Wetherby – Kirkbymoorside, Thursday 5th August 2022, 84 miles

No fewer than fourteen Wheelers gathered in the Shambles on a warm and sunny Thursday morning. The medium of WhatsApp told us that two more attendees, Chris and Steve W, were on their way from the Wakefield area but unfortunately traffic problems, including a closure of the M1, were causing significant delays. Chris turned back after getting stuck on the motorway. while Steve compounded his problems by driving on but forgetting to bring his bike. On a bike ride…

The fourteen (is this a recent record ?) were Kathy, Fred, Bill Geoff, Nick, Michael, Mike B, Greg, Sean, Phil W, Adam (joining us from Sydney), Glyn, Pete D and me, Mark. The fifteenth was Steve W who returned for his bike, parked in Walshford and joined us for coffee and the rest of the ride.

The day’s destination was Kirkbymoorside and Nick had a route in mind which took us to Huby for a coffee stop. After splitting into two groups at Deighton Bar to aid overtaking drivers we set off, starting up the inevitable A168 but only as far as Walshford before turning on to familiar – to most – lanes. We headed east to Cattal, north to Whixley and over the Ouse at Aldwark. Nick had promised us a crosswind all day but a shift in direction meant we received some pleasant assistance – or perhaps we were just riding really strongly 😉 . From Aldwark we turned east, despite an attempt to miss the turning by some members of the front group, and went into Tollerton and on to Huby. We stopped for coffee at the village store, where there were three friendly members of staff but unfortunately only one coffee machine, though we weren’t in a hurry. With a minimum charge of £2 for card payments and coffee priced at £1.80 there was an easy excuse for adding a flapjack…

We were joined by Steve at Huby and with four riders planning to head back after coffee (Kathy, Fred, Bill and Geoff) we made plans to keep to two groups, riding within sight of each other. Customary Wheelers’ discipline meant that this didn’t quite work out. However, nobody got lost and the four early leavers split from the rest at Stearsby, just before the first climb of the day, Snargate Hill, on the way to Grimston. From here we continued north through Gilling and Oswaldkirk, then east to Nunington and north again to Kirkbymoorside. An optional hilly loop which Nick had suggested was not taken; the call to lunch was louder.

Lunch was taken at The Buttercross where the staff coped well with our large group and fortunately the good weather and warm stone steps outside the cafe meant that there was plenty of seating. After lunch we started our return journey as a single group, riding south through Hovingham then southwest to Bransby, passing over the same hill as on the way out and tackling the sporty little ascent through Crayke, dropping down to Easingwold. Despite our concerns on the outward leg, the wind did not seem too troublesome, though that may say something about my position in the bunch…

Most of the group were happy to stop for afternoon coffee, milkshakes and cakes at TeeHee – our usual stop, the Fika Room, having no free tables. From Easingwold we headed to Alne where we joined our outward route, back over the Aldwark bridge. Steve paid the digestive price for his ice cream along the way to Whixley before peeling off to his car which luckily he remembered he had parked in Walshford. The remainder split at Tockwith and then Walton, happy with a good long ride, excellent weather and, of course, fine company. Thanks to Nick for the route.

Mark