Wetherby – Allerthorpe Lake, Thursday 16 March 2023, 74 miles

Despite the prospect of rain and a southerly wind, surprisingly ten stalwarts met at The Shambles at 9.30am as keen as ever.  I’m not sure whether the strong turnout was due to the planned flat route across the wind, the chance of temperatures reaching the dizzy heights of 13 degrees or for several, the realisation that the Majorca cycling trip is only about four weeks away and we need more miles in our legs…….   However,  our ride leader Graham B was joined by Mike B, Tim L, Glyn F, Michael B, Greg C, Dennis M, Pete D, Steve W and me, Phil W.

We left Wetherby as the rain started, heading East along Walton Road, but turning right along Wood Lane to Thorpe Arch and on to Boston Spa. Several riders donned their waterproofs which sometimes triggers fate to stop the rain, which thankfully it did during the course of the next 10-15 miles. We proceeded through Clifford, up the bank in Bramham and along Toulston Lane, through Stutton and on to the south of Tadcaster. Turning right at the T junction, we followed the Towton Road before turning left towards Ulleskelf and the flood plain of the River Wharfe to Cawood, where the Wharfe joins the River Ouse. Over the Cawood bridge and along the Ouse route, many fields were flooded as we went through Stillington and stopped at the Locks cafe in Naburn, a vegetarian cafe that we had been meaning to try. We sat in the old building which had been a banqueting hall, Glyn F treated us all to teas or coffees and was rewarded by selecting a slice of chocolate cake, adorned with black cherries and he announced that it was the ‘best he had ever had’. I for one don’t underestimate statements like that from Glyn, during our cafe stops he often opts for a type of chocolate cake so as he’s an expert, it must have been pretty good. Suffice to say, we’ll go again.

We left the cafe heading towards Naburn village, but turning right towards Escrick, left to Wheldrake, through Elvington, into Allerthorpe Woods and Thornton before arriving at the Allerthorpe Lakes Caravan and lodge site, where we stopped at their cafe facility for an excellent lunch break.

Refreshed we left Allerthorpe, through Melbourne, Sutton upon Derwent and retraced our route through Elvington, then to Crockey Hill, touching on the ‘Solar System’ cycle track at Bishopthorpe, then on to Acaster Malbis and Copmanthorpe and over the A64.  The final leg brought us through the familiar villages of Askham Bryan, Askham Richard, Healaugh, Wighill and stopping at Walton.  At this point Dennis headed off towards Knaresborough, Pete, Michael, Greg and Mike towards Leeds via Boston Spa and the remainder continued directly to Wetherby.  Despite the ride being circa 74 miles, Steve W was keen to add a few more solo miles before heading home.

Today’s was another very enjoyable ride, the company was good, the weather was kind and the impact of the southerly wind was controlled by Graham’s chosen route.

Phil Webb