Brampton Valley Way bike ride (any bike)
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This gentle bike ride is 32 miles long, a completely off road there-and-back ride on a gritted path with level terrrain suitable for any bike at any time of year. There are no steep climbs and a brisk pace is possible, although sadly the local side roads and bridle routes do not facilitate a circular route you will enjoy splendid views of open farmland sheltered from the wind for the majority of the trip. Our journey will take us from the Windhover public house at the edge of Northampton onto the former railway and alongside the Northampton & Lamport Steam Railway. The path leads north into Leicestershire to the town of Market Harborough where we will stop for a warming drink, and a deserved break, before the return journey.
The Brampton Valley Way follows the route of the former Northampton to Market Harborough Railway, which was closed in 1981 and is now managed by Northamptonshire County Council as a linear country park. A single gravel surface dirt track from Boughton Crossing to Little Bowden provides recreation for cyclists and walkers. The way also forms an offroad section of the Sunstrans National Cycle Network, Route 6.
There are two former railway tunnels on the route at Kelmarsh (294m long) and at Oxendon (422m long). The tunnels are unlit and so can be quite an experience to travel through; cyclists will need lights on their bike or a head torch. The surface inside the tunnel is not level and has several large potholes to catch the unwary.
What to bring
Winter has come! Prepare against the cold, wet and mud; so you remain warm and dry. You must wear a cycle helmet for this event.
Bring safety glasses, unshaded for winter cycling to protect against the mud flicking off your tyres.
Bring a spare inner tube, tyre levers, bike pump and any specialist gear your bike needs for repairs.
On this ocassion you will need lights for the tunnels.
Bring a small rucksack for your lunch and kit.
Wear some outdoor walking shoes, old trainers or trainer boots and expect it to be muddy underfoot.
Bring some dry socks and trainers to change into at the end.
Expect the potential for rain and wear quick drying clothes.
Bring a waterproof jacket that you can fold down into your daypack.
It is likely to be cold and the wind can be bitter, so wear layers of lightweight clothes over a base layer.
Bring plenty of water, a packed lunch and some energy food (chocolate, sweets etc.).
Carry some money for the pub.
If you carry important medicines, please let me know privately.
Food & drink
Bring a packed lunch, there are no shops along the way. We will stop at a picnic spot to eat lunch or in Market Harborough depending on progress. There are shops in the town if you wish to pick something up, and we shall certainly break here at one of the pubs before the return trip. I expect that an end of journey stop in the The Windhover may also be appreciated.