December the first, officially winter and we were greeted by a dry day with little wind or fog – such a welcome change after recent rides!
Nine wheelers met in The Shambles at 9.30am as usual, Graham B, Michael B, Mike B, Pete D, Glyn F, Sean C, Geoff M, Steve W and me, Phil W. All in very good spirits with the weather on our side, we headed out of Wetherby through Kirk Deighton, Little Ribston, past St James Retail Park and towards the north of Knaresborough, We turned off towards Scriven, Scotton, Brearton and Ripley, enjoying a reasonable pace before turning off the Pateley Bridge Road towards Fountains Abbey, taking in a couple of climbs up Scarah Bank and Hebden Bank, before turning off the road towards Sawley.
Pete Dack was keen to be back in Wetherby well before 3.30pm, so ride leader Graham had said we could stop for a brew mid-morning should time allow. Thankfully it did, so we stopped at the G&T Ice Cream Parlour at Rispith for coffee and cakes, bought by Glyn as a treat to us all – nice one Glyn.
On leaving the cafe we headed towards Grantley, unfortunately a mile and a half later Mike B had a mechanical problem, being a snapped derailleur which meant that he couldn’t continue. He decided to walk back to G&T and called to ask his good lady to come and collect both him and his bike in the car, from twenty five miles away! What a star, they say behind every successful man stands a woman, thanks Mrs B!
The remaining eight pressed on through Kirby Malzeard, Grewelthorpe and Hackfall Woods into Masham. We all made a bee-line for Jonny Baghdad’s Cafe on The Square, but being keen we didn’t see Dennis M waiting for us by another cafe with his bike. However, he promptly joined us for lunch, suggesting in jest that had we had cycled past him on purpose……as if we would…..! We enjoyed a good lunch stop, had some banter and all set off refreshed, back towards Wetherby.
As we had about 30 miles to go and conscious of time, Graham suggested we take the main road to Ripon to maintain pace, through West Tanfield, North Stainley and North Lees before reaching the outskirts of Ripon and turning right, heading for the Market Place. We then pressed though Ripon along Bondgate and on via Littlethorpe, Bishop Monkton and Farnham Lane, reaching Knaresborough where Geoff and Dennis left the group to cycle towards their respective homes. From there, the remaining seven Wheelers retraced our original morning route out via St James Retail Park and Little Ribston, before arriving in Wetherby at 3.00pm, as planned. A perfect route for the time of year, a couple of stops, great company and good weather.