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My first proper outing with the new bike set up felt good from the start.  There were twelve of us set off on a pretty undulating route round the country roads and into Northampton.  Once into the outskirts of the town we went through a confusing combination of cycle tracks that didn’t always follow the roads.  So much so that once we got going on them I had no idea where I was and probably couldn’t find my way around them again!

Delapre Abbey. Although the buildings are a li...

Delapre Abbey

We eventually emerged into a park very close to the centre of Northampton having been sheltered from the bulk of the traffic.  We drove up the entrance road through the park to Delapre Abbey which housed the cafe and we went through into the walled garden.  It was pleasantly warm in the garden in the sunshine and sheltered from the wind.  The usual array of cakes tea and coffee was on offer and we took our fill while enjoying some pleasant conversation.

We came back via Salcey Forest and some of the guys decided to stop for another coffee but it was too soon after the previous stop for me.  So myself and another rider decided to head straight back to Stony Stratford.  That turned out to be quite some ride.   It was pretty fast I can tell you and when I realised who the rider was I knew from the outset it was not going to be an easy ride.  You will see from the ride stats that we averaged around 19mph for that last 10 miles.  Given that all of that was into a head wind and pretty hilly as well that took some doing.  We did ‘bit and bit’ as I used to call it but is now more fashionably known as ‘through and off ‘ whereby you keep swapping the lead at regular intervals to get shelter from the rider in front and recover somewhat.

I really enjoyed the experience and it was a good workout and the new position probably helped.  Now I have to tell you that the other riders name was Sue.  She is a regular on the club rides and rides with the B group on Saturdays.  A very strong rider, much younger than me (but most people are !!) and she is always riding off the front of the bunch on club rides pushing a big gear.   She isn’t a big lady by any means and just sits there and pushes the pedals around and very good at climbing too!  Whenever she gets to the front of the group the pace increases!  I asked her when we got back if she ever did any competitive riding but she said no, she did try it but didn’t enjoy it!  I thought it was waste of talent.

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