Sunday, 26 July 2015

26 Jul: Sunday afternoon ride to Wicken

John writes: As I waited at Brookside I watched a stream of waterproof-clad cyclists winkle their way through the log-jammed traffic towards Midsummer Common, the endpoint of the Bike Events London-Cambridge bike ride.

Only two companions (John E and Simon) joined me in the steady drizzle for the ride to Wicken. We reached the Addenbrookes site via Alpha Terrace in Trumpington and left it via Red Cross Lane to climb Wort's Causeway with a magnificent view over the rain-sodden countryside. Traffic was very light: perhaps it was all in the Cambridge logjam!

We reached Wicken Methodist Chapel at 4 o'clock precisely, having cycled through Fulbourn, the Wilbrahams, Bottisham, the Swaffhams (where the rain increased to a deluge), Burwell and Wicken Fen.

The chapel was busy but we were the only cyclists. This was my first visit and what a treat it was! Cakes magnificent in quantity and quality had been prepared by Ida. Simon is a regular customer here - and no wonder.

After tea the rain had increased with cold squalls across the fens. From the Lower Road the usually splendid view of Ely Cathedral was obscured in grey rain clouds. We joined the Lode Cycle Way after Upware. Somewhere along this route Simon left us for a riparian route to his houseboat. From Lode, John and I agreed to take the direct route to Quy which had only light traffic. On Midsummer Common the Bike Events tents were being dismantled.

I was home at 6pm precisely having cycled 37 miles (This is approximate as my ancient GPS doesn't like foul weather and had gone to sleep in protest. It's time to buy a new one). John Ferguson

26 Jul: Sunday morning ride to Newmarket

Nigel writes: With an area of low pressure sitting right on top of the British Isles, the summary from the weather forecast was that there would be "no sign of summer" until it went away. In our part of the country that meant a cool and dull day, with heavy rain arriving from about 11am. So when I cycled across to Brookside I didn't expect to see anyone other than John our leader and so was pleased to find both Mike CC and Li there as well.

John led us south-east out of Cambridge along Hills Road to Addenbrooke's, where we turned left onto Wort's Causeway for the gentle climb over the Gogs to Fulbourn. From there we continued through Great Wilbraham to Little Wilbraham. Along the way we were overtaken by a pair of faster riders and I decided to tag along at the back. They towed me along the long drag to Six Mile Bottom and half-way up the hill towards Brinkley as far as the Woddland Cemetery. There I turned left for Dullingham and the final few miles down into Newmarket, arriving at Coffee and Co at about 10.30am.

A large contingent from the West Suffolk Wheelers were sitting outside, so I went inside where I found Adrian. After a short while we were joined by Eva, Jim and Joseph and a few minutes after that Mike CC, Li and John arrived.

Coffee and Co is a pleasant cafe though getting the coffee and cake you ordered a few minutes earlier is always a hit-and-miss affair, with staff wandering around the place calling out things like "large latte and carrot cake" and expecting to be flagged down by the appropriate customer. When I asked why they didn't simply ask people their names when taking orders the staff member seem surprised by my question, and replied "we don't". Inevitably the usual confusion occurred again today, with Adrian being presented with the same incorrect coffee twice, me receiving two plates of the same cake, and similar incompetent bumbling.

As we sat inside the cafe it started to drizzle and we all agreed to ride back to Cambridge. We followed NCN 51 north to Exning and then west through Burwell and Upware to join the Lodes Way. As we rode along the rain got steadily heavier and I was glad that we weren't cycling along busy roads being splashed by overtaking cars.

Heading home from Exning towards Burwell

We followed the Lodes Way west to Lode where the group split, with Jim and John joining the B1102 to Quy and Eva and me taking the longer but much quieter route via Bottisham. The rain continued to get heaver and heavier and I was beginning to feel cold, so I was glad I didn't have far to go. At Fen Ditton I waved goodbye to Eva and caught up with Adrian who had left us at Burwell. After following the river back into Cambridge I arrived home at 12.50pm, having cycled 42 miles.



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Thursday, 23 July 2015

23 Jul: Thursday ride to Cottenham and Ely

Edward writes: This Thursday we took the rare step of venturing north of Cambridge by going into the Fens for our journey to Cottenham and Ely. The weather was in a gentle mood, i.e. light cloud cover, just a touch of wind and a moderate temperature.

For this ride we welcomed Margaret who has been on several Saturday introductory rides but this was to be her first time on an all-day ride.

With Rupert at the helm thirteen riders set off towards Barton and then into Cambridge for a trip over Lammas Land to the Mill, and then up Pembroke Street and Downing Street, Clarendon Street, Midsummer Common and down to the river.

By the Mill Pond, Cambridge

Pembroke Street, Cambridge

This was all very unusual for us but also very pleasurable, a city centre ride so different from our normal rides out into the country.

