Club Run to the end of the road?

Just when it seemed that North Norfolk Wheelers’ club runs were again under threat, eleven riders congregated at the Itteringham pick-up point.

This was always going to be a difficult club run to keep together all day as the route was a particularly devious one through the intricate network of lanes that are such an attractive feature of the north-eastern corner of Norfolk. One objective was to test the ability of the Wheelers to override the automatic pilot on their bikes which directs them towards home at certain trigger points on the map. This was a generally successful exercise as eight out of eleven made it back to the intended split at Banningham.

The bunch took advantage of glorious warm autumn sunshine and dry roads to follow a route through Wolterton, Wickmere, Thurgarton, Hanworth, Thorpe Hamlet, Southrepps, Northrepps, Frogshall, Gimingham, Mundesley – (for refreshments), Bacton church, Edingthorpe Green, Pigney’s Wood, Little London, Swafield, Bradfield church, Antingham, Brick Kiln Lane, Suffield and Colby to the split in the bunch at Banningham church. The bunch of five heading back towards the coast had a chat with ex-Wheeler Mark Igoe’s son-in-law, who was pushing Mark’s young granddaughter in a buggy.

The riders out on this glorious day were Alban; Brian; Dave C; Geoff; Graham, Harvey; Ian S; Malcolm; Robin; Stephen B; Trevor.

The basic run from PC to PC was only 54 miles, but several did substantially more; the occidental contingent ending up with about 75 miles.

Two unauthorised deflations, although only one was through the tyre. The second one was a cross-threaded valve.

It remains to be seen whether traditional club runs* will survive. Today’s well-attended relatively short effort suggests that they might, although several of the stalwarts are ‘approaching the veteran stage’.

*Traditionally these were stamina-building collaborative team exercises, with a chance to see a bit of the country thrown in for good measure.


Club Run to The Old Railway Station at Reepham, 11 October 2017

Seven Wheelers met at PC for the run to Reepham.  It was quite windy with a stiff south-westerly blowing – we were headed south-west!  We welcomed visitor Chris from Lincolnshire who last rode with us three years ago.  Shorts were still in evidence, but most plumped for long tights.

Off we set for Bodham and Holt before turning southish for Briston – the wind was now a bit troublesome.  Some delightful lanes then followed for the second half of the outward leg.  Robert punctured under half a mile from the café – he suggested we press on but we stayed to enjoy the show.  However, Robert was actually quite speedy and we were on our way in no time.

The café was really quiet on our arrival so service was swift.  Conversation turned to the as yet unfulfilled aspiration to tackle the Marriot’s Way (not on road bikes!) – next summer perhaps. Trevor joined us at the venue, taking the total of Wheelers out to eight.  With three regulars away, this was a good turn-out.

With the sun breaking through, we set of for PC – the wind now generally behind us.  The average speed shot up.  There were again nice lanes to savour, with the highlight being the section through Heydon Estate.  It was to the north for the return home.  A loop around Baconsthorpe was planned to get the miles close to 40, but this involved turning back into the wind a bit, so it was dropped.

You really can really revel in the Norfolk countryside on a day like this – it looks fantastic in the autumnal sunshine; we do cycle in a fabulous part of the country!

Alban, Chris (from Lincolnshire), David C, John S, Kevin, Robert, Stephen and Trevor.

35 miles PC to PC.

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 19.18.48

Club Run, 7/10

After last week’s photo-shoot potter round the lanes, normal service was almost resumed, although Malcolm was in Coventry – (it isn’t known who sent him) and Alban was on a gastronomic trip to ‘Auld Reekie’ – (mutton pies and deep-fried Mars Bars). However, the Saturday run welcomed back Brian (El Rey del Camino), showing no sign of fatigue following his 1,000 kms. ride through eastern Spain and also Comrades Marathon veteran, Guy.

The weekend bunch are also looking forward to the return of Nick once he settles down into his new house in Aylsham.

