Different Strokes

Aren't we lucky that our sport/hobby/pastime is one we can do in a group or on our own? Some unfocused musings...

Solo ride on the Lincolnshire Wolds

A bug swept through the Bailey household recently. I couldn't eat much and I didn't feel well enough to take part in the Standard Ride organised by our CTC member group a couple of weekends ago. Sometimes it's nice to have a potter about on your own and so that's what I did on my first ride over on the South Bank of the Humber on my recently restored Coventry Eagle Touristique.

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A high point on the Lincolnshire Wolds

I seem to gravitate towards Caistor when I ride in Lincolnshire. The cafe-cum-community centre that featured in Sarah Beeny's 'Village SOS' programme last year is a particular favourite of mine. What should have been a forty mile out-and-back from the Humber Bridge became a ride of nearly sixty miles. I suppose I lost track of time, put in a loop to take in some hills and went out the the west to take advantage of the southwesterly wind that had built up during the day. It was a bit selfish of me (in more ways than one – I had forgotten that I should have been home earlier to take my turn looking after James), but in my defence it is all too easy to drift away with your thoughts on the mostly quiet roads of Lincolnshire.

Normally I cycle in a group, but I did enjoy doing my own thing, and at my own pace on this ride. Apart from arriving home rather too late the only thing that spoiled the ride was a creaking noise – presumably from the left crank that I had perhaps overtightened (it had come loose on a ride the previous weekend). The slower than normal pace was more to do with my enfeebled state rather than my steel-framed bicycle.

While I was waiting for my cappuccino to cool at 28 Plough Hill in Caistor I shook the mouse on a PC I passed. One of the volunteers apologised that the Internet connection was down, but when I said I was just thinking about checking my emails she replied that it was not a bad thing to have a day off. Although this was the weekend and I try to switch off from being a stickler (see a review of Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder), I couldn't help noticing a bit of a howler on a banner perhaps ten feet tall that described the effect of a fire in seventeenth century Caistor. Something like "... in 1681 it's timber houses were destroyed". Its! Its! And breathe...

Group ride on the Yorkshire Wolds

The following Sunday's ride couldn't have been more different: North Yorkshire rather than Lincolnshire; surely the largest ever group of 'B' riders rather than my solo ride; and food stops that weren't to everyone's liking. Our planned destination was Sledmere, but we were there for 'lunch' within two hours by 11 o'clock. Nevertheless, I do like a hot meal, so I ordered beans on toast with two poached eggs (our leader had decided lunch would be at Thixendale, and they don't always do hot food). When my elevenses came the eggs were the smallest I had ever seen. Perhaps, this being a cafe in the grounds of Sledmere House stately home, they were plovers' eggs or something similarly exotic. I really don't know, but they were enjoyed anyway.

Lunch at Thixendale is a bit too close to Sledmere without a bit of a detour and our leader took us on a new road for me, and a hill that stretched out our group. (Apparently, he was nearly wiped out by the trailer of a tractor for his troubles.) I have this "use it or lost it" philosophy where rural food places are concerned. Less than an hour after leaving Sledmere the same four (of ten) settled down for cake and hot drinks in Thixendale's village hall. I don't think all of the other half dozen waiting outside appreciated the time they spent cooling down while we emptied our steaming pots of tea. Vive la différence, I suppose?

Thixendale climb

One of the six climbs out of Thixendale

We were joined at lunch by one more rider and all eleven of us rode out towards the Roman Road that leads to the A166 (see the second clip on Patrick's video for the descent of the same Thixendale road during another ride). Eleven riders is a lot for our 'B' group, whereas the 'C' group attracts more than twenty. (Incidentally, and on the theme of different strokes, this CTC ride had five carbon bikes, three aluminium, two steel and one titanium. As if that's not enough fascinating facts, all eight men wore helmets; none of the women did.) The age range was from mid-twenties to early seventies.

And finally...

I came across this group of cyclists on Saturday during what for me was the beginning of another solo ride. They had set off from Hull University and were heading for Newbald. While we were waiting at an earlier set of traffic lights one of their number, a second year student, told me that in 2011 there were five members of their cycling club. On Saturday's ride there were thirty. Tourers, racers, flat bar hybrids and mountain bikes. Different strokes for different folks...

Hull University Cycle Club?

Hull University cyclists at the railway crossing in Cottingham

2 comments on “Different Strokes”

  1. Hilary wrote:

    Different strokes

    Yes that's exactly what I like about cycling, there's so many different ways to do it. Alone, with friends, with a club, easy potter, hard thrash, out for the morning, out for the week, tiny saddlepack, big panniers, its all good!

    You would have got on with my dad. He used to join the '5 Items or Less' queue at the supermarket so that he could tell the bewildered checkout girl that it should be '5 Items or Fewer'! 😀

  2. Chris wrote:

    there's so many different ways to do it... hard thrash

    Yes, I've now been out with the fast lads of Cottingham Road Club a couple of times. I can just about keep up with them as they don't go very far:

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