Sunday, 23 October 2016

2016-10-23 Sunday ride to St Neots, Wadenhoe and Houghton

Nigel writes: Today was our final full-day ride of the season, and we ended in fine style with one of the best rides of the year: an extra-long ride which took us all the way to Northamptonshire, with dry, sunny weather giving us some gorgeous displays of autumnal leaf colour along the way.

Our leader today was Alex, attracted a large turnout at Brookside for today's ride: Seb C, Ray, Rupert, Camille, David T, John S, Mike P, Eva, Ian W, Dimitris, Mike CC, Susan and me. Almost everyone stayed for the entire ride, which was impressive given that this was explicitly advertised as a "longer" ride.

Heading out of Cambridge on the Barton Road cycleway

The first stage of today's ride took us west out of Cambridge to St Neots. Since we had a long way to go today we took a fairly direct route, following the B1046 almost all the way. It was clear right from the start that this would be a good ride, with sunshine, a gentle tailwind, and unusually quiet roads.

When we reached St Neots we stopped for coffee at the Ambiance Cafe in Riverside Park, which as always handled a sudden influx of customers very efficiently.

Coffee at Ambiance Cafe, St Neots

After coffee we carried on west and then north for a relatively long stage to our lunch stop in Wadenhoe, a tiny village about 5km south of Oundle. For much of the way I found myself in a faster breakaway group with Camille, Ray, David T and Dimitris, following the route that Alex had published earlier in the week and which I had loaded onto my Garmin.

My group reached Wadenhoe a little after 1pm and were followed by the main group about ten minutes later. Our lunch stop was a cafe called The Old Barn, which we were visiting for the first time.

Lunch at The Old Barn, Wadenhoe

The cafe is indeed in an old barn, a large, pleasant space with a high roof. The menu was ideal for visiting cyclists, with a good choice of light meals on offer, and when it arrived the food, although not exceptional, was entirely satisfactory.

Lunch at The Old Barn, Wadenhoe (Photo: Seb Cosnefroy)

The Old Barn, Wadenhoe

After lunch we set off eastwards. Our goal for this third stage of the ride was Houghton near St Ives, where we were due to stop for tea.

We had enjoyed a light tailwind during the morning and now, for the first time today, we had a bit of a headwind. However this was never very much of a problem and we made good progress, arriving in Houghton on time at about 4.15pm.

Just after the turning at Thurning

Winwick. The sign says "Breed better pigs with Thorleys food".

We stopped for tea at the National Trust cafe at Houghton Mill. The afternoon ride was already here, sitting outside the cafe with Simon their leader, whilst inside the cafe we found several members of the all-day ride who had taken a shorter route. The temperature was falling but it was just warm enough to sit outside.

Tea by the River Great Ouse at Houghton Mill

After tea we returned to Cambridge, following the Thicket Path to St Ives and then the busway. I arrived home just after 6pm, having cycled 147km (91 miles), making this probably our longest club ride of 2016. Nigel Deakin

Download GPS track (GPX).

Thursday, 20 October 2016

21 Oct: Thursday ride to Withersfield and Great Yeldham

Edward writes: At Brookside nine members met, whilst over in Hauxton another nine assembled for today's ride out to Withersfield and Great Yeldham. From Hauxton Sarah (our new chairman's wife) was in charge and good order could be expected to be maintained, whilst in the city I had the leader’s role.


By heading out to Withersfield, which is more than 20 miles distant, there are few options of route when aiming to be at coffee by 11am. Thus the plan was to go by the Botanic Garden and via Brooklands Avenue to join the busway at the station. In the event Rupert, that well know free spirit, practised his well rehearsed routine and was almost out of sight in seconds, heading off past Brooklands Avenue and down Trumpington Road. Too far ahead to be heard so there was no alternative but to adjust the route to join the busway from Long Road.

Finally we were all together on the busway and DNA path to Great Shelford for the rather uninteresting ride along to Sawston. We used the cycleway to Babraham and then the A505 cycleway to Great Abington. The good news is that the Cambridge News reported this week on the beginning of construction of the cycleway through the Babraham Institute.

The weather today was distinctly autumnal with a brisk north easterly wind and after recent rides this was an unpleasant shock to the system. After Great Abington came Hildersham and the long climb up to Balsham and West Wratting. We now had the four miles over Wratting Common to reach our destination, arriving about 11.15am to find the Hauxton group already enjoying their cakes.

