Thursday, 20 November 2014

20 Nov: Thursday ride to Swavesey and St Neots

Edward writes: More than a touch of autumn weather greeted the fifteen riders who assembled at Haslingfield Green for today's ride out to Swavesey and St Neots.

It was grey and murky and a temperature of no more than about 5 or 6 degrees centigrade. Belinda was in charge today and she led us out to Harlton where we turned right and headed up to the A603 and on to Comberton.

Haslingfield

In Comberton we crossed the high street and soon joined the long road which climbs up to Hardwick on the old road to St. Neots.

Comberton

Comberton

At the top of Long Road we turned left towards Hardwick, crossed over at the roundabout where the road crosses the A428 and then dropped down to Dry Drayton. We continued to Oakington and once through the village we were able to join the busway for a pleasant few miles untroubled by traffic down to Swavesey.

Oakington

Busway at Swavesey

Why do we go to Swavesey? Bbecause here we find the Baptist chapel and a chance to spoil ourselves on a wonderful selection of homemade cakes which this week were provided by the ladies of St. Andrew's parish church. Of course, when we arrived we found another nine or ten other members thus making for a very convivial break.

Swavesey

After the interval it was time to press on, and after the usual exchanges of personnel, eighteen left to make their way to Fen Drayton. The temperature by now had risen to about nine degrees as the sun had started to break through and it was very pleasant as we approached Fen Drayton. We still had to go out towards the A14 as it passes by Fenstanton and this time we used the underpass to bring us to the road leading to Hilton. Soon we came to the B1198 and then a couple of miles on about the best road surface in east anglia to bring us to Graveley - if only all road surfaces were like this! Graveley took us past the giant wind turbines and then the long, almost straight, two miles through Toseland and out to the B1043. This left us with the run in to St Neots and the Ambiance Cafe for our luncheon interval.

St Neots

By now the sun was out and it was pleasant enough for those with sandwiches to sit outside in a degree of comfort. Inside the cafe we found Doug and Richard M already tucking into their lunches. Once again, after lunch a number left us but still thirteen set off for the start of the afternoon session, the time being 1.30pm.

We crossed the meadows and threaded our way through neighbouring Eynesbury and over the A428 and then set the compass for an easterly bearing so that we came next to Abbotsley. This was followed by Great Gransden and Caxton when it was time to switch on our lights as the sun was beginning to disappear.

Caxton

We came to Bourn and at the the turning for the Eversdens some left us to go straight into Cambridge leaving about half a dozen to finish the ride, via the Eversdens, back to Harlton and Haslingfield, finishing at about 3.30pm and 54 very enjoyable miles. Our thanks to Belinda for taking us round and keeping us all together and no doubt there are a few more rides like this tucked away in her locker. Edward Elmer



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Sunday, 16 November 2014

16 Nov: Morning ride to Nuthampstead

Nigel writes: Today started damp and foggy and remained so for most of the morning. I decided it was a good idea to turn on my lights before setting off, and, unusually, left them on for the whole of the ride. My companions on today's ride were Eva, Steve, Z-Q, Neil and our leader Conrad. We set off south from Brookside, following local roads to Long Road where we turned onto the busway.

Joining the busway at Long Road

We continued south along the busway to Addenrookes and then along the DNA path to Great Shelford. From there Conrad led is to Little Shelford and along the B1368 to Flint Cross. After crossing the busy A505 we turned onto New Road, the long, straight road which climbs gently up to Great Chishill.

Climbing New Road from Flint Cross to Great Chishill

After Great Chishill we descended once more to Shaftenhoe End where we turned off onto a series of particularly pleasant lanes to Nuthampstead.

We arrived at The Woodman to find seven or eight members already sitting in the bar, enjoying the warmth of an open fire. We ordered coffee and joined them for a pleasant and sociable half hour. Those already present included Mick, Edward, Vic, Joseph, Malcolm, Adrian and Craig

As usual there was a discussion of whether to carry on to lunch, but as rain was forecast for about 2pm everyone decided to return home to Cambridge.

Setting off after coffee from The Woodman, Nuthampstead

Instead of returning the way we'd just come, Conrad led us south to Anstey and then east to Meesden before turning north for Langley.

Approaching Langley Upper Green

We continued from Langley Lower Green to Langley Upper Green and through Duddenhoe End before dropping down to the B1039. A short climb took us back up to Elmdon and then down once more to Ickleton. By now the mist seemed to have cleared though it remained very dull for our last few miles through Duxford, Whittlesford and the Shelfords back to Cambridge. As we reached Addenbrooke's it started to rain, more or less as forecast, but the rain never amounted to much and stopped after a few minutes. I arrived home at 1.30pm, having cycled 43 miles.



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Friday, 14 November 2014

13 Nov: Thursday ride to Ickleton and Hadstock

Edward writes: For today's ride out to Ickleton and Hadstock 23 cyclists met in Hauxton under a very autumnal sky. Although still relatively mild, at least for this time of the year, there was a stiff south easterly breeze and this was to be a feature of our ride for most of the day, and with the cloud cover it seemed there would be little prospect of seeing the sun. Ickleton is only a few miles on a direct route from Hauxton and so we had to plan a rather large loop to put in a worthwhile ride before coffee.

Thus we went out via Little Shelford and Whittlesford and then on to Newton into the face of the wind. After travelling through Thriplow and Fowlmere we made our way out to Flint Cross on the A505 and the turning up to Great Chishill. Now we faced a severe test as this was a two mile climb and into the very teeth of the wind and by the time the first riders reached Great Chishill there was quite a wait for the back markers to catch up; it did, though, give us the opportunity for a well earned breather.

