Upgrading the Brampton Valley Way Cycle Path, part 2

At the end of CTC Northampton’s bike ride on Saturday morning Iain Dawson and I took the opportunity to look at and photograph the improvements to the Brampton Valley Way cycle path – this time where it goes under the Northampton-to-Rugby railway line (between King’s Heath and The Windhover).  I’ve written text and photos on the blog I maintain for CTC Northampton here:

Upgrading the Brampton Valley Way cycle path, part 2.

To whet your appetite, here’s a nice photograph of what I mean:

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Upgrading the Brampton Valley Way cycle path

I was out for a bike ride this morning and took the opportunity to look at and photograph the improvements to the Brampton Valley Way cycle path (where it crosses the A5099 near The Windhover).  I’ve written text and photos on the blog I maintain for CTC Northampton here:

Upgrading the Brampton Valley Way cycle path.

They don’t make rims like they used to!

Well, that’s not quite true.  This rim lasted 17 years of heavy braking usage on an off-road bike – until last Thursday.

First the bike: I bought this Saracen Tufftrax in 1995.  Not quite their top-of-the-range model but quite close to state-of-the-art!

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No, they didn’t have suspension systems as regular then.  And I still feel it’s one more thing to go wrong.  This bike has been all over the Peak District, the Lake District, Exmoor and the Brecon Beacons.

Then, last Thursday, descending to the Brampton Valley Way quite near my house, I put the brakes on and, afterwards, the bike didn’t seem to want to move.  Interesting!

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I understand now that one isn’t supposed to let rims achieve a concave profile!  I pushed the bike home and only then did air slowly escape from the tyre.  The lovely people at Pitsford Cycles (I used to teach the young mechanic) put me right!

Ride to New Year’s Lunch at Sibbertoft Village Reading Room

There!  I knew that headline would grab your attention!

Although I didn’t do much personal blogging of my bike rides in 2012, I did post almost 100 items into the blog I maintain for CTC Northampton.  Having written today at this sister blog, I’m thinking I would share my words and photos here!

I enjoyed a splendid first ride of the year with CTC Northampton.  Five of us met at the Brampton Valley Way in damp but mild conditions for a ride led by Bill.  Having wished each other a Happy New Year, we went at a brisk but comfortable past north on the A5199 to Creaton and then onto country lanes through Naseby and Clipston before joining the A508 just south of Great Oxendon.  We soon entered the Waterloo Farm café and met up with Max and our friends from CTC Kettering.

After refreshment – bacon sandwiches went down a treat – there were only five more miles to Sibbertoft where an excellent welcome awaited us not only from our CTC Leicestershire friends but also from the ladies of the parish church committee!  This was the annual New Year’s Lunch in the Sibbertoft Village Reading Room.

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This room was erected before the First World War by the local lady of the manor, Elizabeth Mansel of Sulby, in memory of her brothers who were officers in the HIghland Light Infantry and the Durham Light Infantry.  (Sulby Hall was demolished over sixty years ago but the name lives on for students of the English Civil War – the parliamentary dragoons hid behind Sulby Hedges at the start of the Battle of Naseby in 1644 to emerge at a crucial point in the battle.)

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Today her reading room was set out with tables for fifty cyclists to be served lunch by the ladies who are responsible for Sunday afternoon teas in the summer. Brilliant: shepherd’s pie, apple crumble and tea/coffee.  And seconds, too!

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After a lovely lunch, it was a pleasure to cycle home.  Bill led us via Naseby and Cottesbrooke to Brixwoth (and the A508 south to Northampton) but by different lanes so that we completed a figure of eight.  Route here.

And there was a final treat of the day.  At an extensive hedge being layed at the edge of the Cottesbrooke estate we stopped and John gave us an extempore lecture on the craft of hedge laying.  The hedge we studied was typical of the “South Midlands style” and was clearly “bullock-proof”.  We could easily see its advantages over an adjacent hedge which had merely been strimmed.

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Big thanks to Bill for sorting out our route, to Max for reminding us about the event, to the CTC Leicestershire committee for the organisation, and to the Sibbertoft parish ladies for their hospitality!  Splendid!!