Bradman's has been used about three time now and they looked after us very well and it is still developing the cricketing theme with one bar displaying the letters Bodyline, enough to make visiting Australians wince! Despite the weather, which by now was looking a bit less promising, there were probably about twenty-five of us there; some of course would be returning home after coffee.

Leaving Withersfield

Leaving Withersfield

At about 11.50am we started the second leg of our ride through Withersfield into Great Wratting where we turned north taking the quiet lane up to the A143. Unfortunately Susan had a front wheel puncture and, cue Mike, who duly played the leading role in getting her on the road again. By agreement Sarah's group went ahead, leaving a small group of six to follow on once the repairs were complete.

Mike on puncture duty

We turned south on the A143 for a few hundred yards before turning off to head in the direction of Hundon. At last we were on much quieter country lanes and this would have all been very pleasant were it not for the onset of rain, not very heavy maybe but the waterproofs had to go on. At the turning for Brockley Green, which was on the route Andy and I had agreed, we took Adrian's advice and went a little further on before turning south to make for Stoke by Clare. The purpose of this was to avoid the steep climbs on the road to Brockley Green - and Adrian's advice is always worth taking.

We reached Stoke by Clare and then climbed up to Ashen followed by the road across the old airfield to Tilbury Juxta Clare and then the final run into Great Yeldham and the Waggon and Horses. Much to our surprise we were the first to arrive - now how did this happen as our route, although different, was no shorter? The chairman would surely have words, and sure enough he did! However, it turned out that they had had a couple of punctures (or was it trying to keep Rupert in check?)


Also having lunch was a group of 40 Plus riders from Essex and we had to wait a little longer to be served but everyone seemed satisfied and it was a lot better than being out in the rain which had now started in earnest. At 2.20pm eleven set off for home in steady rain all the way to Stambourne. It wasn't all that pleasant riding with the rain and the wind but we pressed on through both the Bumpsteads and then Castle Camps.

Steeple Bumpstead

The ascent out of Castle Camps was the last serious climb of the day, much to Mike CC’s relief, and at the Ashdon turning we left Sarah and Andy with thanks for their efforts during the day.

Castle Camps

This left us to press on through Bartlow and Linton. The A1307 at this point was incredibly busy and it took some time to get over. One is always aware of the appalling fatality rate on this road. We finished the ride as the city group had started, though Hildersham, Abington, A505 cycleway, Babraham, Sawston, arriving in Great Shelford at 5pm, ironically with the sun shining. For those going back to Cambridge this would have been a ride of 58 miles. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

19 Oct: Evening ride to Hemingford Abbots

Nigel writes: With the sun now setting before 6pm, our evening rides have changed to their winter pattern and now take place one a month, on the Wednesday evening closest to the full moon. Despite these rides taking place entirely in the dark they have a small but regular following - and not just from people who are working during the day.

There were five of us at Brookside for tonight's run along the busway to St Ives and Hemingford Abbots: Alex, John R, Mike P and Tim. As we rode north out of Cambridge along Huntingdon we were joined by Ray and Dimitris. bringing our number up to seven.

The weather this evening was cool and dry, about 10-13C, with a light north-westerly breeze and a cloudy sky which meant we say nothing of the promised full moon. Despite the headwind, everyone seemed happy to ride quite quickly and we made rapid progress along the busway to St Ives. Although the pace then relaxed as we continued along the Thicket Path to Houghton and across the Ouse Meadows to Hemingford Abbots, we nevertheless arrived at the Axe and Compass 15 minutes early at 7.45pm.

Already at the pub were Paul and Mike CC, who had each made their own way there. Alex and I ordered burgers whilst most of the others ordered bowls of chips to accompany our beers and shandies.

After a pleasant 45 minutes in the pub six of us set off back to Cambridge, leaving three local members to stay a little longer. We had a tailwind this time, making the ride back fairly effortless. I arrived home just before 10pm, having cycled about 58km (36 miles).

Nigel Deakin

Download GPS track (GPX).

Monday, 17 October 2016

New committee for 2017.

Our AGM on Sunday 17th October elected a new committee for 2017.

Honorary President: George Rich

Chair: Andy Carlyle
Secretary: John Ross
Treasurer: Mike Culnane
Runs secretary: Rupert Goodings
Registrations and publicity officer: John Seton
Welfare officer: Sharon Jackson
Web officer: Nigel Deakin
Committee members: Chris Emerson, Julia Hochbach, Tom Howes

Honorary Auditor: Malcolm Stennett

An up-to-date committee list can also be found on our About us page.