Sunday Club Run 9th May 2021

To the Lighthouse:

Mark, Graham J, Neil S, Brian and Harvey formed the group for the Sunday run, starting from Gresham church in some overdue warm weather, with a strong southerly moving SSW. This was very much an impromptu event, following a lot of lanes via Sustead, Hanworth, Thorpe Market, Gunton station, Trunch, Dead Man’s Grave, Edingthorpe Green, Bacton Woods, Ridlington and Happisburgh to Smallsticks Café at Cart Gap, where the bunch spent a short while gawping at the large crowds before pushing on up the coast by way of Ostend to the Lighthouse Inn to the south of Walcott. The beer garden was very busy, but there were lots of tables served by an army of staff.

From the break it was straight inland to Witton then a loop south to Honing and Dilham, before picking up more favourable winds by way of Worstead, Westwick, Swanton Abbott, Skeyton, Tuttington, Banningham, Ingworth, Erpingham, Aldborough, Bessingham and back to Gresham church for the split.

Distances: 60 miles to 67 miles.

A lot has been said recently (by me) about trying to revitalise the club runs as a lot of the older cohort continues to ‘mature’. A lot of people like operating with the downloadable route files, which enable realistic splits into two fairly loose and flexible groups. I am now convinced that there is potential for up to a dozen in the Strava-driven group and half a dozen or more in a more laid back bunch – (I haven’t included myself in either of these groups). Not everyone is available every week of course, but even if 60% turn out these are functioning groups, riding the same route to the same destination. This is also complicated a bit by the inevitability of some riders’ uncertainty as to whether they prefer the van or the rear in any given week. These are not ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ groups and frustrated Strava followers need to accept that riding the network of lanes won’t produce the same data as banging up and down the B1145, B1110 etc etc.

Anyone who feels that this is all rather complicated compared to some imagined halcyon days of NNW club runs 20, 15, 10 years ago needs to sit down with paper and pencil and compile a list of who they were riding with then and consider where all those people are now or what age they now are.

Club Run to The Three Swallows, Cley on 5th May 2021

This was Andrew’s first ride a Run Captain going solo without Malcolm there for guidance. It was good to see Jane A joining us again after a long break.

The route took us west against a fairly strong wind, through Lower Bodam, Hempstead to up a steep but picturesque lane to Edgefield where we crossed the main Norwich road. We then continued onto Huntsworth, Briston and Sharington, then crossing the main A148 when there was a sufficient gap in the holiday traffic! Jane decided to continue to the pub on her own at this point and the rest of the group took a slightly longer route via. Bale, Hindringham, Binham, Langham and Wiveton. On arrival at the pub, Jane had found a good table at the top of the garden sheltered from the wind and we all enjoyed a good lunch, mostly in the sun.

After lunch Jane decided to head home to Blakeney the remainder of us headed back to PC. The route took us to Kelling via. Long Lane with great views of the sea, and then up to High Kelling where Duncan left us to make his way back home to Holt. Retracing our steps shortly to Hempstead and the to Baconsthorpe, after some confusion caused by navigational errors by the leader. From there we made our way to North Barningham where Graham and Robert left us to make their own way. Andrew and Mark continued to the Red Barn Lane, where we spilt up to make our separate ways home.

Estimated distance PC to PC was 38 miles.

Duncan, Robert, Graham, Mark and Jane, led by Andrew B.

Small Bunch to East Rudham on 1/5/2021

For various reasons not many were expected today and that’s how it turned out. A bunch of four rode a long south westerly loop down to Jane’s on the village green at East Rudham, where we had booked a patio table sheltered from the worst of the persistent northerly winds. As the inside seating capacity at Jane’s is very limited, it is a few years since we have visited this venue. However, there are now several picnic tables set out on the village green, so weekend numbers can be accommodated comfortably if the weather is co-operative. A run down in summer by a different route seems very much on the cards.

The route out was conventional to Hindolveston and Fulmodeston, then Stibbard, Ryburgh, Colkirk, North Raynham, West Raynham, Helhoughton and Broomsthorpe. Return was via West Rudham, West Raynham, South Raynham, Whissonsett, Horningtoft, Gately, Broom Green, Guist, Wood Norton, Guestwick, Corpusty and a 3:1 split at Mannington.

The weather was light showers in the morning, mixed cloud and sun and then a heavy band of rain during the early afternoon which rendered the lanes through Gately and down to the Wensum awash with stones, sand and flint. Consequently there was another adventure with a tubeless tyre. This one however retained most of its gunge (white version), but required three attempts to insert the sealing plug into what was a fairly long slit in the tyre.

Graham A, Duncan O, Brian and Harvey enjoyed a good day out on the bikes, cold wind, showers and tubeless tyre notwithstanding. We hope there are more can make it for the next two runs to Waxham and Mattishall, the last two weeks of outside catering.

