame on the gear side prompting Graham and myself to check our wheels were attached.

All’s well that ends well. Mike B made his evening ride and we clocked 85 miles on a delightful route finishing in sunshine.

Michael Br