Thursday, 24 July 2014

24 Jul: Thursday ride to Stradishall, Bury St Edmunds and Hawstead

Edward writes: Unusually for a Thursday we didn’t have a ride leader, so Mike C and I volunteered to fill the vacancy for today’s ride out to Stradishall and then on to Bury St Edmunds, making this one of our longer Thursday rides. The sunny weather continued and in fact we believe we had a shade temperature of 27C, thus it was hot. None of this, of course, deterred Sarah who was out on the road soon after 7 am to cycle 30 miles to join us, somewhat outdoing John J who was also out on the road early cycling over from Fenstanton. With this heat this was probably a good thing to do.

Leaving Hauxton

Not unexpectedly we took the road from Hauxton to Whittlesford and joined the cycleway over to Sawston and rejoin it again to go out to Babraham, which naturally led us out to the A505 and another experience of the new cycleway over the hill into Great Abington.

Sawston to Whittlesford

Heading east, as we were, meant pedalling against the north easterly breeze, and with the climbs, making it at times quite a tough ride. Balsham came where we were joined by David Ma, followed by West Wickham and more head wind as we crossed Wratting Common, but relief was soon at hand as we turned south west and headed towards Little Thurlow and then on to Stradishall.

Balsham

Balsham

West Wickham

In Adam’s (ex Tubby T’s) we met Joseph, Gwen, Geoff and much to our surprise and pleasure, Peter and Lesley. As we didn’t arrive at Adam’s until 11.30am we cut short the coffee break and were on the road again by 12 noon. The group going on bore little resemblance to the group which started out from Hauxton with quite a few changes of personnel as some returned home whilst the newcomers came on with us. After crossing the A143 we headed out into the beautiful Suffolk countryside taking us through Denston and Hawkdon where we turned north into a very hilly stretch, but we eventually arrived at Rede where we waited to bring us all together again.

Hawkedon to Rede

Rede

Obviously farmers are taking advantage of this weather and everywhere behind the hedges we could hear combine harvesters busy at work. After four or five more miles we had to join the A143 to take us the last mile or two into Bury St Edmunds, arriving at 1.30pm.

Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds

Lunch was at the Abbey Gardens and this was all very pleasant with many families out, schools having finished the day before, and of course many tourists, and it all made for a very happy scene - the weather helped a bit!

Angel Hotel, Bury St Edmunds

After lunch Sarah caught the train to Peterborough and John, Sue and Craig took the Cambridge train which left seven or eight of us to make our way back to Cambridge on our bikes. It was agreed that we should go back via Hawstead and locate the Maglia Rosso cycle centre and destination cafe where a future ride is scheduled. The cafe was very nice with a simple lunch of sandwiches and paninnis and also a salad, so should be very suitable for a club visit. Also plenty of high-end bike to admire in the shop!

After an ice cream we made our way via Whepstead to Chevington where we said goodbye to Geoff, then along to Hargrave and then towards Ousden but, before reaching it, turning down to Wickhambrook. By now, after so many hours in the sun, the heat was certainly making it presence felt and it was lucky for us that we were travelling with the wind on our backs. We passed through Great Bradley and then Brinkley where Joseph and Malcolm left us leaving Avril Mike and me to finish off the ride. Back at Great Shelford it was 6.15 pm and 80 miles to the good. Edward Elmer


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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

23 Jul: Evening ride to Quy

Nigel writes: This evening was how an evening in late July is supposed to be: hot and sunny; glorious weather for a brisk evening ride in the peaceful countryside between Cambridge and Newmarket.

My companions at Brookside were regulars Gareth, Jim, Neil and James. We set off south-east out of Cambridge along Hills Road to Addenbrooke's where we turned left onto Wort's Causeway for the climb up and over the Gogs to Fulbourn. Gareth, Jim and James soon disappeared into the distance, leaving Neil and me to bring up the rear at a more relaxed but still brisk pace.

Neil and I continued from Fulbourn to the Wilbrahams and then east to Six Mile Bottom for the long climb to Brinkley. A fast descent along the B1052 brought us back down to Dullingham where we turned onto the long straight road to Swaffham Bulbeck.

Riding into the sun on Swaffham Heath Road

Neil and I arrived at the White Swan in Quy slightly early at about 8.20pm. As we approached we were overtaken by Gareth who had taken a longer route via West Wratting, whilst Jim was already tucking into a bowl of chips.


After a very pleasant half hour sitting outside the pub in the late evening sunshine we all returned back to Cambridge via Fen Ditton and the Jubilee Cycleway. I arrived home at 9.15pm, having cycled 32 miles.


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20 Jul: All-day ride to Wimbish, Sible Hedingham and Ashdon

Graham writes: Once again I had my monthly CTC pass arranged and knowing that I was out to enjoy a full Sunday of riding I headed down to Brookside for 9am. There were nine riders making their way out initially and it was a good mixture of regular riders, guests and new faces.

Adrian was leading the ride and he explained he would be doing a little bit of main road bashing on the way out in order to make good progress and accommodate a loop en route to the morning stop. Therefore it was no surprise that we headed out on the same roads used by 'Le Tour' along Trumpington Road and South through Sawston. After this village we proceeded on the cycleway by the A1301 as far as Hinxton where we turned right to go onto familiar country lanes.

