2017 Cycling

Julyclick for this month's league table

New Inn, Middleton Cheney

With Velo John and Derek back in Blighty we had ten Embers starting out from Canons Ashby on a route carefully researched by Richard Clark.

Our route was lost at the first turn but we had a great day despite (or maybe because of) that.

We never did get to the planned pub in Brackley but settled for the New Inn at Middleton Cheney. From there we returned on quiet roads, taking many rests in the shade to cool off.

Back at Canons Ashby we had tea, cake and ice creams at the Stables tea-room.

We still have an excellent route to try (to follow) next year.

Ye Olde Crown Hotel, Waterhouses

Today nine Embers tackled the Manifold Valley starting from a variety of locations. At least they all reached Ye Old Crown Hotel at the same time.

Meanwhile, two more Embers who failed to reach GO checked out Willington for two weeks time, and the Clock Wareouse near Shardlow for victuals.

Left to right: John Ashworth, Mick Ayriss, Derek Jordan, Grahame Billington, Richard Clark, Simon Over, John Muschialli, Ian Bower and Dave Parry.

The Woodpecker, Raunds

Torrential rain on our way to Thrapston gave us doubts that today's ride would happen. We gathered at the Café at No 34 to consider our options and decided to keep our ride short.

At least the ten Embers who set out today all eventually met up at the same place. By the time we left the café the rain had passed so we mage our way straight to The Woodpecker at Raunds, arriving just after midday due to being unable to recall the back way into the premises.

Once inside we were soon seated and served with excellent main meals and puddings.

When we emerged again the sky was clearing and we returned in an eastward loop through Bythorn, past Molesworth and back via Titchmarsh, straight to the Café at No 34 where we knew there were cakes that needed eating. Thanks to the staff for staying after their normal closing time for us.

Hawk and Buckle, Etwell

This was a new start location for 12 Embers. They took a route north following Cycle Route 68.

Lunch stop was at the Hawk and Buckle where everyone Etwell.

Amy Johnson's Comet Racer

On the way back to Willington, we visited the Comet Racer Restoration Centre on Derby Airfield.

The Comet is one of three DH 88s that were built by deHavilland to participate in the 1934, MacRobertson, England to Australia Air Race. One painted red, one green and one in black, named 'Black Magic'. Black Magic, registered as G-ACSP, was the first to fly and was bought by Amy Johnson and her husband Jim Mollison.

The Comets were 'state of the art' for the period, having retractable undercarriage, flaps and variable pitch propellers and were built in record time, from concept in February to flight in September of that year.

The race was won by the Red Comet, in under 72 hours, the green completed, but sadly, Amy's had engine trouble in India and retired from the race.

Black Magic was later bought by the Portuguese and used as a mail plane to fly from Lisbon to the West Indies.

Several decades later, she was found on a Portuguese farm with trees growing through the airframe. Recovered to the UK and partly re-built, when she suffered considerable damage in a workshop fire. The remains were brought to Derby in 2004 and a total restoration is now well underway.

We are most grateful to Martin, who gave us an excellent talk about the project.

- Ian Bower

Back to Mercia Marina in time for some cake and a dry out before going home.

Moving on: See how we fared in August.