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Archives for March 2015

The Peterborough Green Wheel

The Green Wheel is a network of cycle routes around Peterborough. The design is based on a bicycle wheel, with a circular route (the rim), and a number of linear ‘spokes’ running into the city. There are a number of other alternative rides based on the Green Wheel, using additional connecting cycle routes, maps of which can be downloaded from http://www.peterborough.gov.uk/travelchoice/downloads.aspx#cycling.I have thought about riding the Green Wheel ever since it was created in 2000 as a Millennium project, but never quite got around to it. Eventually, in 2012, I managed it, riding the full perimeter route (apart from two small sections as described below).

I joined the GW route at it’s western most point, where Bullock Road turns left to Haddon. Riding anti-clockwise, the aim was to complete the whole original route minus the last little stretch along Bullock Road which I have cycled many times before.

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The Green Wheel is regional cycle route number 21.

Detailed Route Guide:

Abbreviations: T= T-junction, R= turn right, L= turn left, RH/LH= right/left hand (usually followed by “bend”)

Starting from Ferry Meadows car park at GR TL-142984, just off the A47 east of Castor village.

Continue down the hill through the linear car park, cross the river Nene at Ferry Bridge and continue down Ferry Walk around Overton Lake, crossing a small bridge, keep the lake on your right until you come to the Ferry Meadows visitor centre. There is a cafe and parking here, so you could start your ride from here if you wish, although parking may be more difficult at busy times.

Turn left at the visitor centre, right just before the level crossing (sp cycle route 63), follow the railway track for about 1km, then cross over it at the first bridge, turn right at the T-junction and follow the track until it emerges at the Lynchwood Business Park. From the roundabout, take the second exit which will bring you onto the A605 by the entrance to the East of England Showground. This crosses the A1 to become the Oundle Road, a fairly quiet road since the new A605 was built.

Take 1st left (sp Haddon, Great Gidding) into Bullock Rd, over the new A605 then 1st left (sp Haddon). This road contains the only real hill on the otherwise flat route. Continue through Haddon, under the A1, ignore the first left on a RH bend (sp Green Wheel, City Centre, The Ortons), as this is one of the “spokes”, take the next track immediately after the LH bend

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“take the next track immediately after the LH bend”

This off-road section continues for 2 miles, until a traffic control that enables you to cross the busy A15. On the other side of the A15, turn left and then right after about 50m down a narrow track (sp Green Wheel Fawcett).

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“On the other side of the A15, turn left and then right after about 50m down a narrow track (sp Green Wheel Fawcett).”


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“Continue on this track which takes you over the main railway line “


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Some of regional route 21 is also national route 12.

Continue on this track which takes you over the main railway line and into Crown Lakes Country Park. There are quite a few paths and tracks meeting here but the Green Wheel is well sign posted, essentially, you need to continue in the same direction as you crossed the bridge over the railway. As you emerge from the country park, turn right into Haddon Way and left at the T junction with http://espanacialis.org/ the main road in Fawcett. 1st right then 2nd left (Cross St) will bring you to the next off-road section, where Cross St meets St Mary’s St.

This track eventually runs alongside the B1095 just before it runs underneath the A605 via a subway. The cycle path continues around a housing estate (Stanground) which you need to keep on your left with the river on your right. The cycle path emerges into North St, where you need to turn sharp right and over the river by the lock gate. After 2 miles, turn left at a X-roads and over the River Nene at Stanground Washes via the Shanks Millennium Bridge.

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“After 2 miles, turn left at a X-roads and over the River Nene at Stanground Washes via the Shanks Millennium Bridge.”

Head back towards Peterborough now on the North Bank, turning right after about 500m, and continue following the track past Flag Fen archaeological site, emerging onto Pearces Road at Halfpenny Toll House. Immediate right then left onto Willow Hall Lane. After just under two miles, turn right onto a field track at the Green Wheel sign post.

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“After just under two miles, turn right onto a field track at the Green Wheel sign post.”

After 1.3 miles you emerge onto Eyebury Road, turn right and go through Eye, crossing the A47 by the cycle route bridge on the right side of the roundabout. Over the second roundabout and then left after 200m into Green Road. Here, due to the new A16, the route is not well signposted. I went all the way to the end of Green Road and turned right at the T junction, meeting the A16 shortly afterwards. If you cross the road carefully, you can then ride a service road north for 0.8 mile until you rejoin the Green Wheel route and turn left down Middle Road. [There is a cycle track coming in from the right here so I suspect that the new GW route takes a right turn half way down Green Road onto Turves Road although this is not sign-posted and is barred to traffic.]

Right at the next X-roads into Newborough and straight across the B1443 Thorney Road into Willow Drove. At the end of Willow Drove, turn left and follow the gravelly track down to Peakirk. Turning right at the junction with the B1443 then left at the T junction in Peakirk itself leads you to Glinton. In Glinton, turn right down North Fen Rd at the church (not well signposted), and continue until left at the T junction. At the next T, right then immediate left to cross Lincoln Rd. Under the A15 via the triple tunnel (the middle one is best). Left at the T with Etton Road, through Etton and straight over the next X roads.

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“Under the A15 via the triple tunnel (the middle one is best).”

