14 riders set off from Squires, having formed up once the full day ride departed - Jude (leading), Martin E, Alan B, David Budd, Mike Walker, Mike V, Donald, David Roo, PJ, Tony B, Graham W, Mark Hopwood and Tim C, with Pete T on back marker duty. The short section between Squires and Sherburn was probably the worst surface of the whole ride, having been liberally coated with mud. Nobody came a cropper and a left turn took us towards the duck pond and onto Towton, where we headed towards Tadcaster and Wighill.
A left turn at Thorp Arch pointed us in the direction of Tockwith, having crossed the Wetherby road at Rudgate. A hop over the bridge at Cattal and onto Whixley, crossing the even busier A59. It was all going so well – until we got to a right turn at Little Ouseburn, which three riders went past, having missed the marker. Tony B alerted me on the approach to Aldwark Bridge so we stopped to form up and work out who we’d lost. Mike W and Tim had retraced the route but Martin had continued towards Boroughbridge – never mind, he’s the other half and knows where we’re going – let’s carry on! (Sorry Martin…)
On through the flowy bends towards Youlthorpe, then a left turn outside Alne pointed us towards Tholthorpe, Flawith and into Raskelf, arriving at the small but perfectly formed Sun Beck Café and Farm Shop… to be met by Martin, who’d engaged warp drive (and satnav) just outside Boroughbridge to beat us to it. A quick head count, a realisation that we hadn’t marked the entrance to the café and a short jog back down the track heralded the arrival of the last three riders. Result!
Suitably refreshed (and alert, thanks to the small but vocal dog) we headed back through Raskelf towards Easingwold, out the other side towards Stillington and a turn off towards Sheriff Hutton. There was very little traffic along this route, with all the tractors going in the opposite direction. Mike W headed back home at Sheriff Hutton and the rest of us rode up Bulmer Bank and on past Castle Howard. A right turn at Coneysthorpe and a left at Easthorpe treated us to a panoramic view of Ryedale as we dropped into Amotherby. We picked up a little traffic on the road towards Pickering but it turned off at Great Barugh, whilst we continued towards Little Barugh and Kirby Misperton, where the tops of the rides at Flamingoland were visible as we approached.
A long straight and a left turn onto (and then off) the Malton-Pickering road brought us to the NY500 café. Mike V had departed for Fimber, but the remaining riders stopped for more hot drinks and a wander around the small showroom. The Robin Reliant and Capris on show sparked tales of misspent youth from Graham and David R whilst I looked wistfully at the BMXs and Choppers, having received a shopper bike for Christmas ’83 instead…