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

Download GPS track (GPX).

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Book now for the 2014 Christmas Lunch

Our annual Christmas Lunch will be on Sunday 21st December 2014 at Bourn Golf Club.

Three courses are £19.95, two courses are £16.95. The club will pay the service charge which is additional. To book your place please print the menu, make your selections and send it with a cheque to the address on the form by the revised deadline Sun 30th Nov.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

19 Oct: Afternoon ride to West Wratting

Ray writes: We gathered at Brookside in bright afternoon sun; it was unseasonably warm today and most of us were back in shorts. Ian arrived just after 2pm with Julia and Flo, and we set off down Trumpington Road. We left Cambridge on the DNA path (photos below) and followed the cycle route through Sawston to Babraham where we crossed the footbridge to Abington before continuing on quiet roads to Linton. This is a well-ridden route for the club, but the first time for me in this direction.

On the DNA path (more photos at end)

We continued south-east to Bartlow before turning north and making a beeline for West Wratting, where the all-day riders had just arrived (and some were foregoing tea and heading straight back to Cambridge!) All of the afternoon group and the remains of the all-day ride enjoyed a satisfying tea before setting off for home.

Afternoon tea, West Wratting

Three riders turned left and took the direct route back, while the main group turned right to follow Ian on a more interesting route through Weston Colville and up to the Brinkley Road where we turned left to drop down into Six Mile Bottom. We regrouped just after crossing the main road, where Ian told us not to wait for him as he might have to stop to deal with a slow puncture. Nigel took the lead and we followed him to Stow cum Quy, Fen Ditton, and on into Cambridge, with riders peeling off along the way. This was a lovely ride on quiet roads, with plenty of autumn colours. I arrived home having covered 38 miles. Ray Miller

Download GPS track (GPX).

CTC Cambridge at the Cambridge Freshers' Festival

Julia writes: Last week, CTC Cambridge took part in the Freshers' Festival, organised by the Cambridge University Students Union. The event was held in the Kelsey Kerridge Sports Centre and on Parker's Piece on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th October.

With thousands of students expected to attend, it seemed a perfect opportunity to introduce young people to CTC as a national organisation, but in particular to the activities of our local group. Road racing and mountain biking are well catered for by other clubs in the city (the Cambridge University Cycling Club, for example), but touring or casual, sociable road riding is something not easily found in other clubs - and is of course the core of our local group activities.

The event was set to start at 9 am on the Tuesday morning, with registration opening at 8 am, so it was an early start for me. Having borrowed a gazebo from our neighbours and packed it, together with banners, posters, Cycle magazines and flyers, into the box of our cargo bike, I set off on what was a rather cloudy and cool morning. The forecast was for occasional showers and strong winds, and I hoped that we'd be able to set up our stall in the dry before the official start of the festival.

The organisation wasn't brilliant, I have to say, and it took some time and effort to find out what was where and how things were meant to work. I eventually managed to register, pick up our staff lanyards and find our designated spot on the “bike market” on Parker's piece, albeit somewhat later than I had expected. Tina, who had kindly volunteered to help me out during the morning, arrived just before 9 o'clock, and together we erected the gazebo, found a table and two chairs, fastened banners and posters in place and by 10 am were ready to go.

I had been worried about not being all set up by 9 am for the “official” start of the event, but I need not have been. It was very quiet initially - most students are not early birds, apparently! Simon Nuttal from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign seemed to have known this - he only arrived around 11 am to check out the situation, deciding that, as it was getting a bit busier by then, it would be worth setting up their stand next to ours.

We were situated between the stalls of the Cambridgeshire County Council, who informed about road safety and handed out free cycling maps and accessories, and various cycle shops showcasing their bikes. By late morning things livened up and we did get to chat to some of the people passing through the bike market area, introducing them to CTC, telling them about the rides we organise and encouraging them to join the club - at only £16 per year we feel that a student membership (link) is very good value for money, indeed! But it was not just students who stopped by to learn more about CTC - the event was open to parents and the general public, too.

A dull, cold and windy morning turned into a sunny and much more pleasant afternoon. There was live music and fun bikes to try out for entertainment, Outspoken's smoothie bike, a curry bus and a crepes van for refreshments, and the event developed something like a festival atmosphere at last.

Flo and Ian came back to help me pack up, and once everything was back in the cargo bike we had a look around the various attractions ourselves. Flo was most impressed with the big lorry that was parked next to our stall. It was open for people to get in and check out the high tech safety features on board modern HGVs, which should help to make those big vehicles less hazardous for cyclists - such as all-round cameras and automatic warning announcements.

Ian had a go on a Paper Bicycle (no, it's not made of paper), an Airnimal Joey folding bike and an Onderwater family tandem, while Flo and I enjoyed a test ride on the School Run Centre's teddy tricycle. I have to say I was rather impressed with the manoeuvrability of this vehicle, given its weight and size!

On Wednesday the event started an hour later, so Ian and I arrived at Parker's Piece around 10 am. We had four more helpers on the second day: Simon K, who had generously offered to volunteer the entire day and helped us set things up, Mike S, Bob B and Sue H. Together they manned our stall and - more importantly - actively approached people as they passed by.

As on the previous day we found that simply being present at the stall was not enough to get people interested, but when we walked up to them - armed with leaflets, magazines and a big smile - many reacted positively and some were very keen to find out more. Simon K developed an especially effective technique for stopping students in their tracks and getting them involved in a cycling conversation, and by midday we were running out of our local group leaflets. I dashed to the office to get a new stack printed and then had to go to work, so I left the others to carry on with the afternoon session.

In total we handed out around 100 leaflets and I would say it was a pretty successful event. Thanks again to all our volunteers who helped to make it happen! Julia Hochbach