Sunday, 30 August 2015

30 Aug: Sunday afternoon ride to Wicken

Peter writes: I arrived at Brookside a few minutes early on a dull afternoon when it was not quite raining, to find Mike, John E and Simon already there. After an inspection of Simon's tyre, we concluded that it would not survive the ride, and he headed off home to put on a spare. Just as we were about to set off, Stan pulled up. So we were four...

I led the group down Trumpington Road, via the busway to Worts Causeway and up the hill towards Fulbourn, having reassured Stan that this was the only real hill on the way today and so he wouldn’t have any trouble with his single-speed bike (and he didn't). Having enjoyed the well-earned downhill into Fulbourn, we continued through the Wilbrahams to Bottisham, Lode and on to the Lodes Way.

The track here is very well drained, and it was all relatively dry, even the rough stretch leading up to the bridge over Reach Lode. The rain came and went, but was never heavy enough to bother us, as the day was mild, it was very pleasant cycling. After carrying our bikes over the footbridge at Burwell Lode (with some muttering about it was past time there was a proper bridge for cyclists) it didn't take long to get to St Laurence's Church for tea and cakes – excellent cakes. Helen's walnut and lemon is especially recommended.

Crossing Burwell Lode

After tea, Eva joined Mike, Stan and myself to ride back into Cambridge. We decided that the Lodes Way deserved a second go and so went back that way. I was home at around 6.15pm, having cycled a very pleasant 39 miles in weather which was a lot friendlier than forecast. Peter Hutchison

Thursday, 27 August 2015

27 Aug: Thursday ride to Newport and Great Saling

Edward writes: About twenty cyclists arrived in Hauxton, including Edmund who was making his first ride with us, having previously been on the shorter weekend rides. After so much rain in recent days the forecast today was to be mostly dry, but with the possibility of an occasional shower. Our ride this week was to be led by Alex and he would guide us to Newport for coffee and then on to one of our favourite destinations at the airfield in Great Saling.

Hauxton

Two groups, one led by Rupert (risky!) set off from Hauxton taking in Newton, Thriplow and Fowlmere before reaching the A505. This is basically travelling south and therefore into the wind which, fortunately for us wasn't strong, and didn't feature as part of our day.

From Fowlmere towards the A505

When we reached Chrishall Grange we knew we were in for a slightly longer ride to Newport rather than the well used route over Coploe Hill. So now we faced the long climb up to the Elmdon turning at the end of Hertford Lane.

Elmdon turning

After a short rest we reset the two groups and progressed through Chrishall and then down to the Saffron Walden to Royston road where, after about a mile, we turned to climb up to Duddenhoe End. The weather by this stage had started to look less benign and one or two threatening looking clouds came into view. Another couple of miles brought us to Langley Upper Green where a motor mower was busy keeping the cricket field looking in good shape, there being a strong cricketing tradition in this part of Essex.

Langley Upper Green

Three more miles brought us to Clavering, just by the Cricketers public house and restaurant, leaving us to join the B1038 for the ride through Wicken Bonhunt and finally into Newport, arriving at 11.30 am.

At Dorrington's we found Craig, David M and once again Greta, having made her own way out. The staff dealt with all our requests quickly and we were soon sitting around, both inside and outside, with our refreshments.


Purton End between Saffron Walden and Debden

Soon it was time to go as there were still more than twenty miles ahead of us before reaching our lunch stop. After a number left us to return home seventeen were therefore in for the long haul and it wasn't long before some may have regretted their decision. We had left Newport on Debden Road and as we turned to make the climb up to the village we were hit by the most torrential deluge. Although it didn't last long it was long enough to saturate everybody and we wondered if it was localised enough for those returning home to have missed it. Some took refuge in a bus shelter until it all passed over, before moving off again.

Sheltering in Debden

Just beyond Debden we took the turning for Henham. This starts off as Henham Road then becomes Chickney Road as it approached Henham.

The turn for Henham after Debden

However, before we reached Henham we turned off south and headed to the B1051, joining it at Sucksted Green, where David W punctured, and then down to Broxted Brick End and on to Tilty where road works forced us to turn to Great Easton rather than Duton Hill. This hardly mattered as after Great Easton came Lindsell and the Lubberhedges Lane for the long cross-country ride through attractive narrow lanes which brought us to the short off-road section into Andrew's Field, arriving shortly before 2pm and with 41 miles behind us.

Great Easton

Probably because we were later than usual the airfield was very quiet with only three motor bikes on show. This was good for us as food arrived quickly for those ordering a lunch. Once again we were looked after by the friendly staff who help make this one of our favourite destinations.

By 2.45 pm everyone was ready for the journey home and to begin we did a loop round Bardfield Saling and came across a man with a chainsaw who was creating a totem pole out of an old tree trunk; this looked a fascinating occupation.

