Thursday, 30 October 2014

30 Oct: Thursday ride to Hare Street and Baldock

Edward writes: Another wonderful day greeted us when about twenty-two riders met for today's ride out to Baldock taking in Hare Street for coffee. Today we welcomed Rachel who was riding with us for the first time and, incidentally, her first contact with the club was our stall at the Freshers's Festival on Parker's Piece a few weeks ago. Averil was our leader and this was a ride that was certainly to have its moments.


They were for later on. We left Hauxton in two groups through Newton and Fowlmere up to Flint Cross on the A505. The following group were not able to stay in touch with lead group but this helped minimise our impact on traffic. Once over the A505 we climbed up to Barley and allowed ourselves a small break to recover our breath; meanwhile, the lead group sped on their way.


When we got going again both groups took the direct route down the B1368 going through Barkway before arriving soon after 11 am at the March Hare Tea Room. The weather was so good that we were able to sit outside and enjoy the sporadic sunshine with the temperature at about seventeen centigrade. Joining us for coffee were Sue, Mike S and Peter W.

Hare Street

Shortly before midday we set off again with the usual exchange of personnel but still about fourteen carried on to Baldock. We stayed together now and cycled at a more moderate pace as we took the short road into Buntingford where we joined the A507 which was an unnerving experience as all the cars seemed to be travelling so fast with scant regard for a group of cyclists. Fortunately this didn't last too long and we turned off for the relative quiet of the road to Throcking and then Cottered. More quiet roads took us past Cromer windmill and the steep climb to Luffenhall. This, of course, was through a lovely autumnal countryside still with its many colours.


Now we approached Weston and events for the next three quarters of an hour ran out of control. We took a turning and joined a bridleway which was intended to take us to Clothall but somehow we missed another turning thus, unbeknown to us, took us away from Clothall and eventually back to a point on the road we had passed an hour earlier. Of course it was not all bad news as the track we were on would have been a delight to Adrian and Jacob but to us it was slow progress and we think we did about three miles in about three quarters of an hour.

Off-road near Weston (Photo: Belinda Borneo)

At this point Sarah, Sue and John J left us to head to Stevenage to take a train home. Once on the road again we had to go back to Weston and then down to Clothall.

Map-reading near Clothall (Photo: Belinda Borneo)

We crossed over the A507 and, via Quickswood, finally arriving in Baldock after 36 miles at 2pm where sadly the Fish and Chicken lunch stop and just closed. Because we were late we were happy to go to the the nearby sandwich bar and sit outside again to enjoy this autumn warmth.


At 2.45 pm it was time to go again and we left Baldock under the railway bridge and joined the particularly nice route via Bygrave to Ashwell. This is very undulating with some fast downhills but also with great views.

The hill up to Ashwell (Photo: Belinda Borneo)

With what breeze there was behind us we soon arrived in Ashwell and then it was a familiar route home through Steeple Morden, Litlington, Bassingbourn to Meldreth.

Arriving in Ashwell (Photo: Belinda Borneo)

From Meldreth we went through Melbourn and past the bird reserve to Fowlmere once again where we retraced the morning ride through Thriplow and Newton and back to Little Shelford. Those who completed the full circuit would have cycled 62 miles. This was our first trip out since the clocks changed last Saturday and we just about got back in daylight, finishing about 4.45 pm. Our thanks to Averil for a great ride and also for the unexpected adventure through the fields. Edward Elmer

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Sunday, 26 October 2014

2014 AGM next Sunday

The AGM of CTC Cambridge will be held at 3.30pm on Sunday 2nd November at Hauxton Village Hall. All committee posts will be up for election. More information here.

26 Oct Morning ride to Ickleton

Nigel writes: The clocks went back this morning, allowing us an extra hour in bed, so I had no difficulty in getting to Brookside in time for the 9:30am start of today's ride. My companions today were Pete, Greg and Tony. There was no designated leader today so I suggested a route via Barton, Chapel Hill, Shepreth, Fowlmere and Chrishall Grange which I knew from experience would get us to the cafe in Ickleton at about 11am.

Today was dull and overcast with a south-westerly breeze, but it was dry and mild which prevented the day feeling as wintry as it appeared.