Riverside, Cambridge

This took us over the river to join the towpath up to Baits Bite Lock and it was very quiet and calm but no doubt when the Bumps resume later in the day it will became a lot more lively.

Near the old Pike and Eel

Towards Baits Bike Lock

We reached Waterbeach and then over the A10 into Landbeach where we made the turn for the run in to Cottenham and coffee at the Community Centre. Already there we found eight more members and also one or two others who arrived a little later, including Brian M who it was very good to see getting out and about again.

Landbeach

The Community Centre was very friendly and welcoming and we were able to enjoy a pleasant break before resuming our journey shortly before mid-day.

When we left Cottenham we had to go along the rather busy Twenty Pence road to reach Wilburton where we turned into Grunty Fen and along typical fen roads to Wentworth. We crossed the busy A142 and headed to Coveney and now we started to get views of Ely Cathedral in the distance; we paused for a while in Coveney which is a rare high spot in the fens.

Mike CC at Coveney with Ely Cathedral in background

Coveney

On resumption we went through the tiny hamlet of Way Head and soon after poor Adrian was involved in a collision with a chicken which sadly passed away as a result of its injuries.

Way Head

Next came Little Downham and a few more miles took us into Ely where we made our way to Cheryl's house who, with Charles, had invited us to sit in their garden for our lunch break. They have a lovely walled garden and it was really nice to sit outside and enjoy it all with Cheryl supplying copious quantities of tea and flapjack. Out thanks to both Cheryl and Charles for their hospitality but at about 2.15pm it was time to get under way again.

Cheryl's Garden, Ely

Rupert led the way through the centre of Ely and out to join the NCN 11 cycle path (also part of the Fen Rivers Way) that runs south alongside the River Great Ouse towards Barway and the food processing factory there.

Heading south from Ely along NCN 11

We progressed along to Wicken where we branched off to go to Upware and then ride parallel to Reach Lode before stopping at the turning for Reach. At this point we still had seventeen riders and about four opted to head for Lode whilst the remainder headed to the ancient village of Reach.

Reach Turning on the Lodes Way

By now we were getting close to Cambridge as Swaffham Prior and Swaffham Bulbeck came next and then Bottisham and the cycleway alongside the A1303 to the Fen Ditton turning where the ride effectively ended with one group going into Cambridge and the other via Cherry Hinton and points south of the city.

We don't go north of the city very often but this was a very successful outing going into many villages not often visited by us and the flat fen scenery has a special fascination about it, the more so with the magnificent Cathedral in the background. Our thanks to Rupert for a splendid ride and for those who went back to Haslingfield would have completed 66 miles and for a ride led by the Runs Secretary it wouldn't do to have done any more! Edward Elmer



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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

22 Jul: Evening ride to Newton

Nigel writes: This evening's ride took us south of Cambridge and into the chalk hills that lie along the border with Essex. The weather was certainly warm (after all, it is mid-July), but at 6:30pm as we assembled at Brookside it seemed a little cooler than it had been on recent evening rides, perhaps caused by the presence of brooding clouds which offered a slight threat of rain.

My companions this evening were Gareth, Chris, Neil, John and Luc. Our route this evening took us south out of Cambridge, along the busway and DNA path to Great Shelford and then along the pancake-flat Cam valley through Whittlesford and Duxford to Ickleton. Gareth was soon disappearing off into the distance but for the rest of us the speed this week was moderate, with no repeat of last week's frenzied chainganging.

For a brief moment we had a bit of drizzle which caused me to put on my rain jacket, but it stopped after a couple of minutes, the sun came out, the temperature rose, and I took my jacket off again.

At Ickleton John separated from the group to take a shorter route. This left four of us to continue south for a loop over the low chalk hills that lie along the border with Essex. First of all we climbed Coploe Hill before dropping down briefly before the second climb up to Catmere End.

Rain clouds over Coploe Hill (Photo: Gareth Rees)

From Catmere End we descended down the other side of the ridge, passing through Littlebury Green on our way down to the B1039. We followed this road west along the valley for half a mile before turning back north and climbing back up the ridge to Elmdon.

As we approached the top of the climb Luc asked me what had happened to Gareth. I said that he had probably taken a longer route but would probably overtake us any time now, which, by coincidence, he did about five seconds later.

Luc, Chris and Neil on Coploe Hill

From Elmdon we continued west along the ridge to Hertford Lane End near Chrishall before turning north and descending to Chrishall Grange and the final few miles through the Cambridgeshire flatlands to Newton.

We stopped for drinks at The Queen's Head, where John had arrived a few moments before. Afterwards we returned to Cambridge via Harston, the cycle path across Trumpington Meadows, and the busway once more. I arrived home at 9.35pm, having cycled 33 miles.



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