Club Run to Walcott on 27/12/2021 + Review of the year.

Only three Wheelers could make it for the last run of the year. Brian, Mark and Harvey set out from PC on a mild midwinter morning to ride to the Lighthouse Inn via Metton, Northrepps and Southrepps Halls, Trunch, Knapton, the back way to Bacton, Ridlington Street and Walcott Hall. As befits the midwinter festival season it was an unhurried refreshment break. Soon after setting out for home, the trio had a surprise encounter with a racing pig. This particular porcine athlete, apparently a member of the rare Monaleigh breed, beat the Wheelers for speed on the lane between Barrington rare breeds farm and The Rookery Special Needs Centre, where it turned into the car park. It is supposed that this creature lies in wait for unwary and overconfident cyclists before showing them a clean pair of trotters. Following this exciting episode the thickening mist turned to light rain, but a nice brisk tailwind assisted the group back to base by way of Ebridge mill, Spa Common, Little London, Swafield, Bradfield, Tops Hill, Hanworth and Bessingham to a parting of the ways at Gresham church.

Distances: 51 miles to 65 miles.

Review of 2021: After a start delayed until 10th April, there was a total of 38 weekend runs.

Most runs completed by a single rider: 37 // Highest average distance per run: 72.2 miles.

Twenty different riders put in an appearance, including Alan from Wellesbourne Wheelers (Warks). Malcolm moved down to St. Olave’s in early summer, but managed a couple of forays from his wetlands retreat to rendezvous with the bunch at Waxham Great Barn. Similar meetings are anticipated in 2022 and perhaps Wymondham is a practical proposition.

Despite a number of serious challenges this year, Brian managed to hold on to Number One position in the WC Boggs Trophy. This was due largely to completing more rides than almost anyone else.

With some of the more mature club run stalwarts beginning to ease off to varying degrees, it was good to see the main group replenished by the arrival of Neil S, Jim H, Neil Mc and Dan K.

Seventeen different refreshment venues were visited. Although we are definitely fortunate to have so many options for refuelling, three or four of the old favourite venues have become problematic on Saturdays.

Looking forward optimistically to 2022, I remain convinced that there is clear potential for a pacey vanguard group to make good use of our downloadable route files. This group could then head off up the road a bit without having to worry about the generally more mature rearguard group. Everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, but with a different rhythm.

Rather less optimistically – our routes follow lots of little lanes, demanding numerous decelerations and accelerations that undoubtedly reduce average speed while requiring at least as much effort, so is it not possible for techno fans to forget for a day Strava’s average moving speed and rely more on perceived effort? Whilst realising that this is vital to 21st century cycling culture, it also seems evident that a substantial number of strong riders are keen to ride in a dynamic group of a similar (obviously not the same) level of fitness (and motivation). The hope is that this can secure the future of NNW club runs. What’s the evidence? Even in this short year, it has been obvious that the following group and possibly others are looking for a pacey base training ride with a social dimension: – Andrew B, Ben, Dan, Duncan O, Mark, Neil Mc, Scott, Stuart W. Obviously this doesn’t exclude several others who might want to jump off up the road, but are also happy to drift back to the steady bunch when needed. Could it be time for some of the ‘mature club run stalwarts’ to get back up to Pretty Corner or Itteringham and Erpingham occasional pickup points?

None of this is meant to be exclusive, but it could guarantee a healthy future for the longer club runs.

Club Run to The Corner House Cafe Mundesley on 22nd December 2021

Four Wheelers met at Pretty Corner on a cold and frosty morning, with the temperature barley above freezing but no wind. The route to Mundsley (courtesy of Jane A) took us through West Beckham, Baconsthorpe, Plumstead, Itteringham, Ingworth, Banningham, Bradfield and Trunch. Good progress was made with fine views and a watery sun. However, in the last five miles John began to have problems with his break lever and then within a hundred yards of the café a puncture! However, he was able to walk the rest of the way and carry out a repair while we ordered for him. We all enjoyed a good lunch with plenty of hot drinks to warm us up. The route back took us along the coast to Trimingham and Sidestrand, where we turned inland to Northrepps and onto Crossdale Street where Graham left is for home. The remainder continued onto Gresham where John left us nursing his dodging break lever back to PC. Overall an excellent ride despite the cold weather.

PC to PC 42 miles

Average speed 14.2mph

Mark, Graham A, John S and Andrew B leading.

