Thursday, 21 September 2017

21 Sep: Thursday ride to Horseheath and Castle Hedingham

Edward writes: This Thursday Edmund our leader took us out to Horseheath for coffee and Castle Hedingham for lunch, with Rupert leading the city six from Brookside. The start time had been brought forward to 9.15am but this didn't prevent a latecomer who has to remains nameless.

Edmund got a grip on matters from the start and divided the sixteen or so riders into two groups. His plans, though, had to be changed owing to the level crossing at Sawston being closed. This meant a diversion through Great Shelford, a bit busy at this time of the morning, which took us past the Gog Magog golf course and the climb over the Gogs to Fulbourn.

Gogs Summit, but business as usual

This now meant a long straight road to Balsham which must be about five miles and all of it uphill; not a pleasant ride but we reached Balsham unscathed.

Fulbourn to Balsham

Now further out into the country we arrived at Balsham by way of Streetly End. As is usual with the Old Red Lion in Horseheath we found a number of 'independents', including Malcolm and Gwen, such that we more or less took over the pub.

Preparing to leave Horseheath

After coffee we seemed to leave in a number of different groups with the usual smattering returning home. As we crossed the A1307 for Cardinal's Green we encountered a lone cyclist pedalling this main road and it turned out that he was cycle-touring and was heading to the Harwich ferry to his home in Holland. Adrian persuaded him that he would be better off with us rather than staying on the A1307 as directed by his GPS. He was quite prominent in that he was riding bare-chested and he stayed with us all the way to Castle Hedingham where he also lunched with us.

Towards Castle Camps

We made slow but steady progress through the Bumpsteads, Stambourne and Toppesfield. All went well through good cycling countryside until a junction caused some confusion, but not to Adrian. It never pays to go against Adrian and those who did found themselves having to turn back and shamefacedly returning to the junction and going the way the Adrian had originally said. What would Homer Simpson have said!

Helions Bumpstead

Finally we arrived in Castle Hedingham but only as the leading group was leaving. It seems that Buckley's, our lunch stop, had coped well despite the numbers exceeding our estimate.

Sible Hedingham to Wethersfield

Sible Hedingham to Wethersfield

Our now small group left Castle Hedingham at 2.20pm and made our way to Wethersfield which now shows little sign of the large American airbase which closed some years ago. This proved the turning point as now we were no longer riding into the wind as we had all morning but now faced more north-westerly and the wind was more or less behind us.

Finchingfield came next and then back to Helions Bumpstead and as we were obviously far behind the leading group we carried on to Castle Camps rather than Edmund's chosen route via Olmstead Green.

At least after Castle Camps it was all downhill to Bartlow and Linton. We completed the ride through Little Abington, over the farm track to Babraham, Sawston and Great Shelford, arriving at 5 pm and for those doing the route correctly about 68 miles. Although we didn't see much of our leaders our thanks to both of them for their efforts. Edward Elmer

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Saturday, 16 September 2017

6 Sep: Evening ride to Balsham

Nigel writes: There were six of us on tonight's ride, with a seventh joining us at the pub. The nights are drawing in rapidly now, and the sun set after little more than an hour. The Bull in Balsham is still a relatively new stop on these evening rides, but it has already become a firm fixture due to its excellent location which allows a nice route from Cambridge: over the Gogs to Fulbourn, through the Wilbrahams to Six Mile Bottom, up Brinkley Hill to Brinkley and finally a loop through Carlton and West Wickham back to Balsham.

On the way to Great Wilbraham

As always these are chatty, sociable rides and I was probably distracted when I added an unplanned diversion via West Wratting, but we were soon back on track and arrived at the pub in good time at 8.20pm.

Dinner in Balsham

After a pleasant hour or so we set off back towards Cambridge. It was now completely dark, and I encouraged the group to stay close together for the fast descent down to Charterhouse Bridge and Fulbourn. This proved a good road to use in the dark: simple to navigate and free from unexpected bumps and potholes.

