Frank’s 85th birthday ride: a two-report special. Boston Spa – Burley in Wharfedale, Tuesday 9th November 2021, 60 miles

Franks’s 85th birthday ride, so two ride reports, the first from Nick and the second from Steve P

Tuesday 9 Nov was almost Frank’s birthday (10th actually) so it was with something of a celebratory atmosphere that a bunch of us met in Boston Spa for the regular but still unofficial Tuesday ride. Nice to see Brendan and Fred making up numbers along with Geoff, Steve P, Pete Dack, Kenn and me. Frank had decided that The Cockpit Farm House Café in Burleigh in Wharfedale would be a good destination and we all agreed. We like them and are happy to support them in their new home since they had to move from the north side of the Wharfe.

The first diversion was due to road closure around Linton so we picked up Bill on the Sicklinghall road and with the wind in our faces dropped down Kearby Cliff. Meeting the Harrogate road we noticed the absence of Frank and Kenn. I went back to look for them and, busy looking along the road didn’t notice that they had retired into a field to mend Frank’s puncture. Luckily, Bill and Pete were within shouting distance and had spotted them so I joined the breakdown squad and after two duds, we found an inner tube that would hold air. With that fixed we started again. I was at the back and found that I had picked up a stone on my shoe and couldn’t engage the pedal so I had to stop, take off my shoe and sort that out. So now they were coming back looking for me. Fred had had enough of this and headed for home. If he ever does a whole ride with us, I’ll buy his coffee. The café at Poole proved too tempting for Brendan who also left us here. Undeterred we continued taking the shorter route now, only to find the Cockpit Farmhouse Café closed. (NB as it always is on Monday and Tuesdays!) After some indecision, we headed back to Otley where our first caff choice was closed but Leeds House in the Market Place had room for us so in we went. Unfortunately, probably due to staff shortage they could only do drinks and cake although Steve P successfully begged for a bacon butty. The cakes were good tho’ and probably due to staff shortage as well the manager got a bit confused and we ended up with some extra coffee and teacake.
From there on, all was uneventful. Home we rode through North Leeds, some of us splitting in Scarcroft and some in Collingham while I saw Frank home to BS. Happy Birthday Frank!


9 wheelers met in Boston Spa and set off towards the destination for the day….Burley in Wharfedale. The crew comprised: Frank, Nick, Kenn, Geoff, John, Brendan, Fred, Pete D and yours truly, Steve P.

Very soon into the ride, John B left the group at the A1 / Boston Main Street junction. In doing so, and after a total of 1.11 miles and achieving an elevation of 85 feet, John managed to smash 2 WW club records….the shortest ride with WW and the shortest ride with WW on an electrically powered bike. (Editor’s note: John can have the electric bike record but he’s nowhere near claiming Robinson-Burnell Trophy for the shortest ride)

The group continued through Wetherby towards Sicklinghall. On a hill at Linton, and looking an imperious figure, the club’s replacement for John, Bill, looked down as the club approached. Bill’s arrival meant the club numbered 9 again and headed onwards to Dunkeswick and Weeton. It was here that 3 events occurred in quick succession: Frank celebrated his imminent birthday by having a puncture; Nick, rather uniquely, managed to attract an annoying stone into his shoe clips; then Fred decided he’d had enough and cut the ride short.

Heading down Harrogate road and towards Pool in Wharfedale Brendan left the group at Pool farm shop. It was good to have Brendan back with the Wheelers.

The crew rode along Pool Road, through Otley Town Centre and then along Ilkley Road. On arrival in Burley in Wharfedale, the club found the intended cafe destination closed (limited hours open) and so headed back towards Otley.

The club dined (author’s apologies-name unknown) in the Market Square opposite Gregg’s. The owner was very welcoming and provided food quickly, though this is really a coffee and cake cafe, the only warm food being bacon sandwiches. At this point, Frank, very generously, paid for all the Wheelers dinners. It was Frank’s 85th birthday the following day.

The group of 7 then ascended Chevin Road and headed through Bramhope before turning towards Eccup reservoir. After a photoshoot at the reservoir (see photo) we cycled along Wigton Lane to Shadwell, then Scarcroft. Frank led Nick, Bill and Geoff back towards Wetherby, whilst Pete D, Kenn and Steve P headed towards Thorner. Kenn departed whilst Pete D and myself headed east, home.

The weather conditions remained favourable all day, the potential showers never materialised. It seemed fitting that the heavens were kind to mark the imminent birthday of an inspirational cyclist.

Steve P