After a direct ride to Itteringham to pick up more riders, the bunch took a meandering route by way of Plumstead, Edgefield Heath, Briston, Craymere, Guestwick Green, Foulsham and Bintree watermill to the Post Office Tea Room at Guist. In the eclectic tradition of North Norfolk Wheelers, the conversation over refreshments ranged from bodily functions – (scatology in polite circles) to the 200 cc Tiger Cub to Spanish irrigation systems to Hegelian Dialectics; perhaps the Saturday club runs need to be longer and more testing.

The way back to base was via the maze of lanes between Upper Guist and Foulsham, then on through Themelthorpe, passing Hackford Hall to Whitwell Common, Eade’s Mill, Booton and Cawston to the two-way split at Oulton Street.

A group of six – with more due back next week: – Brian; Dave C; Geoff; Guy; Harvey; Trevor.

Conditions: The early starter had 20 minutes rain before it cleared to a decent day with just the odd drizzle shower. The heavier rain didn’t arrive until about 4.15, when everyone was back home. A fairly stiff south westerly gave a headwind out and tailwind back. – > The Met Office are claiming 18 degrees C for next weekend.

This was a relatively short club run, amounting to 54 miles from PC to PC.

Club Run on 30/9/2017 – from the pen of Geoff – (delayed by computer fault)

Club Run to Pensthorpe with Cycling Weekly 30 September 2017

The long awaited day had finally arrived and the club members of NNW welcomed our illustrious guests, Owen and Andy of Cycling Weekly, to their ranks for the club run to Pensthorpe Wild Life Park. Greeting them at the start was our club President Geoff Paice.

There are many ways to navigate from Pretty Corner to Pensthorpe, from the standard to the bizarre, Harvey, however, pulled a real cracker out of the hat which was intent on giving our guests a real taste of the back roads of North Norfolk with a few hills thrown in for good measure. With grass growing in profusion in the middle of the road on some of route and some roads which were almost track like, Owen asked the question “did we come this way often?”. To which one member replied that the smaller roads were reserved for later in the day. In reality, efforts were made to avoid the worst effects of the beginning of the sugar beet season coinciding with the height of the potato season. There wasn’t a single puncture in 30 tyres, averaging about 55 miles each – (1,650 tyre miles?).

Our route to the Courtyard Café was via Gresham, Bessingham, Matlaske, Corpusty, Wood Dalling, Tyby, Guestwick, Wood Norton and Little Ryburgh where three steep hills had to be climbed to reach the stop.

The Courtyard Café always has good quality food and service and certainly did us proud. Blessed by good weather we were able to eat “el fresco”. Greeting us there was club Chairman Chris Knowles.

Our route back to PC was via Little Snoring airfield, Thursford Green, Gunthorpe, Bale, Field Dalling, Saxlingham, Wiveton Downs, Salthouse Heath, High Kelling, Bodham Hill, West and East Beckham.

Conditions: a cool overcast morning followed by a lovely sunny afternoon with a tailwind home. The afternoon ended up so balmy that four Wheelers finished off their day in the Pretty Corner Tea Garden.

Riders: Alban; Amanda; Brian; CJ; Dave C; Geoff; Graham; Harvey; Ian S; John H; John M; Malcolm; Owen; Tessa; Trevor + Geoff Paice at the start; Mike at the cafe; Andy (camion balai and snaps) and Chris Knowles.

The basic club run from PC to PC was 50 miles, but, with a peloton dispersed over an area from Langham to North Walsham and Swanton Abbott, several riders totted up well over 70 miles.

An excellent day’s cycling which no doubt impressed our guests and we await their report in the cycling mag in due course.



Club Run to The Chequers Inn at Binham 4 October 2017

Seven Wheelers met at PC on a cool and breezy morning for Alan’s ride to Binham. Most had wisely chosen either 3/4 or full bib tights but a hardy two were still in shorts.

