Wetherby – Wistow, Saturday 12th February 2022, 50 miles

Four intrepid Wheelers gathered in the Shambles, which I confess is at least three more than I had expected, given the forecast for very strong southerly winds and rain. The four were Pete D, Fred – for his second consecutive ride, Pete C still in recovery from Covid and me, Mark.

My cunning plan was to ride out to just beyond Wistow, roughly east with a bit of south thrown in, and return westwards until Aberford where the southerly gale would carry us joyously back to Wetherby. As a bonus, we were to include a café in Church Fenton airfield which none of us had visited before.

We started with a little wiggle through the urban undergrowth, past the school and on to the cycle path under the main road. The pleasant surface and shelter from the wind gave a steady introduction to the ride and we then emerged onto the Walton road and continued across to Wighill and towards Tadcaster. Pete C’s long Covid recovery was making itself felt by this stage so he wisely decided that he would turn at Stutton before we reached the wide-open flatlands. Get well soon Pete.

Having said our farewells to Pete C we hauled up the hill to Raw Lane and dragged ourselves to Ulleskelf. Although it was predominantly a side wind even keeping our bikes running in something like a straight line was hard work. On we rode, through Ryther and Cawood to Wistow, from where I had planned a loop to add a few miles before heading to Church Fenton.

Some sort of miscalculation (I’m blaming Garmin, of course) meant that although we did add a loop it wasn’t quite the one I had planned and unexpectedly we ended up back in Cawood. Fred was on the point of turning back, the novelty of getting beaten up by the wind having worn off, but luckily we came into the village just before he did.

We headed south – directly into the wind – on Broad Lane turned right through Bishop Wood, which gave some shelter, and then Biggin and Church Fenton. Fred left us here, concerned that if he stopped for any time his legs might not let him start again. Pete and I turned into the airport, buzzed through the barrier and made our way past a miscellany of workshops and small businesses to the Fenton Feeder Café. The café was friendly and the service was good, as was my coconut cake, though the butter with Pete’s tea cake was granite-hard. I can’t comment on the prices because Pete settled the bill – good man !

Leaving the café we continued the battle with the wind and, although we hardly dared mention it, we actually felt lucky that there had been nothing more than a few drops of rain. We rode through Barkston Ash and Saxton to Lotherton Hall where Pete and I took our separate ways home, arriving just before the rain started in my case.

Fifty well-earned miles and an unexpectedly dry ride – unlike Sunday which was cancelled completely…