Spring was in the air today and the mild forecast attracted a big turnout of over 20 for the club rides. The choice of kit being worn reflected the level of confidence that individuals had in the Met Office! Most had opted for the safe choice of bib longs, gilets and winter weight tops on the basis of “never cast a clout until May’s out!’ However one brave soul, with an optimistic view of life, was in full summer apparel of short-sleeved club top and bib shorts! Brrr.
The route was an old favourite best done in good weather: over High Side from Airton, through Settle and down to Austwick, then past Wharfe and onto Elaine’s Tearoom at Feizor. Return route was through Hellifield and Bell Busk to Gargrave.
8 set off in the faster group led by Jonathan with 13 in the main group to start with. Mercifully, I suppose, the “optimist” opted for the shorter 30 miler as the milder temps predicted didn’t really materialise. We were joined by a guest couple, Karen and Graham, for their first club ride. Perhaps the first of many!
The familiar herd of Highland cattle were waiting at the road junction on the way up over the high moorland road but sensibly steered clear of us as we stormed through at high speed! A “catch up” at the Ebor Gate cattle grid before the descent into Settle down High Hill Lane was a good photo opportunity and a chance for Kevan to join us. He had missed us at Airton.
After a comfort stop at 3 Peaks Cycles in Settle, we pushed on up the road past Knights Stainforth to Helwith Bridge. The next few miles provide a delightful stretch of road that twists and turns on the way down to Austwick. Unfortunately along here Geoff suffered a mechanical being unable to change gear along here necessitating calling at 3 Peaks Cycles and missing out on the lunch stop at Elaine’s.
As usual we all enjoyed welcoming and speedy service and platefuls of “healthy” eating! We caught up with faster riders here who were into a second course of cake when we arrived.
We set off back to Skipton with the fast descent of Buckhaw Brow, through Giggleswick and then along the Ribble valley to Rathmell and Wigglesworth before ascending Flat Lane (really?) to Hellifield. At this point Geoff joined up with us having had a temporary fix on his mechanical which gave him a single mid range gear to get him home. The usual thrash along to Bell Busk followed for those having their Strava PBs in mind.
A post ride coffee and cake at the Clubhouse ended a good day out.