Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Sunday Ride to Ilkley

2 or 3 Weeks ago I had asked on that social media site whether anybody was up for a 50 mile ride and that if they were, they could meet me outside the Toyshop at 10.30 on Sunday. Well, I was literally inundated with no riders wishing to join me so I did a different ride instead, occasionally stopping to wipe the tears from my eyes.

This week the suggestion went down rather more favourably and at the allotted time there were very nearly enough riders present to form our own netball team. Holly, Sarah, Tom, Martin, Vick and I. The ride I had planned would take us to Ilkley via Bingley, and back to Town via Oakworth. The forecast for the day was pretty good and so most of us were out in our summer best.
We Missed You, Paul Cre

We headed to Stump Cross and then the scenic way to Queensbury, then Thornton, Allerton and Wilsden. As we were climbing out of Bingley, on Heights Lane, we noticed an unfortunate layer of greyish clouds coming from the west and with it a cool wind and the odd smattering of rain. Thankfully Martin 'Michael Fish' Gargett assured us it was merely precipitation, not rain and that all he could see was blue sky. We turned right at the T Junction onto Otley Road, which I had presumed from the OS map would be a quiet and quite lovely little B-road; unfortunately it was somewhat infected with Sunday drivers and we were soon leading a long line of motorists all the way to The Cow and Calf, where we waved them goodbye as we left it a little late to turn off into the Cow and Calf Café.

The food in the café was agreeable enough and they didn't charge as much as one would expect with a captive audience like this, which was nice. The only problem was the temperature and the wind, which meant we didn't feel like lingering too long out in the marquee, despite the blankets on offer.
Glamorous Models of the Café Blankets, note the Baked Bean Juice highlights

After a quick lunch we descended into Ilkley, where it was necessary to join the A65 for a short while before turning left  onto the fabulously named 'Cocking Lane' which meandered its way to Silsden, where we joined Skipton Lane to Cross Hills. Just shy of the A629 roundabout we had to wait briefly for a rotary bridge to be spun back into position so that we could pass over the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Ta Sarah for this

We were faced with a fun and long climb out of Sutton and then headed towards Oakworth, descending further to the foot of the valley, crossing the Worth Valley Railway track and then finally making our last significant climb of the day, culminating in the Dog and Gun climb. From there it was A629 to the Victorian Beer Café, only stopping briefly as Martin decided to have a puncture in Ovenden. Twas lots of fun and a nice relaxed atmosphere, though it was a bit cold and windy. Will have to do again in the near future.
Top Pumper Martin Gargett

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