Club Run to Waxham on 23/10/2021.

Seven departed from Pretty Corner for a brisk run down to the Dunes Cafe at Waxham Great Barn. After a short delay for a ‘phone call, the bunch went by way of Gresham, Erpingham, the familiar lanes to Swanton Hill, Worstead and Honing, over East Ruston and Brumstead Commons, the back way to the recently renovated Ingham Swan, Calthorpe Fen and the final push down the coast to Waxham, where the Wheelers were joined by Malcolm, who had ridden up from his hideaway in the southern Broads. The conversation over the refuelling break turned to the best way to heat the home. Malcolm stuck with the group as far as Hickling before continuing south via Ludham and the Reedham ferry. The Wheelers turned off for Sutton to connect into the little lanes leading up to Lessingham, Happisburgh Common, Hill 60, the secret way into Ridlington and past Hoole House, before finishing off on a ‘traditional’ NNW route through Trunch and Thorpe Market for Hanworth, Gresham and the split.

Group: Brian; Graham A; Graham J; Harvey; Jim; Mark; Neil S + Malcolm.

Distances: 64 miles to 85 miles (Jim H as a part of the stamina building phase in his marathon training regime).

One puncture – (front Conti, just south of Sea Palling).

Club Run to Gressenhall on 16/10/2021.

Alan from south Warwickshire club, Wellesbourne Wheelers (93 members), joined five North Norfolk Wheelers for the run down to the Mardlers’ Rest cafe. It was a relatively short outward route, travelling by way of Bodham Hill, Up Wood, Plumstead, Saxthorpe, Salle, Reepham, Blackwater, Sparham, Bylaugh, Robertson Barracks and Hoe. The conversation at the break turned to the relative merits of Kalas and Gear Club clothing. For the second week running Brian snaffled the last jacket potato. It was a gloriously sunny, warm and tailwind-assisted afternoon for the return leg via East Bilney, Brisley, Great Heath, North Elmham, Billingford, Foxley, Themelthorpe, Guestwick, Odessa, Wood Dalling, Heydon Park (where Neil S thought he was in paradise), Oulton, Itteringham and the very familiar last eight miles back to Sheringham.

Bunch: – Neil S; Neil Mc; Mark; Harvey; Brian; Alan R.

Distances: – 59 miles to 75 miles.

Club Run to Mundesley on 9/10/2021.

It must be something about mellow autumnal days, but today’s run attracted eleven Wheelers, several of whom are themselves mellow and autumnal. Today’s turnout included new man, Neil, who has recently moved up from Cambridge. The relative proximity of Mundesley offered an opportunity to follow a devious route, travelling by way of Lower Gresham, Sustead, Thurgarton, Erpingham, Colby school, Hylton Crossways, Skeyton Goat, Scottow, Frankfort, Dilham, Honing, Edingthorpe and Paston to the Corner House Cafe. It was noted in passing that the Jonet Cafe has reopened. The Corner House staff dealt admirably with the large influx, pulling together a couple of tables and dealing efficiently with eleven orders. The way back climbed up to Trunch and Knapton, crossing the outward route to Dead Man’s Grave, Pigney’s Wood and the little lane to Swafield, swinging back north and west via Bradfield, Southrepps Hall, Northrepps, Sally Bean’s, Mill Road and Metton to splits in the bunch at Gresham church and Red Barn Lane.

Bunch:- Andrew B; Brian; Graham A; Harvey; Jim; Mark; Neil Mc; Neil S: Ben; David; Scott.

Distances (for those starting at PC): 53 miles to 77 miles.

With a decent sized bunch out today, it was again evident that sensible use of downloadable route files makes it feasible to accommodate a wide range of weekend Wheelers, from the steady touring element right through to those who like to push on a bit. Even if only three riders load the route to Garmin and another who knows the route keeps an eye on the rearguard, then everyone can follow the same route, but at variable pace.

Club Run to East Rudham on 2/10/2021.

Alternative options were offered to try to avoid the worst of the approaching weather, but, in the event, the four Wheelers who met at Pretty Corner opted for the original plan to ride to Jane’s at East Rudham. So Brian, Mark, Jim and Harvey set out in overcast conditions and a rising south easterly by way of Salthouse Heath, Wiveton, Letheringsett, Thornage, Sharrington, Bale, Hindringham, Great Snoring, Thorpland Hall, Fakenham Town, Dunton and Broomsthorpe to the pleasantly located cafe on the village green at Rudham. The forecast rain started at 12.55 while we were in the cafe. The direction of travel of both the weather front and the riders dictated that persistent precipitation pursued the bunch all the way home. The return route took in the Raynhams, Colkirk, Ryburgh, Stibbard, Fulmodeston, Hindolveston (where Jim turned for home in Melton), Craymere, Briston and the frequently ridden roads back towards Bodham Hill and West Beckham.

