Wetherby to Helmsley, Thursday 23rd February 2023, 79 miles

Sunshine but a fresh and moderate north-westerly breeze awaited the Wheelers as they assembled at the Shambles, those being Pete D, Sean, Nick, Steve W, Greg, Mike B, Geoff, Glyn and Steve P. Rumours surrounding Graham’s absence, including attendance at an undisclosed, intensive and high altitude training camp in preparation for Majorca proved unsubstantive.

Although badly missed the absence of the key Thursday rides Captain did not prove a problem due to the club’s wealth of navigational expertise….enter Greg with support from Steve W.

Greg’s first 2 planned routes proved abortive as cafes at both Amplethorpe and Sutton Bank Gliding Club both stated they were closed ( the club would like to believe they were, in fact, closed). Helmsley was finally selected as the lucky destination for WW.

North eastwards we travelled through Cattal, Whixley, Little Ouseburn, Alne and then Easingwold to take morning coffee. 2 birthday boys celebrated their oncoming pensionable status…Nick and Glyn.

Soon after the eerie and imperious Crayke Castle was looking down on us, still for sale at a snip for £3.5m. A nasty little climb up Brandsby hill followed and then Hovingham and Oswaldkirk before stopping for lunch at Helmsley. There we visited a newish cafe, for some of us….Barkers. We were looked after in a solemn but very professional and polite manner by the proprietor.

After lunch, the club faced, arguably, the biggest challenge of the day – a 2.4-mile climb out of Helmsley up High Street to Wass Bank. This seemed a grueller…526′ of climbing at a gradient of 4.6%, which took half an hour for some of us, and straight after lunch.

Byland Abbey, Husthwaite and Sessay were next on the journey….no more coffee stops, the Peleton were on a mission.

After Boroughbridge, and a short, but frank discussion on current male urination ‘best practice’, the thin red line powered back through the Ouseburns and Cattal.

Roundabout this time the dipping sun caused a chilling drop in temperatures to 5 degrees which was felt within the group.

Next Cowthorpe and finally, home safely to Wetherby with no mechanicals.

This was a ‘step up’ from recent rides as Spring approaches. It was a scenic route in fresh but sunny conditions…a hugely enjoyable (and challenging day for some !) and a well-captained, great team effort.

Steve P