Beautiful sunshine, warm spring Saturday morning and like minded company to ride with; ideal ingredients for a “Cafe Stop” ride. In this case not only my first of the year but also my first, full stop. Being new to the road riding scene stopping off at cafes mid-ride hasn’t been in my repertoire until now.

Saturday morning’s weather was perfect for a relaxed ride out into the countryside and saw me accompanied by two friends; Darren having recently acquired a new flat-bar road bike and eager to give it good run. So taking on the role of route planner, I devised a loop to take us from the west side of Peterborough out to Oundle via Fotheringhay and then back again using the lanes further south through Polebrook.

The cake didn't last long

The cake didn’t last long

The lanes out from Alwalton to Oundle pass through several small villages; the country pubs and small churches kind of places, which provides a nice scenic backdrop to a ride on a sunny day. Fortunately, during this leg I was too busy just enjoying the ride to take any photos; sorry. However once we’d sat down and demolished some cake & coffee I managed to get the camera out.

Beans Coffee Stop in Oundle is the original shop in a local chain of coffee shops around this area and it’s well positioned in the centre of the town. We took the prime cyclist’s spot at the edge of the pavement seating area. Able to keep an eye on the bikes with no need for locks, sat out in the sunshine and enjoying watching the world go by in the nice market town that is Oundle. We weren’t the only roadies out enjoying the lanes and the beans, there were several other groups of 2s or 3s that arrived shortly after.

Disappearing into the distance

Disappearing into the distance

The second half of the loop took in fewer villages but it’s still a good ride, incorporating several nice lanes; one particular lane is recently resurfaced and riding this way around provides a lovely fast slight downhill run before dropping down into a flowing right/left. With a smooth running road bike the opportunity to carry some speed through sections like this is too good to miss.

With the ride now drawing to a close, we said our farewells and I broke off from our 3 man peleton to head home, having saved myself a decent hill climb to finish off with. Still buzzing from the cocktail of caffeine, cake and company, the hill up to Haddon was gobbled up nearly as quickly as the chocolate brownie from earlier and I made good time through the final few kms.

Saved the best hill until last

Saved the best hill until last

I’m a regular solo rider, mostly out of necessity and sometimes out of a want to ride at my pace, but the best and most memorable rides are usually the ones that are shared. Cake or no cake!