The conversation flowed as easily as the miles did and the few hills we passed after Ickleton and on towards Elmdon and Duddenhoe End did not cause any problems.

Heading towards Duddenhoe End

With a compact formation and no pauses for regrouping we made good time and arrived at Coffee at the Elder Street Farm Shop Café at just after 11am.

Enjoying the warmth at the Elder Street Café

Service at the café was not brisk but it was a pleasant place to refuel and chat and there were no problems with missing orders.

We set off just before midday with a number of people heading back home and some riders who had ridden directly to the café joining us for the leg to lunch. The route took us through the very picturesque village of Thaxted, and via the Bardfields. Adrian then guided us through a series of very pleasant country lanes and past the lake at Gosfield.

Country lanes in Essex

A final three and a half miles of A-road bashing from Gosfield to Sible Headingham brought us to lunch. Gareth was already at the corner café waiting for us having cycled directly from Cambridge. I, like several others, had brought sandwiches and the others were apparently served quickly. I took advantage of the local shops and bought another litre of water as the warmth and humidity of the day meant I had already drunk all of my supplies.

Gareth went off on his own loop to afternoon tea and the rest of us climbed out of Sible Headingham through Delvin End and on to Toppesfield. By now it was decidedly muggy and the clouds were starting to build quite noticeably to our West.

Between the Bumpsteads

Despite those minor concerns the conversation still flowed freely and discussions about the roadside flora and fauna kept our mind off the heat and increasing threat of rain. Adrian's route took us on a fairly direct leg via the Bumpsteads and we were at Ashdon's village museum by quarter to four. Amazingly we pulled in just as Gareth arrived from the opposite direction!

This is one of my favourite stopping places and the café takings help to keep the village museum running. Nigel's afternoon ride (report here) swung in about half an hour after us and we all chatted for a quarter of an hour before leaving them to finish their tea and cake.

Adrian led again for the next few miles over to Bartlow and West Wratting where he stopped off to visit another member at their home. Riders had already been peeling off here and there to take their most optimal routes home and eventually it was just Eva, Ray and I heading back towards the Wilbrahams. At Little Wilbraham we waved goodbye to Eva and Ray and I headed towards Cambridge from the East.

Just as we approached Cherry Hinton High Street a thunderstorm struck and we took shelter under some trees to shelter from the downpour. The trees did their job well and we donned our waterproofs and waited for the torrential rain to ease. Amazingly as we approached 'The Tins' to take us to the end of Mill Road the tarmac was completely dry which illustrated how localised the storms were. Many thanks go to Adrian for his expert leadership which made for a very enjoyable 84 miles. Graham Hughes


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Sunday, 20 July 2014

20 Jul: Afternoon ride to Ashdon

Nigel writes: The current hot spell continues, and the temperature was 25C when I arrived at Brookside to lead this afternoon's ride to Ashdon. My companions on the ride were Bev, Alison, Rob, John and John. We set off south from Brookside, along Trumpington Road and through some expensive back streets to Long Road where we turned onto the busway,

Joining the busway

It was a hot, sultry and overcast day. There was a forecast of heavy rain but it remained dry until we were almost back in Cambridge at the end of the ride. After a short distance we turned east onto the spur that leads over the railway bridge to Addenbrooke's.

On the busway, approaching Addenbrooke's

We joined the DNA path to Great Shelford and continued south through Little Shelford and Whittlesford to Duxford. We were making good progress so we made a diversion to Hinxton to ride over the ford.

Hinxton Ford

After a pleasant pause on the bridge to chat to someone who was collecting sticklebacks in a net we carried on to Ickleton. We climbed Coploe Hill and Catmere End before dropping down along Chestnut Avenue to Audley End House. We continued into Saffron Walden and out the other side on the road to Ashdon.

The hills of Essex were taking their toll and we arrived at the Ashdon Museum slightly late, at 4.15pm. The all-day ride was already there, allowing the two rides to meet and chat for a while with cakes and pots of tea before they set off back to Cambridge.

A short while later our group set off for home as well. I chose a gentle, flat route which took us through Bartlow, across the A1307 to Linton and along Back Road to Hildesham, where we paused once more to admire the ford and for some of us to splash through it several times for fun.

Hildesham Ford

Hildesham Ford

From Hildesham we crossed the A1307 again into Abington and continued past Granta Park onto the cycle path that leads west along the A505 towards Pampisford and Sawston.

Cycle path along the A505

We didn't go all the way to Pampisford, though. Instead we took the turn towards Babraham which allowed us to enjoy the short but pleasant cycleway from there to Sawston.

Cycle path from Babraham to Sawston

At Shelford we joined the cycle path to Stapleford and Great Shelford.

When we reached Great Shelford we joined the DNA path towards Addenbrooke's. The sky ahead of us was dark and we could see lightning over Cambridge. The wind picked up, and it gradually started to rain. We paused under the Addenbrooke's Road overbridge to regroup, put on waterproofs, and for Bev to discover a puncture. Fortunately this was a clean, dry place to make repairs. The tube was replaced and Nigel inflated the tyre, only to hear a loud bang as the tube burst. A second replacement was fitted, successfully inflated, and we continued on our way into Cambridge. I arrived home at 7.15pm, having cycled 42 miles.


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