Club Run to the Lighthouse Inn, Walcott 25/05/2022

Three Wheelers met at PC on a dry but windy morning for the run down the east coast to Walcott.
The forecast SW wind was present but the forecast all day sun soon disappeared behind clouds and the wind made it fairly chilly at times. Our clockwise route took us through Gresham, Metton, North and Southrepps, along the lanes towards Trimingham and across Mundesley golf course. A section of main road to Paston where we took the back lanes past Bacton terminal to Witton where we decided to head straight to the pub instead of taking an extra couple of miles loop.
The Lighthouse Inn was warm and welcoming and we enjoyed good food, drink and conversation before heading back out into what seemed to be an even colder wind and very black clouds.
Fortunately it remained dry and the hedges provide some shelter as we headed past Bacton Wood to White Horse Common and then up and around North Walsham and Swafield to Antingham crossing. Here Graham headed north for Cromer, while the remaining duo pushed west to Suffield, Town Green and Thurgarton, where Duncan turned south for Corpusty. Our ride leader completed the route via Bessingham, Barningham Winter, Bodham Hill to PC.

PC to PC 51 miles
Wheelers were Graham A, Duncan S and Mark M leading

Club Run to Gressenhall on 21/5/2022.

Seven Wheelers departed from Pretty Corner to ride by way of Baconsthorpe and Plumstead Green to Briston, where they picked up Jim and Jason. So a bunch of nine headed for the Mardler’s Rest via Guestwick, Foulsham, Bintree watermill, Great Heath, Brisley, East Bilney, Willow Grange, Bittering and Dunfer Hole. The cafe was surprisingly quiet, so the staff were pleased to see a substantial group. After a few unscheduled laps of the car park, the bunch headed back along the Gorgate lane, down the Blackwater to Worthing, along the Wensum to Bylaugh, Mill Street, Fustyweed, Lyng, Easthaugh and Attlebridge before climbing over to Swannington (from where Jason turned for home), Clay Lane, the Ratcatcher’s (Neil headed for home from here), Cawston and the direct route back via Itteringham (Graham A departed here for Cromer). The bunch chatted on Itteringham bridge with Chris Knowles, returned from his two year exile in Northampton.

Steel, aluminium, carbon and titanium were all in evidence today.

Group: Neil Mc; Mark; Jim (out only for the morning); Jason; Harvey; Graham J; Graham A; Chris S; Brian.

Distances (for the PC starters): 68 miles to 82 miles.

Club Run to The Courtyard Café, Holkham on 18th May 2022

On a warm and sunny day six riders set off southwards (as usual) from Pretty Corner (PC) for an outing to Holkham. It was good to see Kevin after a very long absence and Duncan after a shorter absence. The familiar route chosen took us to Briston before Graham J suffered a side wall puncture soon after Craymere Beck. Passing through Hindolveston, Stibbard and Gt Ryburgh, Hempton was reached. On old main roads (Cycle Route 1) we reached Sculthorpe and went northwards keeping on Cycle Route 1. Using a short length of off-road was not universally popular. At N Barsham we turned westwards and at Waterden we followed a route of a Roman Road to a small hamlet of Quarles and soon afterwards passed through a gate of Holkham Park. The views of the great house and lake from higher ground were stunning. After a longer than usual ride at least one rider rushed to the courtyard re-fueling point. The route back to PC was much shorter, leaving via a photo pose next to a bronze figure of Lord Coke, and Burnham Thorpe. The route basically followed Cycle Route 30  on the high ground with open views passing through Langham and across the Glaven valley. Three riders peeled off near Holt at different points leaving the final three to return to PC.

PC to PC 63 miles

Average speed 14.5 mph Total Elevation 2,100 ft

Graham A (leader), Graham J, Andrew, Mark, Kevin and Duncan.

Club Run to Honingham on 14/5/2022.

One regular went down with a last minute lurgy, leaving seven to ride the club run down to the Goat Shed south of Honingham. The first hour was a direct ride south through Reepham, over Whitwell Common and the Wensum crossing at Lyng watermill. It was then the stiff climb of Cadder’s Hill and into the lanes leading to Mattishall, Welborne and Runhall, down the upper reaches of the Yare, round by the Barnham Broom Country Club, up the short, but brutal Bickerston bank, left at Colton church and past the Norfolk Lurcher to the cafe, where the bunch sat out front absorbing the aroma of goat. The homeward leg looped the long way round the lanes to East Tuddenham, skirted the southern fringes of Mattishall, crossed the A47 at North Tuddenham, Elsing Hall, to cross the Wensum at Mill Street, ascend the long drag to Bawdeswell, through the hole in the fence at Foxley and the fairly familiar lanes via Foxley Wood, Themelthorpe, Guestwick (from where Neil Mc turned for home), Craymere ford, Briston, Baconsthorpe and West Beckham.

Bunch: Chris S; Graham A; Graham J; Harvey; Mark; Neil Mc; Neil S.

