Wetherby – Hoveringham, Sunday 13th August 2023, 80 miles

Destination: Hoveringham

Riders: Graham, Michael Brawley,Nick, Geoff,Bill, Steve W and Bob J

A good turnout for Sunday . I had modified the destination since the Thursday Ride had been to Helmsley although there wasn’t much overlap of personnel. The forecast looked good and deciding to go out via Sutton-on-the-Forest, the route around the NorthWest of York seemed to make sense. ( No Aldwark Bridge just now). Through Tockwith then, and the Rufforth cycle track leads to a busy bit on York ring road and A19 but turning off at Skelton it all gets more enjoyable. By the time we arrived at Sutton-o-t-F we reckoned it was coffee time and were not certain of its availability in Stillington so we called into the Café in Sutton Park. It’s a pleasant place and nice to sit in the sun and the coffee and cakes were good but we had to wait for ages to get them. Leaving there for Stillington we found the pop-up coffee van on Stillington Green was operating. I think this had been Bob’s first choice and since we had liked it on a previous ride, I paused to ask them about their opening times. They will be there every Sunday throughout the year except for 27 Aug (this year), so now we know. Incidentally, there is another small caff just as you leave Stillington in the house by the stream in case you are there on any day but Sunday. We seem to have found a lot of new cafés this year.

From here it went a bit haywire. Bill turned for home and a shorter ride, Bob Geoff and Steve W rode off the front and either forgot or didn’t see the left turn towards Stearsby. We never saw them again but had a phone call from them in Sheriff Hutton, by now well off our route so they went independent. A pity because the next few miles are nice roads. You don’t see much traffic on the road from Marton i-t-Forest to Stearsby and after that comes a moderate but rewarding climb on a very little-used road which the NYCC kindly decided to resurface a few years ago. As we enjoyed the views on the way up we commented on the recent passing ( at a good age ) of Federico Bahamontes, the first Spaniard to win the Tour de France, who had once bought an ice cream at a mountaintop to wait for the peloton to catch up. That doesn’t happen these days. Another quiet road to Gilling before turning along a flat valley to Stonegrave, so approaching Hovingham from the other side, as it were. At the Bakery we exchanged a few words with an ambulance driver who was patrolling the lanes looking for injured cyclists, so we were pleased not to make his day. He was glad to have the shift out there rather than York centre. We agreed .

The three of us then returned, crossing the river at B’Bridge rather than York for a final Café stop there. Thanks to Graham and Mike for the company. I was surprised to see that I had clocked up over 80- it didn’t seem that long.