Flint Cross to Great Chishill

Flint Cross to Great Chishill

Great Chishill

We proceeded into Heydon and then a bit more climbing on the approaches to Elmdon, but now came the reward of a couple of miles downhill with the wind more or less behind as we descended into Ickleton and the Riverside Barns for coffee.

Elmdon

Ickleton

We arrived here at about 11.20am, a bit later than planned, but against the wind progress couldn't be too rapid, and here we found other members who had cycled out independently. We always enjoy this coffee stop and today its warmth was very welcoming as riding into all the wind had made us feel quite cold. Needless to say there was the usual exchange of personnel after coffee but still a large group assembled for the next stage of the ride. We used the farm track to join Coploe Hill and more fighting against the wind especially after reaching the top as there is not so much hedgerow protection.

Coploe Hill

Catmere End

This brought us to Catmere End and the approach to Littlebury Green where we turned for more climbing on the twisting roads before the rapid descent to Wendons Ambo. We crossed the B1383 and climbed up to Saffron Walden and negotiated the town's busy streets and took the Ashdon road for another climb.

Saffron Walden

Ashdon turning from Saffron Walden

When we reached the top of the hill we decided to shorten our route as the plan had been to go via Sewards End to Ashdon but instead we took the direct route and this gave us some relief from the wind as it was no longer head on. Now with the worst of the climbing behind us we made rapid progress through Ashdon and Bartlow where we turned for Hadstock and the very welcome sight of the King's Head.

Already there we found Jacob and Adrian, who had left us at Ickleton to indulge their off road skills, Doug, Mike S and Vic F. It was nice to be in the warm again and we enjoyed a very satisfactory lunch. The early arrivals, joined by Sarah and David M, left before the main party so when we left we were a group of nine.

After lunch at Hadstock (Photo: Belinda Borneo)

Hadstock is only about twelve miles from Hauxton and as it was about 2.15pm when we left we expected to be home before requiring lights. With the hills now behind us and a following wind we soon reached Linton and Hildersham and the B1307. We crossed this road into Great Abington and soon after on to the new cycleway along side the A505 until the Babraham turning and then into Sawston.

Babraham to Sawston cycleway

We finished the ride using the cycleway to Whittlesford and finally into Little Shelford at 3.15 pm, and those going back to Hauxton would have completed 52 miles, being just about right for a Thursday winter ride. Edward Elmer

Sunday, 9 November 2014

9 Nov: Sunday ride to Newmarket and Chippenham

Nigel writes: We're now well into autumn, and with the days rapidly getting shorter our rides on Sundays have now changed to their winter format, with our separate all-day and afternoon rides being merged into a single, shorter, ride. This starts at Brookside at 9.30am and stop for morning coffee and lunch before returning directly back to Cambridge. Today was the first combined ride of the winter season, and when I arrived at Brookside I found a crowd of about ten other members waiting to start.

Brookside

Our leader today was Eva, repeating a ride she had led in the summer. We set off east from Brookside, crossing the city centre to Midsummer Common and then along the river to Stourbridge Common and Ditton Meadows.

Ditton Meadows, Cambridge

We continued along the Wadloes Path to Fen Ditton and then crossed the busy B1047 to High Ditch Road which we followed east to Quy.

High Ditch Road, Fen Ditton

The day had started dull and cloudy but the weather forecast had promised sunshine and after a while the clouds parted, the sun appeared, the temperature rose, and the day turned into a beautiful sunny autumn day. We rode on to Bottisham following the familar NCN51 route to Swaffham Bulbeck and Swaffham Prior.

Swaffham Prior

As rode through Swaffham Prior we met a Scout parade heading the other way towards a Rememberance Day service. We continued north to Reach before returning back south to Burwell and Exning.

Heath Road, south of Burwell

AFter Exning we continued to Newmarket, arriving at Coffee and Co in the town centre at about 11.10am. After a pleasant half hour of coffee and cakes we picked up a few new members and set off again. Eva led us east along Moulton Road, a gentle climb thjat offers fine views back towards Newmarket.

Moulton Road, Newmarket

AFter our first climb of the day we dropped back down to Moulton and then climbed a second, slightly higher hill to reach Gazeley, where we paused to regroup.

Gazeley

We turned north to Kentford and then followed a series of very quiet, flat, roads to Herringwell, Tuddenham and Red Lodgewhere we stopped to cross the A11 at a very busy surface crossing.

Waiting to cross the A11 at Barton Mills

We didn't have to wait long and were soon back on our way. We continued through Freckenham and Chippenham before reaching La Hogue Farm Shop and Cafe where we stopped for lunch.

La Hogue Farm Shop Cafe

After lunch we set off back towards Cambridge in order to get home before sunset. The clouds had cleared once more, giving us a beautiful sunny afternoon for our return journey. After a brief discussion of possible routes Eva led us around the edge of Chippenham Park and then via Snailwell to Exning.

Chippenham Park

From Exning we retraced our morning route to Burwell and Reach before turning north into the fens for a diversion along the Lodes Way to Lode. We crossed the B1102 to Bottisham and again retraced our morning route to Quy, Fen Ditton and along the river back into Cambridge. I arrived home at about 4.10pm with the sun still shining as it prepared to set. Today had been a beautiful autumn day and I had cycled 66 miles.



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