Distances: 65 miles to 76 miles.

On a more general (and optimistic?) note, perhaps circulated route files ARE the answer to the club run problem of trying to accommodate different levels of fitness, an ageing group and newer, Strava-driven members, who can maintain the longer-term vitality of this element of NNW activity. Obviously this would require more people making a bit of an effort to utilise this facility, which doesn’t necessarily require loading to Garmin. It has already been shown this year that these route files do give more freedom to club run participants.

Club Run to Lyng on 25/9/2021

Generally the cafe at Lyng Stores is too small to cater for a weekend club run as well as the locals out for their Saturday treat, so hitherto we have used it only on wet winter Saturdays when only 1,2 or 3 riders were out. However, with at least seven of the regular bunch committed elsewhere, an elite trio of Wheelers took the opportunity to enjoy good food and drink at what certain North Norfolk Wheelers like to refer to as “reasonable prices”. It is also worth noting that Lyng Stores has recently installed several more outside tables and chairs.

Today’s route was a little shorter than normal, travelling directly to Cawston, then Haveringland church, Swannington, Attlebridge, the marl pit climb, the long scenic descent to Ringland, Weston Green, Collin Green and the steep descent of Cadder’s Hill to the cafe. After the break it was follow the Wensum by way of Fustyweed and Bylaugh before climbing over the ridge to Billingford and home via Foulsham, Odessa, Wood Dalling, detouring round the back of Briston past Rookery Farm and Growle Abbey to a conventional last few miles through Baconsthorpe to Bodham Hill and Red Barn Lane.

Mark, Graham J and Harvey enjoyed good autumnal weather for a brisk run out.

Distances: 59 miles to 75 miles.

Club Run to the Norton Centre on 18/9/2021.

Andrew B, Ben, Geoff, Harvey, Mark and Neil rode the run to Walsingham on a lovely late summer’s day with warm sun and a fresh south easterly. It was pretty much straight out west parallel to the coast as far as North Creake in the morning, before climbing back over to Walsingham for the refreshment break in the courtyard of the Norton. There were some testing little climbs on the way back too, including the lumpy bits through the Barshams and over to the Snorings, then over the airfield to Thursford, through the hole in the hedge (HitH) to Barney, into the wind down to Stibbard, finally working back round to pick up a lot of tailwind by way of Nethergate, Craymere, Briston, the Pond Hills undulations, Hempstead and Baconsthorpe.

Geoff managed to survive an unprovoked attack by a chicken on the light railway bridge at Wighton.

Distances: 63 miles to 80 miles.

Observation (over a period of time): – as things stand, and being realistic, the regular bunch is becoming less and less capable of completing Saturday’s 60 odd milers at a decent pace and still being back in Sheringham at a reasonable time. One of the objectives of advertised club runs has always been to attract new members to NNW. Inevitably some of the old stalwarts pass on for various reasons and some are replaced by new people. However, much more significant numbers of people make enquiries, turn up for a couple of weeks and then vanish without trace. Why? Obviously because they don’t like what is on offer. It might be sensible to re-badge what is currently on offer. This could be along the lines of fit and very fit veterans group (VC Vetus Velox), but all ages welcome and downloadable route files available for those who want to push on a bit. A veterans group would also be less tied to Saturdays and the evidently increasing problems with cafes at weekends. Friday might prove to be a better option, although a couple of the younger members (Ben and Scott?) might justifiably protest. Given the size of the Strava group on the NNW website, it always seems surprising that there is no demand for a younger, more dynamic Strava–driven group, more suitable to 21st century cycling boomers.

Club Run to Frettenham on 11/9/2021.

Six North Norfolk Wheelers met at Pretty Corner for this week’s run to the Rose and Crown at Frettenham, which is a leading contender for the most comfortable refreshment break venue. Today was a good opportunity to combine a lot of familiar and less familiar lanes in unfamiliar fashion. It was fairly conventional to Briston and Craymere, but then deviating to Burnthouse and Thurning, clipping through the edge of Reepham before turning east through Booton, along Allison Street to Brampton and Buxton, then south to Little Hautbois and south west over medieval Mayton bridge and the narrow lanes into Frettenham. The fare was any combination of sausage roll with Bakewell Tart, chocolate cake or fruit scone, although, to be fair, the sausage rolls came in four different varieties. After a fairly short, but comfortable break, it was a more easterly route back to the north coast, by way of Heggatt Hall, Coltishall, Belaugh Green, Tunstead church, Sloley, the Norfolk dual carriageway, Swanton Hill, Skeyton Corner, Felmingham, Colby, Thwaite Common, Alby Hill, Bessingham and a split at Gresham. The group managed to avoid various stormy looking cloud formations, which deposited a lot of water in the Thwaite and Aldborough area, while enjoying the bonus of quite a lot of unexpected sunshine in the final miles.