Mike admires a totem pole

Great Bardfield followed next, Little Bardfield and even Bardfield End Green which is just prior to Thaxted where we stopped to regroup.

Little Bardfield

With a following wind we soon reached Debden which seemed to have successfully dried out after this morning's deluge. Soon we were in Saffron Walden where Sue had a puncture, but Mike was on particularly good form and he fixed it in near record time. We left Walden by going past the mansion and then the climb up Chestnut Avenue to reach Catmere End where we stopped to put on our waterproofs as the dark clouds decided to have the last word of the day and provided us with another drenching. We finished the ride over Coploe Hill, Ickleton, Duxford, Whittlesford, arriving at 5.30 pm in Great Shelford.

Thaxted

This was a really good day out - we covered 74 miles and were particularly well led by Alex who raced ahead at important junctions and ensured everyone made the correct turning, and he was also busy at the back ensuring that everyone was accounted for. Edward Elmer



Download GPS track (GPX).

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

26 Aug: Evening ride to Newton

Nigel writes: Despite summer approaching its end, with sunset becoming earlier and earlier at an alarming rate, our evening rides continue to be every bit as popular as they have been all year. Perhaps the realisation that the long summer evenings are almost over makes people want to enjoy them before they disappear. Whatever the reason, we had a good turnout for this evening's ride: Gareth, Tom, Paul, John, Neil, Ian and me.

We set off south from Brookside towards Long Road and joined the busway to Addenbrooke's. Today had been a day of heavy rain until mid-afternoon, after which conditions improved steadily, and by the time evening arrived the weather was bright and sunny. Perfectly nice conditions, though a steady south-westerly breeze meant that for the first half of our ride we were riding into a headwind.

We left the busway and followed the DNA path to Great Shelford, arriving there just in time to see the barriers close at the Granham's Road level crossing. Instead of waiting for them to re-open we followed the cycle route alongside the railway line to Station Road, only to see, yet again, the level crossing barriers by the station closing as we approached them. This time we had no choice to wait, but after a couple of minutes were on our way again to Little Shelford and then Whittlesford, Duxford and Ickleton.

By the time we reached Ickleton we had dropped John, though I wasn't worried since I knew would be happy taking his own route at his own pace. The remaining six carried on to the top of Coploe Hill. It was now 7.40pm and sunset was only twenty minutes away.

Coploe Hill just before sunset

After Coploe Hill the group divided once more, with Paul taking a shorter route to the pub via Royston Lane, and the remainder carrying to Catmere End and Littlebury Green.

From Littlebury Green we dropped down to the B1039. The roadworks here are now complete and the road is once again open to all traffic. We then followed the B1039 west for a mile or so before turning north, opting for the gentle climb to Chrishall rather than the slightly steeper climb to Elmdon. A long, fast descent took us down to Chrishall Grange and was followed by the final few miles on the flat to Fowlmere and along the B1368 to Newton. From Fowlmere  to Newton we had decent a tailwind, and I was able to blast along at well over 20mph. When we reaced Newton  we stopped for drinks at the Queen's Head where we found John and Paul waiting for us.

After a pleasant half hour in this simple but ever-popular pub we returned back to Cambridge. We continued along the B1039 to Harston and then turned onto the A10 towards Cambridge. We decided to skip the diversion through Trumpington Meadows and stay on the A10 cycle path all the way to Trumpington Park and Ride, where we joined the busway for the last two miles into Cambridge. I arrived home just after 9.30pm, having cycled 34 miles.



Download GPS track (GPX).

Sunday, 23 August 2015

23 Aug: Afternoon ride to Ickleton

John writes: From Brookside four riders set off at 1.30pm. for the eagerly anticipated tea stop at St Mary's in Braughing (one of our best Church Hall tea stops). I had missed the previous ride there owing to a DIY accident. Could anything go wrong this time? Yes - the rain which had started at Whittlesford became torrential as we climbed Coploe Hill. From the top, looking to the South we saw dense black rain stretching to the horizon.

Reluctantly we decided to shorten the ride and made an anti-clockwise loop through Littlebury and Great Chesterford to the Ickleton Riverside Café. The CTC don't often use this route because of traffic but on a wet Sunday afternoon that was not a concern.

There one of only two the other customers (both cyclists) was persuaded to come out into the rain to take our group photo.

By the lake at Riverside Barns, Ickleton

This is also an excellent tea-stop and we look forward to another visit (we'll be back for tea in Ickleton on Sunday 27th September). The rain showed no sign of abating so after tea, coffee and scrumptious cake we sped directly homewards by the most direct route. I'm not sure of the distance because my ancient GPS, which dosn't like rain, had switched itself off, but it was probably about 20 miles.

Inside the cafe at Riverside Barns

For future reference my previous Sunday afternoon ride on 26th July (here's my report) also took place in torrential rain. John Ferguson