Three punctures (one rear Continental Ultra Sport and two legs) – fortunately concerted group action managed to repair all three of these unauthorised deflations sufficiently to get back to base.

Distances: 65 miles to 79 miles.

Club Run to Staithe n Willow, Horning 12/05/2022

Four Wheelers met at PC on a warm and sunny Thursday morning for the rain rescheduled ride to Horning
We initially headed into a noticeable SW wind to Barningham Winter where we turned South East for the small lanes of Wickmere, Calthorpe, Scarrow Beck road and risked the usually flooded Lodge Lane (only one side of the road was wet) to get to Banningham. Then it was Sloley and a zig zag triple crossing of the rail line including the seldom used Tunstead Church Lane pedestrian crossing and then the few miles to Horning.
The Staithe n Willow was fairly quiet and we were able to sit at a double table in the courtyard and enjoy the sun and quick service of a good light lunch. We had expected Malcolm to join us for lunch and his absence sparked rumours of him having succumbed to the wind or dogs once more. He later reported that he was fit and well but life had got in the way of his cycling plans.
Our route home took us around the pretty lanes of Irstead and Neatishead, then Dilham, Honing, Bacton Woods to Knapton where we had to walk through two sets of road works, guided by friendly workers. Next was Trunch, South and Northrepps were Graham turned off for Cromer and the rest headed West for Metton and Aylmerton Cross where Robert turned off for West Runton, leaving two to return to PC.

As we passed RAF Neatishead, we saw signs for a robotics business and it was also featured tonight on Look East. Here is a link I found about the new business:

PC to PC 57 miles
Wheelers riding, Graham A, Robert N, Andrew B and Mark leading
Wheelers unable to make the revised date, John S and Malcolm S.

Club Run to Little Walsingham on 7/5/2022.

Luckily the much-needed rain fell during the night, although there was a chilly fog when six Wheelers departed from Pretty Corner for the weekend club run to the Norton Centre cafe. This soon gave way however to a gloriously fresh May day with lots of warm sunshine. The bunch headed out over the heaths to Cley Green, up the valley to Glandford, over the steep ridge to Letheringsett and Thornage, taking the long drag up the B1110 to Norfolk’s second highest point, clipping through the edge of Swanton Novers, the back lane round by secretive Thursford church, two Snorings and three Barshams to finish off down the Stiffkey valley into a busy Walsingham, where Neil S devoured two large cakes. Someone suggested that Malcolm was a lazy so ‘n’ so for not riding up to meet the bunch again. Brian took his fellow Wheelers on a nostalgic trip back to the Sheffield folk club scene of the 1960s. Two riders claim to have seen Geoff approaching Walsingham, although he wasn’t seen again, so this might have been a phantom Geoff** in search of the fabled Great Walsingham pies.

It was welcome warm sunshine for much of the way back on a route that went by way of Hindringham*, Thursford, Barney, Stibbard, Wood Norton, Wade’s Farm (two large roe deer ran in front of the bunch), Foulsham, Guestwick, Wood Dalling, Saxthorpe full mill, Ramsgate Street and the direct way back to Red Barn Lane over Bodham Hill.

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

Distances: 58 miles to 76 miles. – *(Hindringham) – reminding the leader that the advertised route was meant to be a slightly longer way to Hindringham, so about a mile to deduct here.

**PS – Phantom materialises: – apparently Geoff was indeed in the Walsinghams, but things didn’t go to plan. His Garmin packed up first and then his ‘phone, preventing the customary (since Maureen’s illness) mid-ride call home. So, it was a quick coffee, no pies and straight back to base.

Club Run to The Old Railway Station, Reepham on 4th May 2022

Three wheelers met at PC for a ride to Reepham on a muggy spring day with forecast of rain later. The route provided took us through West Beckham, Bodham, Holt, Hunworth, Edgefield Street, Corputsy and Wood Dalling. On arrival at The Old Railway Station we were met by Geoff who had made his way separately. We able to sit outside although the sky was looking very dark by this time. We all enjoyed a good lunch, but by the end light rain had started to fall. The route back took us through Cawston, Oulton Street, Itteringham and Matlaske, where Graham left us for home. The last two of us then made our way back to PC via. Bessingham and Gresham. Although there had been intermittent light rain, we stayed pretty dry apart from being sprayed by the odd farmers irrigation system!

PC to PC 47 miles

Average speed 14.5 mph           Total Elevation 1302 ft

Mark, Graham A and Andrew B leading.

Club Run to Coltishall on 30/4/2022.

With two club run Wheelers sailing today and one probably still in Spain, a small field was anticipated for today’s sixty mile loop via No.77 Cafe in the Red Lion at Coltishall. However, Ben was back after recovering from an infection, we were joined by Matt from Malvern Cycle Sport (Worcs) and Chris S had returned from his motorcycle trip to prove finally and conclusively that the rain in Spain does not fall mainly on the plain, but on the Picos de Europa.

