Thursday, 16 November 2017

16 Nov: Thursday ride to Horseheath and Kentford

Edward writes: In Hauxton sixteen riders met for our ride out to Horseheath and Kentford, with Edmund doing the honours. Back in the city Rupert led a group of nine. The weather in the morning was benign with barely any wind, but the forecast reckoned it would start to turn cooler later in the afternoon. At the start Edmund outlined the route he would take as we would leave in two groups; in the event this became three groups. We made our way along to Whittlesford and in the process picking up one or two others, Horseheath being a popular coffee stop.


The cycleway into Sawston and out to Babraham brought us to the farm track over the A11 to Abington. We carried on via Hildersham and Linton and then Bartlow.

Running repairs in Babraham

Great Bradley

Owing to a puncture we had become a well-scattered group of riders with the leading group taking the correct route from Bartlow via Shudy Camps, the second group, however, made their choice to go from Bartlow to Streetly End. The third group who had the puncture eventually arrived in Horseheath a little later than all the others, route unknown.

As ever, Horseheath was the venue for several others who had journeyed out independently, and among them was Vic - always good to see him out. Our leaders decreed that coffee should be a short break and almost everybody had started the second leg by 11.30am. This was necessary as the ride to lunch would be twenty-one miles. This leg took us up to Carlton and then via the club favourite road to Little Thurlow and Great Bradley.

Autumn colours near Gazeley

Now followed the country lanes in this Cambridgeshire-Suffolk border region through Kirtling, Upend, Ashley and Gazeley and as we passed through the tree-lined roads the autumn colours were truly spectacular. From Gazeley it was but a short run down to the B1506 with our lunch stop at the Animal Health Trust less than a mile away.

Lunch at Kentford

Fortunately it was still just about warm enough to sit outside but our numbers overwhelmed the staff and for a while they struggled to cope. However, Rupert applied all his well known diplomatic skills and was able to soothe ruffled feathers. Those who wanted food did eventually get it and by 1.45pm we were on the road again, starting in a brief shower.

Our return journey took us up to Moulton with the climb over the hill into Cheveley and the undulating roads to Dullingham. Here there was the final parting of the ways with Rupert taking his city residents via Swaffham Bulbeck and Edmund's groups set course to Balsham via West Wratting. The darkness seemed to have come early and lights were on most of the way home as we finished the ride via Hildersham, Abington and Sawston with the ride finishing at 4pm and 64 miles to the good. Thanks to Edmund and Rupert as manoeuvring such a large group over 64 miles is some feat! Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

New committee for 2017-2018

At our AGM on Sunday 12th December a new committee was elected for 2017-2018. The new committee is listed here. Minutes of the AGM are now available here or by following the link on the agenda page.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

12 Nov: Afternoon ride to Hauxton for the AGM

John F writes: Almost perfect cycling conditions, only slightly marred by a cold North Westerly breeze, and the prospect of an excellent tea at the AGM tempted 14 riders to set off from Brookside at 1pm. On Grange Road the number increased by Phil making 15 in all. That must be some kind of record for a winter afternoon ride.

I had planned a route that could be shortened in order to fit into the arrival time of 3pm. In the event we arrived two minutes late. Most riders were familiar with the route through Coton, Madingley, Dry Drayton, Hardwick, Kingston (with magnificent views from the hilltop). From there it was downhill through the Eversdens, Harlton (now sadly with no pub) to Haslingfield. Here I discarded the planned route over Chapel Hill to Barrington and Fowlmere for the direct route through Harston to Hauxton. The so-called "cycle track" beside the A10 is here nothing more than a narrow, twisty and bumpy footpath. How long does it take to make a cycle track?

As leader I was somewhat spooked by the number of riders so no photos and Strava refuses to upload the route. John E did sterling work as sweeper: an essential role with so many cyclists. Tea was as anticipated excellent so many thanks from the afternoon riders to all the providers and helpers. The AGM business was expeditiously dealt with too so it was altogether an enjoyable afternoon.

After tea I returned to Cambridge with three of our group through Trumpington Meadows Country Park - a very pleasant ride after dark. Here Mike K spotted an owl quartering the terrain but the rest of us missed it. John Ferguson

12 Nov: Sunday ride to Saffron Walden, Clavering and Hauxton for the AGM

Ian B writes: In response to Rupert’s recent appeal for leaders for the Nov/Dec rides, I spotted this ride to Saffron Walden and (at the time) Lower Langley. With the finish being at the AGM in Hauxton, I figured that this shorter than usual Sunday ride would be relatively stress free. I planned the route and went out to test it. That was a good idea as RideWithGPS had mapped me through some private property. So after a slight tweak the route was set. That was until a few days before the ride when Rupert found out the chef at the Bull Inn had heard we were coming and suddenly required a holiday. Fortunately Rupert found some spare lunch capacity at the Fox and Hounds in Clavering and after another route change, everything was in place.

The Sunday weather forecast was for the first cold snap of the autumn, with a max. of 6C and gusts of 20mph into our faces expected on the return leg. By 9.30am five of us had mustered at Brookside in full winter kit, Alex, Mark, Rupert, Simon and myself, with Tom H just catching us as we set off. Sheila joined us in Shelford on the usual CTC route to Saffron Walden.


The wind was behind us so we made good time but at the base of Coploe Hill, Alex realised that as it was Remembrance Day, the centre of Saffron Walden would be closed. Rupert redirected us through Littlebury so little time was lost.

At Bicicletta Coffee we met up with several more CTC members who had made their own way there and thankfully were served relatively quickly. Worryingly at one stage a police car arrived outside and an armed officer alighted but thankfully it was just security for the Armistice Ceremony being held at the Cenotaph.

We observed the 2 mins silence in the cafe and, having walked up the hill past the road blocks, set off on the 1 hour leg to lunch, via Widdington and Rickling. Now there were nine of us as Alex went back and Andy, Sarah and Nigel joined us. (Nigel was on his way back from Great Dunmow after receiving his Essex Super Randonneur medal).

Rickling (Photo: Nigel Deakin)

After lunch in Clavering (Photo: Nigel Deakin)

The Fox and Hounds in Clavering was a welcome, warm haven and lunch went down well enough for Rupert to be adding this to our Stops List. However I was conscious that we had 18 miles into a strong headwind back to the AGM in order to get our Runs Secretary re-elected. (I knew I would be drummed out of the CTC if we were late). We needed an average of 12mph to achieve the 3pm deadline, so we set off and in convoyspeak "put the hammer down". Our route home was via Lower Langley, Shaftenhoe End and Fowlmere. At times, unfortunately, the group became fragmented and apologies to Simon who, with his handlebar gauntlets creating some serious drag, lost contact and missed a turn at Barley.

In the end, Rupert sped ahead and was well in time. So all's well that ends well but I'll be more experienced the next time I plan a ride which has to be back by a certain time. The ride totalled 46 miles in all. Ian Bamborough

At the AGM (Photo: Nigel Deakin)

Download GPS track (GPX).