Club Run to Coltishall on 18/12/2021.

Six riders, including new man Dan, assembled in the fog for the run down to No. 77 Cafe in the Red Lion at Coltishall. The first leg was the very familiar direct route to Erpingham, on to Ingworth, down Drabblegate, some cyclo-cross at Dunkirk, the Burgh Hall Lane, the Skeyton Alps, The Goat, Scottow, Tunstead and Belaugh Green. There are less tables and chairs at this third incarnation of the Red Lion caff, but the Wheelers were accommodated in a cosy corner with a table, two benches and a couple of easy chairs. During the latter part of the morning a murky version of the golden globe in the sky made an appearance for about ninety seconds. Unfortunately Neil S chose to comment on this phenomenon, thereby guaranteeing that even thicker fog would descend in the afternoon. It was a fairly short ride back, via St. James, Hautbois, medieval Mayton bridge, where the lane was particularly busy (the reason for the heavy traffic was revealed a mile or so up the road, where we discovered the new Saturday afternoon sport of queuing at the Mayton Wood Recycling Centre). It was then a couple of unavoidable short stretches of main road before hitting the lanes through Hainford and Stratton Strawless to Buxton, Brampton, Tuttington, Banningham, Colby, Thwaite Common, Alby Hill, Sustead church and the run in to the split at Gresham church.

The roads were atrocious. One puncture (rear Gatorskin).

Group: Neil S; Neil Mc; Mark; Harvey; Dan K; Brian.

Distances: 51 miles to 66 miles.

Belated seasonal wishes to Neil Mc, who most of us didn’t see turn for home from north of Buxton.

Club Run to Norton’s Café, Walsingham 15/12/2021

Four riders met at PC for the run to the ever popular Norton’s Café at Walsingham. The weather was even better than forecast with sunny clear blue skies for the whole ride and mild temperatures boosted by the sun, ideal while waiting around at puncture stops, but more of those later!

Andrew B was the designated leader but had been struck down with a heavy cold, maybe due to the previous weeks ride in rain and wind and so missed the best day of winter so far. Mark took over the pathfinding role, with a conventional route out to Kelling and Salthouse Heath, then Cley Newgate, Glandford ford, Wiveton Downs, Saxlingham, Field Dalling, Binham, Copy’s Green, Gt Walsingham ford and a little loop to the West of Walsingham to join the Egmere Road back into Walsingham.

Norton’s was fairly busy on arrival but we got a table indoors fortunately and the food was good and filling. The beef stew is still excellent Kevin!

The route home started a little differently, going via the ford at Houghton St Giles, up to Gt Snoring, then Thursford Green, Gunthorpe, Brinton, Stody, Hunworth and up the hill to Edgefield. It was decided to save some time and a couple of miles by deviating off the planned route and going the traditional route back to Baconsthorpe, where Duncan headed back to Holt. Leaving three to climb the hill to Geoff’s Corner and then Red Barn Lane back to PC.

And now to John S and his punctures, two in fact, both in his rear Conti Gatorskin. The first cry of Puncture! came less than a couple of miles from Walsingham and despite John urging us to carry on, we decided to stay to offer moral support and plenty of free advice, none of which was taken! 

Puncture number two was as we turned onto Red Barn Lane, so again within a couple of miles of our destination. Once more John urged us to carry on, but it fell on deaf ears as we still had more advice to give as the sun began to set. Despite our best efforts, John was fixed and ready to go in no time (probably due to his earlier practice). Both punctures looked as if they had been caused by best Norfolk flint and were separate punctures. Better luck next week John.

Excellent weather and good company made for an enjoyable winter ride.

PC to PC was 43 miles with an average of 13.7mph and 1800 ft/549m of climbing.

John S, Duncan, Graham A and Mark

Club Run to Walsingham on 11/12/2021.

There were five takers for the weekend club run to The Victorious at Little Walsingham. There was some early black ice, but this cleared by about 9.45. This relatively short ride went by way of West Beckham, Bodham, Salthouse Heath, up the Downs, a southerly detour to Langham, across the common to Cockthorpe, Binham, the Hindringham by-road, Copy’s Green and the Great Walsingham ford. The fare at the cafe consisted of a choice between thick pumpkin soup and doorstep sandwiches. The even shorter post-prandial route climbed to Great Snoring, over to Hindringham and the succession of villages that trip of North Norfolk Wheelers’ tongues (Bale, Sharrington, Brinton, Stody, Briston and Baconsthorpe), over Bodham Hill and a final loop via Upper Sheringham and Cranfield Road. A short club run that enabled everyone to get home before the earliest sunset of the winter.