From Fulbourn we took the Old Drift route to Cherry Hinton and along the tins to Mill Road, where the group dispersed. I arrived back home in Cambridge at about 10.10pm, having cycled 56km (35 miles).Nigel Deakin

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Thursday, 31 August 2017

Rides in Sept and Oct

We are pleased to announce our rides lists for September and October. We have squeezed a few more longer rides on Sundays and Thursdays to take advantage of your well-honed cycling legs after a good summer of riding. And we've also added a last set of visits to the popular church hall teas in Braughing and Wicken to keep the club cakeaholics happy.

Starting in September, we are trialling a new shorter afternoon ride on alternate Sundays. These are aimed at beginners who would like to try a Sunday afternoon ride ans find our normal afternoon rides a little too arduous, though of course we hope it will be attractive to afternoon regulars too. We also hope some new leaders will volunteer to try their hand at leading with these shorter rides.

Leaders are still needed for many of our other rides as well. A big club thank you to everyone who has already volunteered. But more volunteers are needed to fill the gaps - please do take a look at the ride lists and get in touch with me if you are able to lead one. Rupert Goodings

31 Aug: Thursday ride to Saffron Walden and Clare

Edward writes:Twenty cyclists met at Haslingfield Green in near ideal conditions for today's ride out to Saffron Walden and lunch at Clare. There was only the gentlest of wind, a nice temperature and only the prospect of rain in the late afternoon, and so it proved for any late finishers with torrential rain at 5.30pm (Averil!). Once again Mike C was our leader and back at Brookside Alan had a party of six.

We left Haslingfield in two groups and made our way towards Harston and over the hill into Newton, Whittlesford and down to the A505. This was quite busy but we all crossed safely into Duxford and took the route through the factory area and after a brief wait at the level crossing, over the ford into Hinxton. We rolled along at a leisurely pace and at the Ickleton level crossing we had to wait for another train; not very often that happens.

Hinxton level crossing

Ickleton level crossing

By the time we were going up Coploe Hill, Mike with the second group, had caught us up and we all assembled at the summit for the regulation photo.

Coploe Hill summit

After the run down Chestnut Avenue and the climb up from Audley End mansion we arrived in Saffron Walden and The Temeraire at 11am and as expected found the city group already installed.

Saffron Walden

The Temeraire has extended the outside sitting-out area even further from the last time we were here. It is all laid out on artificial grass and it looks very attractive making it a nice pleasant area to sit out in, especially on a nice day like today. Not only were the city group here but several others who had cycled out independently, including Bill P, Mike S and the indefatigable Vic. Despite our numbers the staff dealt very quickly with us all and we were soon sitting out in the sun.

After the usual comings and goings we left in two manageable groups with Alan's group heading off up the hill towards the war memorial and Mike took his group out of town along Ashdon Road. And after so long in a terrible state of repair it was such a pleasure to find that the road has been resurfaced; previously it was always a nightmare to cycle on. At the top of hill we turned into Newhouse Lane which is always very nice and then into Radwinter and down to Great Sampford.


Just out of Little Sampford we branched off the main road into the quieter roads to Cornish Hall End. We were now away from most of the traffic and conditions were ideal for a good ride. Cornish Hall End was followed by Stambourne and Ridgewell where we met the A1017. This was only for a few yards before taking the turning for Ashen and from there it was an easy run, mainly downhill into Clare.

As usual some went to local cafes in the town but many others went to the park and found a newly opened cafe in the old station buildings. This was very nice and now makes the trip to Clare and even better destination. Being a former railway station there was some railway memorabilia, including a timetable from 1961 which showed Sudbury to Cambridge took an hour and a quarter, which didn’t seem bad.

Cafe at the old station, Clare

The old station, Clare

Alan first led a smaller group away and Mike followed at 2.35pm with a dozen. After heading north for a short while we turned west and went through Chilton Street and Brockley Green before passing through Kedington. After we had crossed the A143 our journey home took us through Great Wratting and Withersfield where we noticed that one of occasional coffee venues, the pub, formerly Bradman’s is now called the White Horse, so it might be worth checking if they would still do coffee for us.

We finished our ride through West Wickham, Balsham, Hildersham, Abington, Sawston and Great Shelford. Those going back to Haslingfield would have completed 70 miles. As always thanks to both our leaders for another good late summer’s ride.
Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).