Red Barn lane into Plum Lane before a right turn taking us to Baconsthorpe followed by Edgefield, Hunworth, Stody and Brinton. Pausing at Gunthorpe for a few minutes Andrew suggested taking the lead as Alan had been taking the full hit of the headwind up to this point. We made our way up to and across the A148 and then Little Walsingham, Wighton and finally Binham. We were looking forward to the warmth of the pub!

The Chequers is now a Community Pub so we’re glad to be able to support it in our small way. The service was efficient and friendly and the food good quality. Stephen left us after a quick refreshment and, after lunch, the six continued on their way bypassing Field Dalling and Bale before arriving at Sharrington.

At Letheringsett we could and, in retrospect, should have joined the A148. Instead we chose to ride the footpath alongside which was strewn with cuttings from the recently trimmed hedgerow. Surely this could only end in tears! Firstly Andrew double punctured (front and rear that is) before we even reached the main road. He was happy for us to carry on without him. Geoff left us at Holt.

Then on the stretch to Hempstead David C punctured, then Alban – both without doubt the result of thorns or other debris picked up on that footpath – Alan and Malcolm carried out a further check of their tyres – at this rate we might run out of inner tubes!

Alban left us at Hempstead and the three pedalled on to Baconsthorpe. Shortly after David C and Malcolm bade farewell to Alan who made his way back to PC and they carried on to Gresham before going their separate ways home.

Thank you to Alan for leading today’s ride.

Alan, Alban, Andrew, David C, Geoff (not our Geoff but a welcome visitor), Malcolm, Stephen

40 miles PC to PC; 50 – 60 miles for some.

On the cog with the ‘Comic’, 30/9

Trevor, Tessa, Malcolm, John M, John H, Ian S, Harvey, Graham, Geoff, Dave C, CJ, Brian, Amanda and Alban were joined for the club run to Pensthorpe by Owen and Andy from Cycling Weekly. It was good to see Geoff Paice who had come up from Sheringham to fill Owen in on some of the Wheelers’ history. The group were joined at the Courtyard Cafe by Mike and by Andy the photographer.

The presence of CW caused the run leader to recall his favourite front page from the magazine, which depicted half a dozen riders, in various states of distress, hanging on to the wheel of Eddy Merckx in the July heat of the Vosges Mountains during the 1969 Tour. The caption read – ‘Merckx drives the infernal train on the Ballon d’Alsace’.

A cool morning gave way to warm sun, enabling the Wheelers to sit out in the Courtyard for refreshments and also to enjoy a lovely run back to Pretty Corner with a rising tailwind.

Pretty Corner to Pretty Corner was 50 miles, with people riding  a range of distances to and from the start.

Owen thoroughly enjoyed his day ‘Riding with North Norfolk Wheelers’.

Club Run to The Rising Sun at Coltishall 27 September 2017

With the prospect of a fine dry day nine met at PC for Trevor’s ride to the always popular pub on the Broads at Coltishall.

We started with the familiar route down as far as Barningham Park but then rather than continuing along Church Road we took the Wickmere and Wollerton Roads to Itteringham. Then round the back of Blickling Park to follow the course of The Bure to Ingworth. At this point we parted company with the mighty Bure and indeed with the mighty Robin who had things to do and people to see!

Onwards to Banningham then along Bridge Road and past Colby School on to the B1145 – not for long however before turning right and continuing due south to pass over The Weaver’s Way. The Swanton Abbott Road led us to Scottow Road and then a great route through the lanes to Frankfort, Ashmanhaugh, Belaugh Green and eventually Coltishall. On the way there was a lot of field activity with the potato harvest but with no recent rain the roads were pretty good – a fair bit of hard dried mud and other debris however so we had to take care!

David C met us at the pub having reserved a couple of outside tables. Unfortunately the sun disappeared for a while – but despite that we had a pleasant enough lunch before leaving via St James up to Sco Ruston and the B1150. We missed the left turn into The Hill which would have avoided cycling along the often busy B1150 but with a tailwind and on the whole considerate drivers it wasn’t too bad. Along to Scottow where we turned left to follow the relatively quiet roads to Swanton Abbott and a loop round to Skeyton (well just up the hill from Skeyton). Trevor bade us farewell and Malcolm then lead the group via Back Lane to Tuttington. With the wind behind us the drag up to Banningham was barely noticeable! Malcolm left the group at High Noon Road heading off in the direction of Suffield and home while the remaining 7 Wheelers pedalled the familiar route via Erpingham back to PC.

