Wetherby – Bedale, Thursday 25th November 2021, 71 miles

Five Wheelers assembled in the Shambles, three in good time – Sean, Graham and me, Mark, and then Steve W and Mike B cutting it somewhat finer, shall we say. The weather was very clear and bright but definitely on the cold side. The thermometer on my bike computer was hovering around 2C, though it does seem to be rather a pessimist. Even Mike conceded that it was a marginal day for wearing shorts (which he was).

Bedale was the declared destination which seemed like a good idea, going via Boroughbridge to meet Dennis and stopping at Topcliffe for coffee. The lure of the A168 was irresistible – a good way to cover the miles to Boroughbridge despite its rather characterless scenery. We set off in an orderly line, taking turns like a bicycle club, and made good progress. However, we were disappointed that the rather benign northerly breeze we had in Wetherby turned into something much less friendly as we rode, making us work harder than expected.

Rolling into Boroughbridge we waited by the bridge and within a few minutes were joined by Dennis, who had also been taken by surprise by the strength of the wind. Now a party of six we headed out at a civilised pace through Norton-le-Clay and Cundall to our coffee stop a The Milk Churn in Topcliffe, where we enjoyed excellent coffee and service.

Mike left us at Topcliffe, heading back for a work meeting, while the rest of us continued to hit the north, taking the riverside lane to Shipton on Swale where we crossed the river and turned right to pass through Sinderby and, following a spell on the A167, Burneston before arriving in Bedale.

Our usual place for lunch, Platform One, is closed on Monday and Thursday now so we opted for the Sprouted Kitchen, just on the opposite side of the road. We were made welcome and sat inside, though there is plenty of outside seating too which we used for bike parking. Sean and I enjoyed an excellent fish finger sandwich while everyone else had bacon sandwiches – not on the menu but the chef was happy to provide. Not cheap, but very good and worth a return visit for up to, say, half a dozen riders.

We wanted to get back before it got too dark so opted for a direct route home. Out on the Masham road, we turned past Thorpe Perrow and headed south on what Dennis dubbed “The Road to Well”, or possibly “The Highway to Well” – a musical reference either way. There was a steep little incline out of Well which I had forgotten about before a rolling run through West Tanfield, Sutton Grange and into Ripon. We crossed the A61 at Littlethorpe, then it was Bishop Monkton, Copgrove and Knaresborough where we said goodbye to Dennis. The last few miles back into Wetherby were accompanied by a further drop in temperature as the sunset but it never feels so bad at the end of a ride.

It was a good day’s ride despite the cold, pedalling generated enough heat to stay warm and the near-constant sunshine was very welcome. Thanks to Graham for his usual excellent route planning. No pictures from the ride owing to the reluctance to remove any of my three pairs of gloves…

Mark