Sunday, 25 June 2017

18 Jun: Sunday afternoon ride to Clavering Lakes

Simon writes: I had hoped that this would be the hottest day this year, but there could be worse jobs to have to do in a heatwave. Mounted sentry outside Buckingham Palace for hours at a time, or being locked in a car with Derek Jameson and Tony Blackburn on the radio... in any weather. Though in my case it's rolling around the floor in grinding grit, welding sparks and the rust and sticky underseal that falls off the remains of a VW camper-van that's even older than but about the same condition as me!

Still it was my pleasure to lead our first Sunday afternoon visit to Clavering Lakes. A small posse consisting David S, Simon D, Johns E and F joined the start of the ride, soon to be joined on the railway bridge at Addenbrookes by Mike K.

Our ride out, and its mirror image return back, followed the fast-track no-frills standard CTC route to Ickleton so as to have more time for exploring villages and hitherto never seen before little country lanes beyond, normally only visible from behind an all day ride leader.

Speaking of which, I'm sure we met them just outside Lower Langley Green on our way to further Ford End. With the snapshot fleeting glimpse in passing I recognised David W and John S, our membership secretary (or "Paperwork Troll" as he describes the role to us).

Having orbited Clavering instead of by-passing it we reached the Fishing Lakes, to add a mile and a half to the 24 mile distance.

All the staff that we met there were friendly and enthusiastic which enriched our experience and I look forward to taking our group there again.

The outlook over the lakes from the veranda appended to their Lodge Cafe is reminiscent of the Riverside Café at Ickleton, on a slightly more grand scale and they stayed open until the time that their website says they do.

It was about 5pm as we were passing Duxford back towards the A505.

I was occasioned by a young Z750 ninja rider wearing cut off jeans, who felt it necessary to try telling me from inside his full-face helmet, that despite being on a vehicle not much wider than mine and a power to weight ratio greater than a twin turbo Porsche 959 Sport, that he couldn’t get past us with only a meagre 10 foot gap and half a km of dead straight visibility ahead, because we were flouting his interpretation of the Highway Code by riding two abreast!

But to start a sentence with a conjunction, we all got home safely having covered 52 miles including my 6 mile round trip to Brookside and back. Simon Gallaway

Download GPS track (GPX).

Saturday, 24 June 2017

21 Jun: Evening ride to Barrington

Ray writes: We are in the middle of the hottest June for 40 years and I had foolishly taken the week off to sort out my garden. Instead of sitting in a cool, air-conditioned office, I have been hiding from the sun with all the windows open (it was too hot to work outside, the garden remains neglected). I was glad to get out on the bike into a light breeze as the evening came on. I arrived at Brookside to find a handful of riders waiting, including first-timer Alex and Brian on his recumbent. More arrived as I was sorting out Alex's guest entry form and by the time we set off we were 10. On our way out of town we were joined by Chris, riding in from Sawston. I don't think I've seen this many riders on an evening ride before!

The regular Alex volunteered to act as back marker until we got to Duxford, which made my job as leader much easier. We took the usual route to the guided busway then the DNA path to Shelford, Whittlesford and Duxford. Then it was Grange Road and up the hill to Heydon. I was planning to take the minor road via Shaftenhoe End to Barley before dropping down to Flint Cross on the B1368, but this turned out to be too ambitious if we were to get to the pub on time, so we turned right in Great Chishill for the long descent to Flint Cross we had enjoyed on Nigel's ride to Shepreth last month.

We skipped the detour past the nature reserve and rode directly to Barrington down the B-road, arriving at the Royal Oak at about 8.25pm. Some of us ordered full meals (fish and chips, veggie burger, home-made soup) while others went for the usual bowls of chips. They obviously run an efficient kitchen here as our food arrived quite quickly.

Re-energised and refreshed (did I mention the excellent beer?) we set off for the short ride home. Today was the summer solstice and the sun was just setting as we left the pub. We made our way over Chapel Hill then rode into Cambridge down the Barton Road cycle track. We'd left two riders at the pub, and everyone else dispersed as we came into the city, leaving me and Tom to make our way north via (a different) Grange Road and Storeys Way. I arrived home at 10.10pm having covered 36 miles.