Although lighter than of late, the cool northerly gave a good measure of wind assistance on a conventional direct route as far as Little Hautbois, before turning into the minor lanes over Mayton bridge to Langmere, Frettenham church, Crostwick, Granny Bard’s Lane and Heggatt Hall. Once again Malcolm rode up from St. Olave’s to meet the bunch. A rumour that he is now qualified to pilot the Reedham Ferry has been denied. So, nine riders set off from the cafe, heading round the back way to Belaugh Green and the Hoveton road, from where Malcolm turned south for his ferry crossing. The bunch continued by way of Ashmanaugh, Neatishead, Cat’s Common, Tunstead church, Worstead, directly west to skirt the edge of Aylsham (from where Neil Mc headed for home) to Drabblegate, Ingworth, Blickling watermill and Itteringham (where Graham A turned off for Cromer), before taking a less conventional route back to PC, climbing past Up Wood onto Bodham Hill.

Group: Neil S; Neil Mc; Mark; Harvey; Graham A; Chris S; Ben. Plus Matt (MCS) and Malcolm, who completed 52 miles on land and two ferry crossings.

Distances: 60 miles to 77 miles.

And one more thing, as an old pal of Geoff used to say. Over a number of years, various attempts have been made to keep a decent number of riders on the road for NNW club runs. By and large, the circulation of route files has enabled Wheelers of fairly wide-ranging age and fitness to follow the same route to the same cafe. It was assumed that natural on-the-road splits would occur from time to time. The main problem with this method seems to occur when some of the more senior riders start chasing after the natural breaks and consequently start to blow up at around two thirds total distance. The current runs organiser is completely bemused by this phenomenon, unable to comprehend why it isn’t normal to settle into a secondary steady miles group for the last hour or so. Unless someone can come up with an alternative model, it has got me beat. Perhaps it has something to do with pensioner pride.

PS. It is a convenient oversimplification to refer to ‘senior riders’ and ‘pensioners’.

Club Run to Bridgestones, Potter Heigham 27/04/2022

Three Wheelers met at PC on an overcast and cold day. With no forecast of sun and a light north easterly breeze it was no surprise to see everyone well wrapped up in their winter gear.
Our wind assisted outward route took us via Alby Hill, Suffield, Swanton Abbott, Sloley, past Hoveton Hall Gardens and through Horning. At Horning roadworks meant that the main A1062 was closed which reduced the traffic on the two mile section we used to get us over Ludham bridge before taking the backroads to Ludham airfield and down to Bridgestones.
As we arrived we found Malcom waiting for us, having had a shortish 24 mile ride out from St Olaves. We opted not to sit outside but in the dog friendly section, which was sheltered from the wind but close to the bikes. Everyone seemed happy with their meals and refreshments. Andrew B had to leave early to fulfil other obligations, while the remaining three chatted and postponed venturing back out into the cold. Eventually we set off, Malcolm heading south and two heading north into the wind via Catfield, Lessingham, Crostwight, North Walsham to Gunton Station, where Graham A continued north to Cromer and Mark took the usual route back to Hanworth, Gresham and PC.

PC to PC 60 miles
Graham A, Andrew B, Mark leading and Malcolm joining us for lunch.

Club Run to Wells on 23/4/2022.

With two motoring to Spain, one in Birmingham and another taking a day off, the numbers were down again, but a decent bunch of six turned out at Pretty Corner for the club run to Wells. It was a fast ride out with a surprisingly strong ENE tailwind, following a fairly direct route out over the heaths, up the Downs, across Cockthorpe Common, an unusually easy ride over the exposed drag to Crabbe Castle and past Blunt’s Corner to turn through the Triumphal Arch and down the long descent through the Holkham estate, finishing off into Wells by way of the rough road through the east gate, thereby avoiding the full headwind on the busy main road. Wells was busy and Nelson’s cafe was packed to the gunwales, so it was across the road for the inaugural visit to Flo and Joe, where the bunch sat out front at the picnic tables (the pies are good Geoff).

The longer return leg was sufficiently devious to take a lot of the sting out of the gusty wind, with lots of ducking and diving along high-hedged lanes via Warham, Copy’s Green, Hindringham, Thursford, Gunthorpe, Pigg’s Grave, Briningham, Burgh Parva, Hindolveston (from where Neil continued south to base), Burnthouse, Growle Abbey, skirting Briston to finish off with a bit of variety by dropping into Hempstead, past Selbrigg Decoy Pond, Lower Bodham and the final split at Red Barn Lane. On the homeward trip the bunch split 50/50 between a bairns interval training group and a septuagenarian LSD section (for the uninitiated, the S denotes steady rather than slow). These on-the-road splits, enabled by the route file for the day, seem to suit the majority of the weekend cohort at the moment, although it is never going to be perfect. It is pretty certain that about half of the current potential group (15-16) would benefit from RLSD: R as in regular (weekly); L=4-5 hours; S=steady.

Bunch: Andrew; Brian; Graham J; Harvey; Mark; Neil Mc.

Distances: 62 miles to 79 miles.