Barton Road, Cambridge

After a gentle-paced ride we arrived at Ickleton on time to find numerous members already there including Mike, Edward, Doug, Eva, Jim, Adrian, Mick and one or two others.

After coffee Mike, Doug (and possibly one or two others) carried on towards Thaxted for lunch, whilst the rest of us returned home to Cambridge in separate groups. I stayed with Greg and Tony and after making a short diversion to bag the summit of Coploe Hill turned round to head back via Hinxton, Duxford, Whittlesford and the Shelfords.

Along the way we passed Hinxton Ford. The road was closed with signs warning of a flood but there was no flooding currently and we were able to cross the river easily using the adjacent bridge.

Hinxton Ford

I arrived back home just before 1pm, having cycled 33 miles.

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

23 Oct: Thursday ride to Swavesey and Perry

Edward writes: This Thursday would be our last ride out before the clocks go back this weekend thus bringing darkness to the late afternoon. We met at Haslingfield Green and we left with sixteen riders with Tony, our leader for the day, for our trip to Swavesey and then onto Perry at Grafham Water. The weather was fine, dry and mild with only a slight breeze from the south west. This was fortunate as the earlier part of the week was dominated by high winds.

Towards Boxworth

We left Haslingfield and made our way through Harlton and over the A603, through the Eversdens and on to Bourn. This gave us the gentle climb up to the St Neots old road beside the A428, all made easier by a following wind. We went through Knapwell and then turned right for Boxworth before our first crossing of the A14 where were able to enjoy our first experience of the new cycleway into Swavesey; a big improvement for us as this road is frequented by fast moving traffic.

New cycleway into Swavesey

New cycleway into Swavesey

Now in Swavesey we soon came to the Bethel Baptist Chapel which is well known as a club favourite and where we were to meet many other members, including Jacob, Howard, Kathy, Rupert, Sarah, Richard M and John E, and we settled down to enjoy the coffee and the lovely display of home made cakes, and what a display! Needless to say there were many who were tempted back for further helpings, and who could blame them. This week the ladies doing the honours were from the festival committee.



Too soon it was time to move on and there was quite a big exchange of personnel with some going back down the busway into Cambridge but this still left seventeen to go on to our lunch stop. This took us through Fen Drayton, coming in along Horse and Gate Street, and then on to Fenstanton (Ian left us here) where we crossed the A14 using the underpass.

Fen Drayton

We had now turned back to face westward and the breeze was head on but it was never difficult as we went through Hilton and Graveley (surprisingly not all the wind turbines were going) and into Offord D'Arcy and Offord Cluny where about half got across the railway but the other half had to wait for a passing express.

Offord Cluny

All together again we went over the little bridges and by the old mill and a mile or so later we came to Buckden to start the least pleasant part of the ride as we competed with busy traffic on the last two miles or so to Perry and lunch at The Wheatsheaf or sandwiches down by the marina.

Those who went to the pub were happy with what was on offer and also the friendly and prompt service. We started the afternoon session without Sarah, who headed for home, and about four others who apparently headed for the cycle shop on the other side of the reservoir. We left the pub and took the road beside the prison and it brought us to the south east of Dillington and soon after to the B645 at Great Staughton. We were only on the B645 briefly before turning off to more quiet roads via Staughton Moor, and past the airfield to Little Staughton. We now headed south before turning east and enjoyed four miles of tail wind into Eaton Socon and St Neots and here we observed a red kite circling overhead.

Staughton Moor

We left St Neots along the cycle route over the willow bridge and joined the B1046 to Abbotsley where it's possible to see four figures on each corner of the church tower.

Figures on Abbotsley Church

Next came Great Gransden and a familiar route home via Caxton and Bourn. In Bourn we spilt for the final time with some going back to Cambridge via Toft and Comberton and the others following Tony back through Kingston and the Eversdens where we saw two buzzards and nearby a kestrel sitting on a telegraph wire, so quite a good day for wildlife. After Harlton we came to Haslingfield again at about 4.40pm and 64 miles to our credit. It was good to get a long ride in before we lose the daylight and thanks to Tony for a good day out to be remembered for going at a regulation 12 or 13 miles per hour so we all kept together throughout with nobody miles in front and nobody dropped off the back. Edward Elmer

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