Cycle Sunday Ride Report - 13th January 2019

It was a grey morning with a north westerly wind as two of us set off from the market cross to ride to Swanbourne. We cycled up Soulbury Road and down again to the by-pass which we crossed and continued on to Soulbury.  We turned left towards Stewkley and continued up the hill to turn right to Hollingdon.  This is such an enjoyable lane to ride so don’t race just take in the views. On arriving at the Stewkley to Newton Longville road we turned left to the north end of Stewkley. At the junction we crossed the road into Dean Road. This is quiet lane which ends at footpaths and bridleway. We took the bridleway on the right and rode downhill until there is a bridleway sign on pointing left, so we turned left.

This track at one time would have been unrideable in January, when it would be rutted, extremely muddy and a guarantee of a struggle to get bikes and riders through.  But now the hedges have been cut back the ditch reinstated and it was only the second time that I have ridden this without getting stuck. We emerged on to the grassy green way where again the ditches have been dug and the field drainage improved and on to the track which leads to Swanbourne Nearton End.  We continued through the village past the cemetery to the road.

We turned right up the hill past the church and the school and took the road on the right by the school. This lane joins Route 51 and we followed it across the road on to a track and again across the road and continued on the road until Route 51 leaves the road on a track.  It did say road closed on the track but we rode on. At the road there was a deep hole but we managed to get past the fencing and on to the road.

We left Route 51 and rode right into Newton Longville and across the crossroads on the road which leads to Stoke Hammond. There is dog leg turn at the crossroads by Rectory Farm and we continued down and then up into Stoke Hammond. In the village we took Bragenham Side to the Grand Union Canal.  Riding south along the canal path appeared easy until my back wheel started to skid – I had a puncture. There is a great advantage to riding with others, when you have a puncture there is someone to take over the inflation when your arm gets tired!  It is two years or more since I have had a thorn in the tyre on a ride.  Always remember to carry a spare tube.  We made it back into town on a ride which was 23.3 miles and took us around two and half hours (excluding the twenty minute puncture stop).