Group: Brian; Harvey; Jim; Mark; Neil Mc.

Distances: 47 miles to 64 miles.

One puncture: Rear 28 mm Marathon Plus! An iron hard thorn that had worked through thick layers of butyl and kevlar. The culprit was so firmly embedded in these inflexible layers that it defied efforts to push it it through with both sewing machine screwdriver and camping tin opener. It finally succumbed to a small bent rusty nail that Brian found and has added to his comprehensive collection of tools.

Addendum 12/12/21: – (From Cycling UK Forum). “One thing I have found with thorn punctures with the Marathon Plus is that when you get a thorn in that causes a puncture it can be really difficult to remove the thorn and I’ve ended up having to replace a tyre as a thorn broke and a bit remained in the tyre.”

Club Run to The Rising Sun, Coltishall on 8th December 2021

A strong South Westerly and light rain greeted today’s two Wheelers at PC for what was a tough 20 mile run down to Coltishall. Despite the route heading in a general SE direction, the wind was relentless and on the odd occasion when the road briefly headed SW, it almost stopped us in our tracks. So the route via Bessingham, Wickmere, Ingworth, Aylsham, Lamas to Coltishall, seemed further than the 20 miles.

The Rising Sun was a welcome stop, with the wood fired pizza oven helping to dry us out and good food including Christmas pud, to fuel us for the next longer leg home.  As we left, the rain had stopped and we were looking forward to the wind on our backs as we headed past Tunstead Church, Worstead, Briggate, skirted around North Walsham to Swafield, Thorpe Market, Hanworth, Gresham to our split at Red Barn Lane.

The unluckiest Wheeler of the day award goes to Malcolm, who had set off to meet us at Coltishall but a combination of a freak gust of wind and a road full of leaf mulch resulted in a crash as he headed towards the Reedham ferry. Bike and rider ended up battered and bruised but fortunately nothing broken, though Malcolm did have to saw off the damaged end of his handlebars when he got home. Think of the weight savings Malcolm, it was not all in vain!

All in all a tough day out with plenty of bike cleaning required once home.

PC to PC was 46 miles with an average of 14mph

Club Run to Walcott on 4/12/2021.

The early morning rain gave way to clearing skies before six Wheelers left Pretty Corner in a stiff and rising westerly tailwind. Unsurprisingly there were a lot of filthy and flooded lanes en route to the comfortable and welcoming Lighthouse Inn, by way of Hanworth Timber, Suffield church, Bradfield church, White Horse Common, Crostwight Heath, Hill 60 and Ostend. After a warming break the bunch pushed back into the westerly via Witton Bridge, Edingthorpe, Dead Man’s Grave, Knapton, Trunch, Gimingham, Hungry Hill, Northrepps, Sally Bean’s and Metton to the main split at Gresham church.

Conditions: More sun than anticipated and a strong cold west wind. The last straggler on the road caught some late afternoon rain when pushing into the rising wind over the last seven miles.

Group: Brian; Graham A; Harvey; Mark; Neil Mc; Neil S.

Distances: 54 miles to 68 miles.

Club Run to The Crown at Banningham on 1st December 2021

Two hardy (or foolish!) Wheelers met at Pretty Corner on a cold and windy morning with a forecast of heavy rain later in the day. The route to Banningham took us Gresham, Sustead, Felbrigg, Northrepps, Southrepps, Gimingham, Trunch, Antingham and Felmingham. This took us down some new lanes including a short footpath! On arrival at the pub we realised that it was packed with the first of the Christmas lunches, so it was drinks and snacks for lunch. The manager informed us that they had just been accredited for cyclists and now have a store for clothing and the bike racks have CTV surveillance, which is very encouraging. On leaving the pub we realised that the forecast rain and high winds had arrived. The route back was therefore curtailed somewhat taking us via. Ingworth, Itteringham, Plumstead and Baconsthorpe, were we spilt up to make our separate ways home. Overall a decent ride which seemed longer with the rain and wind.

PC to PC 40 miles

Mark and Andrew B and leading.