By my count there were eleven starters on a mild sunny but windy Thursday: Graham, Steve W, Nick, Pete D, Mike B, Mark, Michael, Glyn, Steve B, Fred and me. Not bad for January
The wind was blowing from the west so my earlier assumption was that we would head west until lunch and have a tailwind home but Graham’s mind doesn’t work like that and I knew he had planned a wide, eccentric loop of York with lunch late in the ride at Copmanthorpe.
We set off down the A168, had a scary moment in a traffic light controlled set of roadworks when a car set off into our path before we were through, even though we had all entered the roadworks on “green” and he could obviously see us. Having survived that, we left the 168 and headed to Cattle including the usual long wait at the level crossing. Amazingly we crossed an empty A59 without stopping and then up Whixley Hill, the only climb of any kind that we faced in the day. We lost Fred after Thorpe Underwood. He was chatting to me just before he turned off so I think it must have been something I said! Over Aldwark bridge (it doesn’t close until April) and then via a “Graham special” route to Easingwold for coffee. I wax a bit disorientated at this stage but I think we went through Raskelf.
The Easingwold cafes seemed to have lost all their outside seating so we were a bit worried that we wouldn’t find a seat indoors but we were ok and the service was very speedy.
We then headed towards York via Crake (of course) and we did have to shout the leading riders back at the first junction or they’d have ended up in Helmsley! Graham started to feel hungry almost immediately after leaving Easingwold and said he thought there was a café in Strensall near the Army barracks we could try (there wasn’t). Not showing our disappointment, we headed over the outer ring road into York. As we negotiated one of a number of roadworks in Huntington, Graham spotted a not very interesting looking café and made us do a U-turn. We’d never been in before but its exterior looks were deceiving, the food was good and service quick despite us filling all the spare seats in the place.
Setting off for the last leg we somehow lost Steve B and Glyn and despite a lengthy exchange of phone calls, they were already making good progress towards home on their (shorter) route so they decided not to re-join us. The remaining seven went over the Millennium bridge, through Bishopthorpe and Copmanthorpe before adding a few gratuitous extra miles via Norton and then Billborough. Healaugh and Wighill were my last villages before turning off to Boston Spa via the trading estate. I presume the rest immediately called in at the Fox and Hounds in Walton and are still there as I write (but maybe not!)
Thanks as always to Ride Captain Graham for planning a flat route in line with our current fitness levels. Roll on next Thursday!