Group: Ben; Graham A; Graham J; Geoff; Harvey; Neil.

Distances: 66 miles to 79 miles.

One chute – Graham J (unavoidable emergency change of direction on gritty Church Lane, Frettenham – bruised left forearm).

Club Run to Mattishall on 4/9/2021

With Brian unfortunately stricken with CFS, Graham riding audax in South Norfolk and Suffolk and various others either working or injured, it was assumed that today’s bunch would be a small one for the run down to Tabnabs. In the event however, eight riders met at Pretty Corner, including Andrew B, who had decided that today was as good a day as any to sample a weekend club run. The situation was complicated further when it transpired that Ben, Matty and Neil had to be back early, so eventually it was a bunch of five who made it to the refreshment stop. The biggest shock of the day was caused by the golden orb in the sky putting in several appearances. For a number of reasons, the group of eight and then five became split even more than usual today. The south bound route took in Corpusty, Themelthorpe, Foxley, Elsing, Dereham Town FC, Clint Green and Brakefield Green. The food at Tabnabs is still the best, but has become much more difficult to acquire than in former days. The return leg was more direct, travelling by way of North Tuddenham, Peaseland Green, Primrose Green, Collin Green, Attlebridge, Swannington Upgate and points north to Cawston, Itteringham, Bodham Hill and West Beckham, although with a few small detours thrown in for variety.

Bunch: Mark; Harvey; Graham J; Geoff; Andrew B to the cafe. Neil; Matty; Ben on a shorter day out.

Distances: 62 miles to 75 miles.

One puncture: – rear Michelin Pro 4 (tiny sliver of flint).

Club Run to Waxham Dunes Cafe on 28/8/2021

Five departed from Pretty Corner on a persistently showery morning with a strong north easterly wind, in keeping with summer 2021. However, Geoff suffered his second puncture in the rain after only seven miles, so decided to give it best. Four Wheelers followed a fairly conventional route via Swanton Abbott and Worstead to East Ruston before picking up the lanes over Brumstead Common and Calthorpe Fen to Sea Palling and the busy cafe, where Malcolm was awaiting us after his ride up from St Olave’s via Yarmouth harbour. After bidding farewell to the newly-domiciled Broadlander, the bunch headed home on what was now a bright and breezy afternoon through Hickling and into a series of narrow lanes to Sutton mill, Lessingham Star, Happisburgh Common, Hill 60, Crostwight Heath, Dead Man’s Grave, Trunch, Southrepps, Northrepps and Metton to a three way split at Gresham church.

At Felbrigg Woods, Big Ben’s van was spotted parked mysteriously in a layby. The mystery was solved however when the missing Sheringham mile-eater was caught at Bodham Hill into the last ten miles of his post-rain 100 miler.

Neil, Mark, Harvey and Brian completed the club run. Geoff, Malcolm, Ben and Mike P were encountered at various stages during the day.

Distances: 67 miles to 77 miles.

Two punctures.

One jack snipe (Calthorpe Fen).

PS – Geoff put in 59 miles via Reepham station cafe.

Club Run to East Rudham on 21/8/2021

Prior commitments (inc Tour de Broads), injuries and, possibly, poor weather forecasts kept the numbers down for the re-arranged ride out to Jane’s on the village green at East Rudham. Three Wheelers were joined by Beach Runners’ marathon man Jim H on a route that went by way of Baconsthorpe, Briston, Craymere, Hindolveston, Stibbard, Ryburgh, Colkirk, the Raynhams and Rudham Grange to a fairly quiet cafe, where the service was once again first class. The objective on the homeward leg was to keep ahead of an advancing band of rain, which produced only light showers anyway. This was a more northerly route, threading through the quiet lanes via Broomsthorpe, two of the Wensum watermills, two of the Barshams, both Walsinghams, Hindringham, Bale and the familiar villages to Briston, Edgefield, Bodham Hill and the parting of the ways at the south end of Red Barn Lane. This was not the end of the day’s action however. On the final lone miles back to base, one rider was accosted aggressively at Selbrigg by a cocaine-fuelled loon, who was in the middle of the road trying to spark up his rollup. He looked as though he was still on the way back from a trip to Wembley on 11th July.

Bunch: Brian; Mark; Jim H; Harvey.

Distances: 60 miles to 77 miles.