The group of four spoke to five other Wheelers on the road today and only two of them were together.

With no Sheringham starters out and no pick up points, the distances covered were all substantial today, up to a maximum of about 82 miles.

NNW Weekend Club Runs

Moving into May seems as good a time as any to make a few observations following thirteen disrupted months and a tentative restart. We have realistic aspirations to return to something resembling normality, including, hopefully, full access to cafes. As we pick up the pieces after a long year there is a genuine desire to revitalise club runs while also seeking ways to include everyone who is interested in this side of cycling club life. Those of you who have been participating since the alfresco restart at the beginning of April will have your own ideas about how things are going and any alternative ideas will be welcome, while bearing in the mind the current objective of accommodating all-comers without too much disruption.

It is probably worth pointing out that we are trying to get away from the habit of the first, and especially the last, few miles of club runs always following a limited number of identical routes. Over a period of several years a lot of members have enjoyed riding hugely varied routes, so why miss a lot of variety closer to home? Some might see this as adding an unwelcome couple of miles on the way home, but the runs at the moment are in fact a bit shorter than is customary.

Club Run to The Station Cafe at Reepham 28 April 2021

This week’s ride to Reepham was Malcolm’s last as “Captain” of the Wednesday group – Andrew B will take over the reins from 5th May – so it seemed appropriate for him to also lead to the ever popular Station Café.

Aided by the north-easterly we literally sped down to Little Barningham before cutting across to Barningham Green and Edgefield. After Briston we negotiated Melton Constable – quite literally as there was heavy agricultural machinery plus an articulated truck vying for right of way on the narrow road. We were soon on the open road again and made our way towards Hindolveston and thereafter Foulsham.

As we changed direction at this point it was inevitable that it would be slightly harder going but we managed to stay together and reached Pettywell via Themelthorpe, Two riders had pedalled ahead and despite our shouts of “Left , Left” they carried on to the main Reepham Road to complete their journey to the Café. The remainder of the group were treated to a more picturesque loop around Kerdiston.

25 miles on the outward leg and we had made quite good time. Geoff P was there to join in the banter and we enjoyed a great lunch in the warm sunshine, the old station building sheltering us from the brisk and cool wind.

One half of the (slightly) expanded group decided on an alternative route back to PC and the Coast – to be fair one had things to do, one was knackered, one had miles more to go after PC and the last one fancied an early bath – the other half set off for Booton and on to Cawston, Oulton Street, Silvergate, Ingworth, Calthorpe and Wickmere.

At Thurgarton Malcolm said his goodbyes and turned towards Hanworth and home while the remaining trio rode back to PC completing the circuit.

A great day out again!

Andrew B, Duncan S, John S, Malcolm, Mark, Robert, Stephen

PC to PC 46 miles

Run to Dollies at Coltishall on 24/4/2021

Eleven coureurs rode to Coltishall in two loose groups, which became less and less coherent as the day wore on. By Ingworth one rider had picked up a slow puncture, requiring periodic inflation. At Drabblesgate another rider was losing air and decided this was caused by a dickey valve, resulting in two of the bunch heading for the nearby Aylsham Cycle Centre. Acquiring a new valve proved to be simple. However, the unfortunate complication turned out to be that it wasn’t the valve causing the problem but a thin slit in the tubeless tyre, resulting in a psychedelic nightmare on Burgh bridge, where a combination of thick orange gunge and a thinner pink gunge were inserted in large quantities through the slit. On inflation of the tyre, this lurid gunge found various orifices through which to re-emerge and run down the rim and spokes. As this procedure was being performed a friendly local on a hybrid bike stopped to offer assistance, thereby threatening to add his lime green version of gunge to the mix. The tyre did seal however and the rider in question was able to nurse the bike back home and get in his desired quota of miles for the day. This delay also meant that one Wheeler had to ride solo to the cafe and was late for his Dollie’s Bun.

*The Route File version of this club run was Erpingham, Aylsham, Brampton, Buxton, Stratton Strawless, Frettenham, Stanninghall and Heggatt Hall to Coltishall. Returning by way of Belaugh Green, Ashmanaugh, Neatishead, Tunstead church, Worstead, Swanton Hill, Tuttington, Colby, Thwaite Common, Sustead church, Gresham and Chaucer’s Hill.

Riders out: Stuart W; Scott; Neil S (wearing his GS Giro maglia rosa); Malcolm; Ian S; Harvey; Graham J; Graham A; Duncan; Brian; Ben.

Distances ranged wildly, up to a maximum of 74 miles.

