It was an early start for most of us with Mick's group of 4 leaving the Clubroom at 5am and my group of 12 leaving Hartwell at 6:10. We passed Ian and Dinah readying their bikes just after Thurleigh, so stopped where it was safe to wait for them. We had also seen other groups of cyclists heading to the tour. 1 group recognised our jerseys and shouted 'Trevor Parrish'! So my group was now 14 plus ~6 'iRide' cyclists tagging onto the back, but their strategy soon became clear as they went past most (but not all!) of us on the 16% climb to Everton. Francis chased after them and caught their wheel as we left Everton, but didn't consider that they might go a different way to us, thus missed our left turn to Gamlingay. Predictable!
Our support vehicle (Tessa) caught up with us after Croydon. This was a well timed catch as a mile later Ian B's front tube went bang ripping a large gash in the tyre, so a quick wheel swap and
we were onto the byway in front of Wimpole Hall dodging the large horned bulls for a photo opportunity.
Then onto Barrington to find Mick's group which arrived 20mins before us plus Roddy who had driven there with Jane, Gill and Craig. To put all this into perspective, we had ridden 60miles before 9:30am!
Jonathan did a bike swap to the tandem so our support mechanic Tessa became rider.
Then onto Great Shelford, meeting Dave Stockley there (making a total of 24 club members), to arrive as the Caravan passed through. We grabbed a few freebies and performed a game of 'spot the local jersey'. It seemed others had the same idea of riding here: Baines, Corleys, Twenty3C & BMCC.
Whilst waiting for the 2 man breakaway, peloton and few stragglers, a teenage girl came along offering rice crispy cakes. A certain postman declined as didn't want to pay, but another club member asked for one and was told they were free. The postman had no shame and then asked for a free cake as well. Naughty!
We then went back to Barrington to drop off the drive-riders and for Jonathan to swap back to his road bike, then we rode together to the garden centre cafe at Langford. I received a comment that 98 miles was quite a long way for the first cafe stop (ignoring 2 visits to the Barrington shop) - fair comment!
Then my luck ran out. I discovered a half flat tyre as we were about to set off for home, so Mick's group set off whilst I changed my tube, then we had a TdF style peloton chasing the breakaway
scenario, finally catching them at Hanslope, some 30miles later.
It was a fantastic day out with great company, no rain and most of us completing our longest ever ride. What a way to do it - riding from home to watch a stage of the Tour de France, all in a day trip! Maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity?
Photos to come soon
For Sale, Thule roof rack - bars only - for Vauxhall Insignia - no cycle fittings - phone 07545 166248
No Nick this time so we struggled through without an agenda while he sat stuck on the M25.
Health Warning: The below does not replace the official minutes but highlights some things we talked about which may interest to members generally.
TOUR DE FRANCE IN YORKSHIRE: ACCOMMODATION JULY 4TH - 6TH
WOULD YOU LIKE TO COME AND WATCH STAGE 1, STAY IN A BEAUTIFUL DALES VILLAGE AND MAYBE CYCLE PART OF THE ROUTE?
OUR HOME IS IN HAWKSWICK, AN IDEAL LOCATION FOR THE PART OF THE ROUTE FROM GRASSINGTON OVER TO KETTLEWELL. COME FOR 2 OR 3 NIGHTS. AS WELL AS BREAKFAST WE CAN PROVIDE A PACKED LUNCH AND AN EVENING MEAL – AND ON SATURDAY 5TH JULY YOU ARE INVITED TO THE LITTONDALE GRAND DE-PARTY WHEN THE LOCAL VILLAGES ARE CELEBRATING THE EVENT.
WE HAVE 3 DOUBLE BEDROOMS AVAILABLE – OR IF THERE IS A LARGER GROUP THEN CAMPING IS ALSO AN OPTION.
COST PER NIGHT B & B: DOUBLE EN-SUITE £80 (one room); DOUBLE/TWIN ROOM WITH SHARED BATHROOM £70 (two rooms).
IF INTERESTED CONTACT JONATHAN & SONIA LAWES, THACKHOLME BARN, HAWKSWICK, SKIPTON, BD235QA, NORTH YORKSHIRE.
TELEPHONE: 01756 770404 e-mail: