"Don't do any U-turns" was the voice in my head as I was setting off to lead the Team 5 Full Day ride. Let's see how that went later...
The sun was out and, although perhaps not quite warm enough for full mesh riding gear, it was a beautiful day as nine of us headed out of Squires, following what I'd like to think was a relatively comprehensive pre-ride briefing. The initial group consisted of Pete T (introducing his lovely new Suzuki Versys 650 to its first Team 5 ride), Chris O, Jezz M, Alan B, Ian M, Phil S, Tony B and John C on back marker duties.
We headed to Wetherby via Tadcaster and Boston Spa and, after Ian M had peeled off, rode west to Lindley Wood reservoir and then up the long hill to spectacular views over the lower Dales and Menwith Hill. Next was Swinsty and then Fewston reservoirs before our first brief stop to stretch our legs and pay a visit - all within the regulation 90 mins as per the IAM RoadSmart Group Organised Rides Manual of Guidance (which avid readers can look at here
Tony B must have departed from our gang at some point, naturally pre-arranged with the back marker.
Last reservoir of the day was Thruscross before a hop over the top, past Dibble's Bridge and then down through Grassington and our second stop for another break at Kettlewell. The weather looked confused but by the time we set off the sun was strong and warm. As we rode up through Buckden and along Bishopdale the weather made up its mind and decided to turn cool and wet.
It was pretty misty after we reached West Witton and turned right up the steep hair pins and past the gallops through to Middleham. Some interestingly narrow back roads then took us along the route of part of the Wensleydale Railway before a late lunch at the Platform One Café at Bedale station.
The café was having its second birthday party and we were treated to some live music from an American country/folk singer along with a burger from the BBQ.
Jezz M left us at this point as the rest of us set off on our last leg over to the Visitor Centre at Sutton Bank.
The fateful “Road Closed” sign (putting fear into any ride leader and their sat nav) at Great Fencote meant a slight detour (please note NOT a U-turn) before we swung around the top of Northallerton and rode south aiming for Upsall. Unfortunately, whilst the satnav said straight ahead, the road sign said otherwise and, after a brief “let’s see if it really is a no through road” it turns out that it looked pretty impassable and so, yes, we made our first 180.
By now, lost and bewildered in the depths of the countryside, my sat nav sent us down another dead end before we reverted to Google Maps and the welcome sight of the A19.
We soon reached Boltby and, without encountering any unwanted sheep/lamb combinations on our trip, we finished up at the Visitor Centre before saying our goodbyes and heading home to watch Wales get beaten by Denmark in the Euros.
Thanks to all for joining the ride – looking forward to the next one!