*The objective is to accommodate as many riders as possible in differing pace groups. However, one of the fundamental splits in personnel is between the Strava-hungry technophiles and the ‘traditionalists’ (technophobes and Luddites). The majority of those who load the route to their Garmin have a more general affinity with the brisker group, while the majority of the ‘traditionalists’ are so traditional that they won’t even take a look at the transcribed written directions, which would seem to bring them out in a rash. This is all a bit unfortunate for the poor mug who spends quite a bit of time and effort putting these things together.

Thanks to Scott for managing to guide two different groups with his downloaded route file.

For those who seem to be in some doubt about what’s happening next week, the next couple of club runs are posted on the NNW website.

Club Run to The Lighthouse at Walcott 21 April 2021

With a reasonably strong wind blowing in from the NE and the prospect of an al freso lunch break it wasn’t surprising that the 4 Wheelers that met at PC were dressed more for a late Autumn rather than a Spring ride.

Malcolm led the group through Gresham and on to Matlaske, Erpingham, Colby, Banningham, Tuttington, Westwick, Swanton Abbott and Worstead. We had maintained a good pace for the first 20 miles but the final 7 miles of the outward leg was into that north-easterly! Sadly the daffodils lining the sides of Honing Long Lane are now past their best but the North Norfolk countryside was still looking splendid in the bright sunshine and after Crostwight we wound our way through the lanes to Ridlington and finally to our lunchtime destination.

The Lighthouse has, of course, all of the expected COVID safety measures in place but it was great to be able to sit in a pub garden again and the service and food was of good quality. Certainly a venue to keep on the list even though it will be a lot busier in the summer season.

Suitably refuelled and heading straight into the wind we followed the Coast Road to the seafront where a surprising number of daytrippers were parked up and enjoying their stroll along the beach. Heads down we eventually turned off the Coast Road at Bacton to climb the short hill to Bacton Village and then more quiet lanes to Edingthorpe, Paston Green, Knapton and Trunch. After Southrepps and Northrepps, Malcolm left the group to turn towards Crossdale Street and the 3 others descended to Cromer and their various routes home. Malcolm continued on to Metton, Hanworth and Banningham so not quite completing the circuit back to PC.

Andrew B, Graham A, Malcolm, Robert

Various distances covered with a max of 64 miles. PC to PC (would have been) 46 miles

Cafe Runs Restart, 17/4/2021

Eight riders split into two flexible groups for the first weekend cafe run since October. The ‘training group’ set a brisk pace, while the ‘touring group’ varied their pace on a glorious spring day for the ride to Reepham station, where the staff made a fantastic job of dealing with mass outdoor catering at a very busy cafe.

The route went by way of Itteringham, Cawston, Attlebridge, Easthaugh, Lyng, Fustyweed, Sparham and Whitwell Common to the break. A shorter return journey picked up the lanes through Kerdiston, Guestwick, Burnthouse, Craymere ford, Briston, Cross Street, Baconsthorpe and Bodham Hill. The distances ranged up to 65 miles.

Riders out today: Ben; Brian; Duncan O; Graham A; Harvey; Ian S; Malcolm; Stuart W. John Hayward and Andy Argyle were at the cafe.

One puncture (early morning). One rider was fitted out with a 38t single chainring and a 42t bottom sprocket. Despite an early morning intravenous chemical booster another rider was going no better than last week.

Thanks to Ben for leading this run and driving from the front all day.

Next week Coltishall, with a route file to be circulated via e.mail.

Club Run to Little Walsingham 14 April 2021

Words by Andrew B

Five Wheelers, Duncan, Robert, Graham, Stephen and leader for the day Andrew B met at PC for a ride to Walsingham.

The route zig-zagged towards Binham, taking in Plumstead, Edgefield, Stody, Brinton and Sharrington. The weather was colder than expected with some clouds and a headwind.

Stephen had a puncture just after Sharrington, however the delay proved to be fortunate as there was evidence of rain having fallen when we resumed through Field Dalling. After Binham the route took us through Wighton and finally to Little Walsingham for lunch at The Victorious where we met up with Geoff. This is a new venue for the Wheelers which has a good sized garden and the food/drinks were excellent. Luckily the weather by then was improving and we were sheltered from the wind.

After lunch Stephen headed back home and the remainder of us carried on to Binham via Hindringham. Strangely the wind was against us again having swung round!

After some discussion at Binham it was decided not to return to PC and we headed towards Stiffkey and then looped back to Langham. As the weather was by then a lot warmer and the wind had eased, it was decided to head towards Cley via Wiveton and then along the Coast Road towards Weybourne. At Weybourne Andrew and Duncan pedalled towards Holt, leaving the others to continue towards home on the Coast Road.

There was no return to PC but the distance was estimated at 47 miles.

Note from Malcolm

Many thanks to Andrew B for leading today’s ride. Sorry I couldn’t join you and I hope to be out again next week.