After about 750m there is a manned level crossing which held me up for 20 minutes. After crossing the railway, turn left at the T junction onto Woodcroft Rd and then right at the next T into Marholm. In Marholm, R then immediate L into Castor Rd.

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The manned rail crossing between Etton and Marholm.


Turn right at the next T to cross the busy A47 and second left down Ferry Hill back to the start. (NB the first left is no entry and is an exit slip road from the A47.)

Total GW Distance = 42 miles

Refreshment stops: There are not many opportunities for refreshments en route, so if you want to build in a stop, plan a start/end point so that you arrive at the Ferry Meadows visitor centre (or one of the northern villages) for a break at a convenient time.

Link to interactive map

Cuba Tour 2011

A link to my write up of our Cuba Tour of 2011 on the Crazy Guy on a Bike website.

Pedal Castro: Tour of Cuba


The 3 Castles Ride from Oundle

3_castles_rideThis 40 mile route passes three local castles and apart from three very short sections on A roads and passing through Thrapston, is all on quiet country lanes.

On leaving Oundle via the south bridge you pass Barnwell country park and Barnwell lock gates on your right. After about 2 miles turn right onto the A605 and then very shortly afterwards turn left towards Barnwell village. You don’t go into the village proper but follow the road ignoring the two right turns. At the second of these you will catch a glimpse of our first castle.

Continue to follow the road turning left at the T-junction (4 miles). From here you descend to the roundabout on the A605 where you turn right (3rd exit) and ride a short distance along the main road until you take the first left to Tansor. An alternative route to Tansor if you are on mountain bikes is to turn right through Ashton before you get to the A605 and, after passing the Chequered Skipper pub and taking the left fork by Murder Cottage, follow the road past the Oundle School rifle range (it now becomes a track). If you take this alternative route then you will need to turn left where the track joins the road, and follow this road across the A 605 and into Tansor via a pair of gates.

As you go through Tansor, with the church on your left, you will see the old rectory, Tansor Court. Follow the road north to Fotheringhay. As you approach Fothringhay, just before the bridge, you will have a very fine view of the church on your left and the remains of our second Castle on the right. This is the Castle where Richard III was born and Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded.

Taking the right turn in the village centre (near the church entrance) you ride up a short hill and take the right turn at the top to descend into Elton. As you pass the Crown pub on your left take the right fork by the Green and then follow the road up a short sharp hill turning left at the T junction towards Peterborough on the old Oundle road. This road goes up a hill and you take the next right into Bullock Road once you get to the bottom on the other side. Go straight over the cross roads, and then left at the first T junction and then right at the next towards Gt Gidding.

In Gt Gidding turn right at the cross roads at the bottom of the hill and then first left to Thurning and continue on this road to Clopton where you turn right at the T junction and then next left towards Titchmarsh. Right at the T-junction and into the village of Titchmarsh. The site of castle number 3 is visible from the road on your left by the old style redpillar post box.

Turn left after passing the church, then follow this road over two roundabouts and down the hill into Thrapston. Straight over another mini roundabout and then turn right after crossing the River Nene into Islip. Ride all the way through Islip and turn right at the T junction with the A6116, taking the first right after about 300m. You can avoid this short stretch of A road by taking the path as the road bends to the left before the T junction. This lane will take you into Aldwincle and turning left at the T junction in the village you simply follow the road all the way back into Oundle.

3 Castles Ride gpx file

Kettering Hilly 20 mile Time Trial

results sheet

1980 results sheet

Back in 1980, the Kettering Friendly Cycling Club’s Hardriders’ Hilly 22 mile time trial was the traditional opening race of the new season. It was the first ever open event I rode, having ridden 20 club events the previous year, and a handful towards the end of the year before that. I finished at the back of the field, not surprisingly, in 1:12:40 (18.2 mph) for 33rd out of 42 starters and 6 non-starters.

Fast forward to 2015 and the event is still going, as the Mark Bell Memorial. Kettering Friendly CC amalgamated with Kettering Amateur CC to become Kettering CC (although as there still is a Kettering Amateur in existence I guess it wasn’t a unanimously supported decision). Also, due to changing road conditions, the old two laps of the Grafton Underwood, Slipton, Sudborough, Brigstock circuit has be replaced with a single lap encompassing the old course but only including two short stretches of it.

Although I had intended to enter this year, my training is still behind schedule so thought better of it. Looking at the start sheet though, one name does reappear from 1980, Richard Daniells timekeeper in both 1980 and 35 years later in 2015! So instead of racing I went out training first and then home to pick up my camera and take a few photos.

The winner was, unsurprisingly, Matt Bottrill, although 41:52 (28.7 mph) was very impressive on a super windy day.

Kettering CC Hilly 20

2015 winner Matt Bottrill

Kettering CC Hilly 20

Gavin Hinxman of the promoting club finishes 7th



Kettering CC Hilly 20

Phil Melling finished 6th, starting a minute behind favourite and winner Matt Bottrill.


Kettering CC Hilly 20

It has now become traditional to wear number thirteen upside down.



2nd placed Andy Jackson

2nd placed Andy Jackson

3rd placed Matt Sinclair

3rd placed Matt Sinclair