Thank you to Trevor for leading the ride today.

Alban, Alan, David C, Graham, John S, Malcolm, Robert, Robin, Stephen, Trevor

49 miles PC to PC

18.5m Hilly Time Trial Results 24/9/17

The final North Norfolk Wheelers time trial of the season took place on Sunday.  This was a challenging 18.5 mile hilly course taking in short climbs up to Weybourne and Kelling Heath, and faster flatter sections of main road from Holt to Upper Sheringham and along the coast road.  There was a strong head wind up the hills and a bit of traffic on the main road (as is normal nowadays) but at least the sun was out!

Mike Padfield of North Norfolk Wheelers did the course in 46.59 (an average of 23.6 mph) to get the win and a PB by over 1 minute, followed by Ben Keeley (Team Velo-Velocity) in 49.23 and Phil Watkins (34 Nomads) in 50.23.  A number of club riders were also in action at the Woodlands ‘Super Sprint’ Triathlon in the morning with Amanda Marshall winning her age-group and John Morgan 5th overall and 2nd in his age group (who also did the Hilly TT).

Thanks to the marshalls, timekeepers and assistants for helping out and for propping up the bin at the finish!

See you at the AGM/Annual Dinner this winter (timing tbc) and for another year of racing from April 2018…

24/09/2017 18.5 Hilly TT
Name Club Time Club Handicap time Notes
BEN KEELEY Team Velo Velocity 49.23
PHIL WATKINS 34 Nomads 50.23  43 58
JOHN MORGAN NNW 52.49  45 45
BRIAN PLATTS NNW 58.09  44 15
GUY THOROLD NNW 58.34  45 20

Club Run to Smallsticks Café at Cart Gap 23 September 2017

With only one waif and stray (no offence Graham!) to collect at PC Geoff arrived at the Banningham pick up point to meet two more Wheelers for Malcolm’s ride to Cart Gap. Although it had been a slightly chilly and damp start to the day the weather was improving rapidly and the four of us were looking forward to it.

Pretty standard Tuttington, Skeyton, Worstead and Briggate before a left turn just after the North Walsham and Dilham Canal into Corner Common Road and then a steady climb with lovely views across towards North Walsham. It is slightly puzzling how you can cross one North Walsham Road to reach another North Walsham Road; however this is what we did turning right and shortly left into Sandy Lane to take us to Bacton Village before descending to the coast road. We cut back inland following the lanes to Ridlington and then straight to Happisburgh and the café stop. About 21 miles from Banningham but all four had put in extra miles to get to the pick up point.

We were joined by Trevor and David C and after good food and friendly service we set off under increasing cloud to retrace our steps (or should that be wheel tracks?) to Ridlington. Then Witton Bridge and back to North Walsham Road! Trevor left us to head off home and the five continued along the lanes to Edingthorpe Street, Paston Green and Trunch. David C bade us farewell.

We reached Lower Street where we met two thirsty cyclists (with a dog in a basket) in search of a pint at the Gunton Arms. We pointed them in the right direction which in fact was the direction in which we were going but having said goodbye to Robin we pedalled ahead of the two thankful cyclists reaching Thorpe Market and then eventually the junction with the A140. Geoff was not with us, had he had a mechanical? Malcolm and Graham waited and then cycled back a short distance until we met him.

“Where’s Robin?” said Geoff.

“He left us at Lower Street”

“Oh that’s alright then, I thought we’d lost him”

Malcolm headed off at Hanworth to leave just the two to make their way back to PC.

David C, Geoff, Graham, Malcolm, Robin and Trevor

56 miles PC to PC; 45 miles B to B