Wetherby – Bolton Bridge, Thursday 9th February 2023, 67 miles

The period of high pressure continued today enabling the club to set out on a comparatively longer ride than of late…destination Bolton Bridge, but via Fewston. Present and correct were: Graham, Nick, Mike B, Michael, Pete D, Greg, Phil, Glynn, Tim and yours truly, Steve P.

Westerly we journeyed through Sicklinghall, Kirby Overblow then Burn Bridge, followed by customary hedge trimmings on the road which didn’t prove harmful.

The group were enjoying another cold, frost-free day but noticed growing blustery winds towards mid-Wharfedale.

After Norwood Lane and over the brow of the hill and down towards Bland Hill the Wheelers digested superb, panoramic views including the approaching reservoirs and Radomes of Menwith Hill to the right.

Shortly after Fewston Farm cafe provided a very welcome relief as everyone revelled in coffee to celebrate the “official” OAP status (albeit pensionless!) of yet another WW member, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Here the club were boosted by a final rider, Glyn.

Note for future visits: the cafe owner informed us that he leases the cafe from the farmer in the adjoining farm. The latter does not like cyclists leaning their bikes against the cafe outside tables (?).

Shortly after coffee, and mechanically problem free thus far, the Peleton climbed the steepest ascent of the day up to Weston Moor Road. As luck would have it Tim suffered an unlucky chain problem, despite it being brand new. A new cassette was later seen as the best solution (good luck Tim).

The Wheelers then waited and regrouped on an exposed Weston Moor Road in strong, blustery winds…..a far stronger gale than was forecast, see attached video and photo. Given this, a certain technical ability was required for the steep descent to Askwith.

Unscathed the club battled on against a swirling headwind all along the Wharfe to Bolton Bridge.

Sadly between Nesfield and Beamsley the club caught sight of a dead adult cow next to a fallen tree. Hats off to Mike B who quickly informed the nearby farm owner.

The Bolton Bridge cafe stop was much enjoyed, as always, before the return trip, in reverse, back to Otley.

A thank you to Graham from the Roundhay, Colton and Garforth contingent as the route then followed up Otley Chevin new road, through Bramhope, Eccup and, then, to Shadwell where all went their different ways home.

It was a tough challenging day with plenty of climbing and strong, swirling winds. But it was a hugely satisfying ride as the club battled manfully on as a team and individually, including 2 riders under the weather, namely Phil and Pete D.

Steve P