This ride was a favourite of the late Stuart Marston, and today was a planned memorial ride in his memory. Stuart was an active member of T5 and a lovely guy. He will be missed.
The weather was bright and dry, but cold around 3ºc. The odd ice warning can't deter T5 riders though- we scoff at such things!
Pete Tidball would lead us for the day and Nigel Turton kindly volunteered to be back marker for the ride. 2 new members to T5, Nando and Garry, joined us for their first T5 ride. Congratulations on making the grade guys! 8 riders, including myself, braved the chilly weather for Stuart's ride.
We turned right out of HQ to Lotherton, Aberford, Bramham, Tadcaster, then left at Wighill. Then the right at Thorpe Arch on towards Cattle. Right at the bridge, and on over the A59 through Whixley. All familiar roads, the group making good progress with no dramas. Many junctions, which did not need to be marked, as the group were staying together nicely. Eventually, we crossed the old, rickety bridge at Aldwalk. The bridge is 236 years old! I think the cheery, old guy, who waves us on every time, is the same age. Still, he is there come rain or shine, and bikes cross for free… We like bridge man!
Over the bridge, and through those lovely twisties, dry for the most part. Then onto the village of Alne, where we happened upon a recovery vehicle blocking the whole road. 2 vehicles were being recovered, that had been playing dodgems. I was second man at this point and I could see from Pete's body language that he was thinking about the best way to negotiate this unexpected obstacle. Luckily, a kind villager from the group that had gathered to watch this spectacle explained to Pete that if we did a U-turn ( WHAT!) we could turn right, right, left and right and so on to avoid the whole affair. ''Sod that!'' said Pete, 'There'll be no U-turn today young fella mi lad!'' (He talks like that you know...) ''Not while there's a perfectly good pavement to ride down!'' So we did just that… in an advanced manor you understand.
Paul would have been proud.
We arrived at our T & P stop- The Bakery Cafe in Easingwold- ready for a welcome brew.
Refreshed, and onwards for the brilliant second half. Leaving Easingwold through the market place, who knew? Headed towards Crayke, then Hovingham, snaking our way across the Howardian hills towards Terrington and Coneythorpe. We rode through forest plantations on some fine, twisty, roller coaster roads, with the trees still in autumn colours. It was an excellent ride, with the bonus of a feast for the eyes. Eventually, we hit Malton… and a world of traffic. At the busy junction, on the railway crossing, it was really congested and no one was giving way to us. Cue Tim Andrews- master marshal- who did an excellent job of stopping the traffic. Nice move Tim! As a result, we were all out of the junction as a group and on our way again. On to the lovely B1248, turning right near Wharram-le-Street, and winding our way to Buttercrambe. All excellent roads. A brief stop in the village of Spittal, as we came across another road closure. This time, due to tree cutting. We crossed the A166, on to and through Pocklington. Over the A1079, and to our destination at Allerthorpe lakes for dinner.
Here's the route:
A brilliant ride, well led by Pete. Thanks to Nigel for back marker duties. A fine tribute to the late Stuart Marston. RIP Stuart.