Wetherby – Bolton Bridge, Thursday 12th January 2023, 54 miles, 1100m

Six semi-optimistic members turned out for Thursday’s leaderless ride ( get well soon Graham). Steve Pearson had put in a claim to lead, but, his own devised ambitious mountainous route had to be rejected by the other five mere mortals instantly and it was decided to head for Bolton Bridge by the flateasyest option possible. Steve P decided he’d have to just compromise instead, by staying in his highest gear all day – probably.
So the well-rid route up the Wharfe valley was rode via Kearby, Harewood bridge, Pool, Otley, Ilkley and Addingham. No stops, just relentless progress, accompanied by the sound of men at one with their machines. We noticed, by some miracle of luck, the expected, forecast “fierce headwind” hadn’t arrived and mild pleasant conditions failed to hinder us to our goal, until, we met the Bolton Road after leaving Addingham. Then the wind arrived, a squall! So while some sought their foul weather gear, the others made a lastfewmile dash for the tearooms. Where lunch was had.
Birthday boy ( you don’t look a day over fifty) Pete D, treated us to a celebratory hot drink and then there was banter. Banter about rhubarb and its triangle, about mushrooms – it’s been a good year apparently to find, identify and if your brave – eat. Banter about rats – rats in the attic, rats in the garden, rats in the toilet, cats, squirrels, labradoodles and lurchers? Nice.
After and now back on the road, all heading back down the other side of the river, we benefited from the threatened Gale force Westerly, right up our backsides. Steve P now prospered from that big gear, hitting the front and never looking back. Steve Ward had wind assisted “Strava” sections in his sights. Glenn used the full surface area of his tall frame to catch the wind, like a jib on a racing yacht. Pete smiled a lot ,youthfully and me and chairman Nick talked about trying a flight by parachute? Through the other side of Ilkley and on to Otley where Pete and Glynn left us by mutual agreement. The remaining four, avoiding the flooded Castley road and still being driven on by that increasingly strong wind, made it smoothly through to Kirby OB and back dryly on to Wheelertown, basking in some striking light conditions, as the low sun was diffused into broad rays by distant rains, perfect.

Isn’t cycling brilliant?

Thanks Nick, Pete D, Steve P, Steve W and Glynn.