Travellers' tales: The Northampton Ninety-Nine

(L to R) Peter, Ron, Bob, Ross, and Andy.
Bob Caldwell rode a century with septuagenarian companions.

Despite most of us nudging 80, the Rugby Wednesday Riders still ride each week, as we have done since 1993, usually with our founder, Avril Eyre, who is 85. Our annual 100- miler has grown into three separate hundreds, the latest of which was a tour of Northamptonshire: the Northampton 99.

We began at Rugby, soon leaving the hilly part of Northamptonshire and arriving at Boycott Farm near Buckingham, where there’s an excellent café. The next stage was to cross the A5, which we managed via an excellent flyover-type cycle path.

With that noisy and dangerous dual carriageway behind us, we continued to Weston Underwood for lunch at the Cowper’s Oak. The pub’s name refers to an ancient and long-gone oak, beneath which William Cowper sat composing poetry.

After lunch, our ride passed quiet villages like Ravenstone and Stoke Goldington en route to Stoke Bruerne, where there’s another lovely café at the Waterways Museum.

We arrived in Rugby at about seven o’clock, all with a mileage comfortably in three figures. The following day was spent poring over maps to see what improvements could be incorporated for next year.