CTC Cambridge Summer Barbecue

We are pleased to announce a Summer Barbecue event on Sunday 13th August. This will be hosted by Sarah and Andy at their house in Little Chesterford and will run all afternoon with lots of nice food and good company. For this event, we want to make it completely clear that "BBQ means BBQ".

The cost is £6, which includes all the food plus soft drinks, tea and coffee. Please book and pay in advance using this form by 31st July.

We plan to limit numbers to 40 people, on a "first come, first served" basis, with priority given to club members. Initial bookings are therefore restricted to club members only. Guest places (one guest per member) may be available later - but only if numbers permit. Rupert Goodings

Thursday, 22 June 2017

22 Jun: Thursday ride to Ashwell and Braughing

Edward writes: This morning in Haslingfield the stifling heat of the last few days had come to an end and today we had far more civilised temperatures. Our rides today were to Ashwell for coffee and on to Braughing for lunch. In the city with Peter W as leader there were seven riders, and out at Haslingfield there were sixteen. Our thanks are due to Sheila who came off the bench as a late replacement to lead our ride.

With the formalities completed we were just about to set off when lightening and thunder preceded a five minute downpour causing all to scatter and seek shelter. With this over we started with a climb over Chapel Hill into Barrington, Shepreth and Meldreth.

Ladies' team (almost) in Barrington

Men's team - Road not wide enough for everyone

Another few moments of rain meant a stop in Meldreth with some putting on waterproofs which must have been pretty hot.

Cambridge Express in Shepreth

It rained in Meldreth

We were soon on our way again as we wound our way up the hill to Kneesworth followed by Bassingbourn. Here Sheila put in a loop round Abington Pigotts which would have met with Mike C's approval had he been with us. This brought us to Litlington, then Steeple Morden and we arrived in Ashwell just as the church clock was striking 11 am which was perfect timing.

Coffee in Ashwell

With almost thirty riders to deal with it was as well that we had pre-warned Day's bakery that we would be coming and they got through all the orders in good time. At 11.30am, again with the church clock striking, we started the second phase of our day.

Leaving Ashwell

Leaving Ashwell

This next phase was to take us due south for ten miles though Redhill and Rushden to Cromer. In Cromer we turned south easterly which gave us the benefit of a fairly stiff westerly breeze. At this point the clouds started to dissipate giving us a lovely sunny ride through Ardley and Wood End before arriving in Great Munden. This left only a few miles to travel into Puckeridge, a short bit on the A10 and we all arrived at the Brown Bear in Braughing by 1pm.

About twelve people chose to have lunch there and this caused the pub some difficulty and it was 2.40pm before the last group could start for home. This isn't a criticism of the pub; they provided nice food but twelve lunches obviously stretched them a bit, and this would always be a problem expecting a small establishment to be able to cope with large numbers all at once, even if a booking has been made. Before leaving we thanked the pub for their efforts as we know they had worked hard. We did, though, enjoy the spectacle of a low flying red kite passing overhead!

Lunch in Braughing

When Sheila's group of ten started for home it was decided to make some changes to the original route and we went along the B1368 with the intention of going all the way up to Barley. However, after we passed through Hare Street we changed our minds and took the turning to Anstey and on to Nuthampstead. This put us on much quieter and far more pleasant roads.

Family life in Braughing

As we passed through Shaftenhoe End it looked as if we had surprised a buzzard which took to the skies immediately in front of us. Another debate at the Barley turn and we decided to carry on to Great Chishill which, despite a couple of steep climbs, would give us the long two mile plus descent to Flint Cross. Our ride ended through Fowlmere, Thriplow and Newton which was the last parting of the ways. This gave a journey of 57miles, for the countryfolk at least, and our thanks to Peter and Sheila for their efforts in making a successful day out. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).