Wetherby – Pickering, Sunday 10th July 2022, 95 miles

One of our longer rides and it promised to be a very hot day. Arriving in the Shambles, I met Bill and Bob J chatting in the shade and discussing the route. we reckoned we knew how to get there OK but were not too sure of the best way back but with apps on phones and a sense of direction we weren’t too bothered. Frank arrived with his grandson, Felix as a welcome guest and shortly afterwards, Graham turned up thereby eliminating the need for any navigation from the rest of us. So, off we go. We were cheerfully waved over Aldwark Bridge with its bumpy planks,( once described on these pages as “sacred”, thanks Dennis), and by this time the sun was really getting going. At Alne crossroads we turned for Tollerton, then crossed the A19 and on to Huby. The little village shop here is now managed by a collection of volunteers. It has a decent coffee machine, sells nice flapjack, and has a few outdoor seats so we have stopped here a few times recently. This time we were attracted by a very old Ellis Briggs bike and Frank took a seat next to a large scarecrow before passing Eccles cakes around the group. Shortly afterwards, my new Garmin bleeped as we were riding thro’ Stillington. Peering at the screen in the sunlight I was informed that a left-hand bend was coming up. Honestly, who needs that ? The bend was easy and I could have crashed while looking at the screen, so I will have to disable that ‘facility”.

Frank and Felix had previously planned on a shorter ride so between Sherriff Hutton and Terrington Bank they took the left to Whenby, probably for another coffee in Easingwold. We didn’t need any more coffee yet so followed the GYBR route past Castle Howard, the little drag at Coneysthorpe to the left turn signed Amotherly and less familiar territory. This is a good bit. A short rise before the vale of Pickering with the distant Moors comes suddenly into view, and the next few miles are pleasant and undemanding. Bill commented that, unlike last year, the road was not blocked by a combine harvester. Bob developed a slow puncture but we got to Pickering OK, and to the café which we have used before. The last two long rides had seen some disappointing beans on toast but they were good here and served with iced water. We stayed in the shade and were hit by the heat as we came out. Bob changed his tube and we set off.

I’m beginning to recognise Graham’s route back via some nice villages and Barton-le-Street and Hovingham seemed to arrive in the sunshine without any climbs and incidentally, aided by a bit of following wind. The legs were beginning to feel it but not enough to spoil the enjoyment of the road from Bransby, then down from Crayke to Easingwold for extra drinks and ice cream. Nearly home, Bob pulled off to K’bro and I left in Tockwith feeling quite glad that I had done the stretch to Wetherby in the morning so didn’t have to do it now!

A great day. Super route, destination, café, weather and company. That new Garmin said 95 miles.