On went the urban wheels, up went the tyre pressures and off I went into the local lanes of Cambridgeshire. For an on-road ride – that was the plan!

Of course, everything started to plan. It was unusual for me to be out during day light hours and not riding at 9 at night or 6 in the morning under LED light. I headed out down my tried and tested route via Stilton off towards Lutton but then as I had a bit more time available than usual I decided to keep going. Soon I passed the sign for Northamptonshire, which encouraged me to ‘grow’.

Grow what?
Grow what?

Not entirely sure what I’m supposed to grow. Maybe it was suggesting that I should go home, sit on the sofa, eat popcorn and watch TV; that’s certainly one way to ‘let yourself grow’! Instead I ventured beyond the sign and started taking new roads, just because they looked inviting. One in particular was nicely resurfaced and forked up a gentle incline off the main road, to the right, so off I went.

Papley Road
Papley Road

It was called Papley Road and was indeed a nice surface for some fast rolling and so I sped off up it towards Warmington. I’ve taken the road south of Warmington before and the downside is that it ends at the A605 and although there’s a cyclepath alongside the main road it’s not the nicest section to ride. However, I had a feeling that there was a way through to Warmington by means of a bridleway. It turned out to be a byway. And it turned out to have a river running across it. And following the recent weather it seemed to be relatively deep.

Straight through the middle
Straight through the middle

Now, I didn’t know what was under all that water and I still don’t to be honest but being a byway I figured that there should be a reasonably ridable surface under there somewhere, even for my skinny slick rubber. So I decided that a decent pace straight through the middle and hope for the best was a good option. Which it was and apart from a wet right foot and picking up a load of gritty water all over my bike I sailed through (excuse the pun). So my little off-road excursion turned out to be quite good fun even with my urban wheelset fitted.

Upon arriving into Warmington I stopped at a T-junction and two roadies passed by, one on a Cannondale and the other on a Focus, both proper road bikes and I got to wondering whether or not I’d have ridden through on my byway if I’d been riding a posh road bike. I guess not, but then I would probably have had more fun on the well surfaced lanes instead. And I decided that there will still be a place for my urban wheelset even if I do end up buying a posh road bike to add to my MuddyGoose. Off-road tyres on my mountain bike for off-roading, fast road tyres on a road bike for fast clean road fun and my urban wheelset will see me nicely through all the stuff in between.

A couple more lanes, a couple more hills, nothing eventful or worthy of mention and I rolled up back home. I’m not particularly vigilant with my bike cleaning, so MuddyGoose went away into the garage with a thin overall film of grit and grime and remains that way now.