Monday, 28 December 2009

27 Dec: Day ride to Saffron Walden

Joseph Sugg writes: I arrived at Brookside ready for a 9:30am start, to find no-one waiting. I was about to leave when John Temple arrived. It turned out that this ride was down as a 10:00am start - that'll teach me not to check the runslist. By 10:00am we had five brave souls keen for relief from the Christmas festivities.

There was still a little ice at Brookside, but none on the roads. Conscious that some minor roads may still be icy, and with information that the Drabbet smock at Haverhill would be packed, we set off for Saffron Walden instead.

We took a familiar route through the Shelfords to Whittlesford, then on to Duxford and Ickleton. We gave Coploe Hill a miss and went past Riverside Barns in Ickleton (which were apparently open). We joined the main road at Great Chesterford and carried on to Audley End, stopping long enough for a photo. There was a surprising amount of traffic on the roads, obviously unable to resist the temptation of all those bargains...

We arrived at the Temeraire at 11:45am. This was late enough to allow us to stop for lunch. The standard of food here is very good, and cheap. I had burger and chips and a coffee for just £4:75. The pub filled up steadily, and was full by the time we left.

The weather was now threatening rain and sleet. It didn't come to anything, but it was still cold and bleak with a brisk westerly wind: a typical winters day! We rode back the way we came with a detour through Hinxton to look at the ford. As expected there was still a little ice on parts of this road.

We were all glad to get back home to the warm. I got home at about 2:00pm having completed 35 miles. Joseph Sugg.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Happy Christmas, Doug Kennet

Here at Cambridge CTC we're all thinking of Doug Kennet, who is spending Christmas recovering from serious injuries received when he was hit by a car whilst cycling home after the club lunch on Sunday 13th December. Get well soon, Doug, and we all hope we will see you back on your bike soon.

If you know Doug and would like to know more, join the members' email forum or contact us.

Dangerous driving must be stopped. Support CTC's campaign at . And if you're not yet a member, join CTC now. Nigel

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas day ride?

We are still hoping to hold our annual Christmas Morning ride tomorrow, 25th December. This departs from Brookside at 10am and ends with a lunchtime drink at The Hoops in Barton. We will be keeping to clear roads as much as possible.

However if there is a frost on Christmas Eve/early Christmas Day and it remains icy we will cancel the ride. Mike Stapleton will make a final decision on Christmas morning and notify the members' email discussion list early on the 25th. If you don't have access to this, and are thinking of coming along, phone Mike after 8 am on Christmas Day on his mobile 07940 736861 before setting out. Fingers crossed (and gloved...) Posted by Nigel at midday on Christmas Eve.

Update: Looks OK this Christmas morning: the ride will go ahead as planned.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Tuesday 22nd Dec: Senior Cyclists' Group

The Senior Cyclists' Group will meet for lunch as planned at 12:30pm at The Monkfield
Arms, Cambourne, but due to the wintry weather there won't be a ride beforehand.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Sunday 20th Dec: rides cancelled

Anyone who's been out on a bike in Cambridge this weekend will know how slippery the roads are. With more snow forecast, we've decided to cancel both our rides on Sunday 20th Dec.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas lunch - more photos

The club held its Christmas lunch on Sunday 13th . George took these photos. For Nigel's report on the ride to get there, see Christmas lunch ride to Bourn.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

January and February rides lists

The rides lists for January and February are now available.

Note that during January, Sunday afternoon rides will start 30 minutes early at 1.45pm, with an earlier tea stop. This is an experiment to make better use of limited afternoon daylight. Sunday afternoon rides return to their normal 2.15pm departure time in February.

13 Dec: Christmas lunch ride to Bourn

Today was the day of the club Christmas lunch at Bourn Golf Club, so there was just one ride today, which departed from Brookside at 10am with the aim of giving us a good appetite for lunch! As expected, a large group turned out for the ride so we split into two groups, a faster group led by Joseph and a slightly more gentle one led by Mike S. I rode with Joseph's group.

We all set off out of Cambridge along the cycle path to Barton, where we rejoined the road and turned left for Haslingfield. There we climbed Chapel Hill and dropped down as usual into Barrington before making a further turn for Orwell. On reaching Orwell we crossed the A603 and took the road that led towards Wimpole Hall. It was a dull morning, dry after earlier rain and with occasional periods of brightness.

As we passed the stable block at Wimpole Hall we spotted a display of vintage cycles on proud display and stopped to have a closer look. It was March Veteran and Vintage Cycle Club, whose members had brought along a dozen vintage bicycles and were proudly standing by them dressed in Victorian or Edwardian costume.

We stopped to have a chat, and to compare our bikes with theirs (they were impressed by Mike's Mercian), and gave us a short demonstration of how to ride a "Penny Farthing".

After Wimpole we continued through Arrington and Croydon before climbing the short but steep Croydon Hill on the road towards the Hatleys. Just after passing through Hatley St George we turned right and cut north onto the road that took us back via Longstowe to Bourn.

At the Golf Club we met Mike's group (which had taken a slightly shorter route via Old Wimpole) and all the other club members come along for the Christmas lunch.

More photos here.

After lunch we all headed home. The sun had come back out for the final hour or so of daylight so a group of took a roundabout route back, via Kingston, Haslingfield, Harston, the Shelfords and the DNA path. I was home by 4pm, having ridden 40 miles.

View this GPS track on a larger map

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

8 Dec: Senior Cyclists' ride from Santon Downham (car assisted)

Peter Rowell writes: Our car-assisted ride to the Breckland arrived at the forestry offices at Santon Downham just after 10.00am. We unloaded the bikes and started off at 10.20am for The Angel at Larling. Although we had a shower on the way to Santon Downham, the sky had cleared and we had sunshine for the ride.

Going uphill (hill?, what hill) out of the Little Ouse valley we joined the Harling Drove. Being wet, the sand was easy to ride for the first stage and after the Mundford Road it was surfaced road all the way. We stopped at Croxton New Buildings to drink our coffee, then carried on through Wretham, Gt Hockham and Larling to The Angel.

After a large lunch, Adrian suggested we go back via Shropham and Gt Hockham, which we did. The weather was now broken overcast cloud but still dry. When we got to Wretham Camp we were again treated to a display of Helicopter take-offs and landings (as on our previous ride on this route).

We arrived back at Santon Downham by 3.30pm to load the bikes and return home having cycled 30 miles, mostly in quiet country lanes (except for the air activity). The oldest rider today was 82 (and he was in the lead a lot of the time). Peter Rowell.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

6 Dec: Day ride to Cambourne and Waresley

Joseph Sugg writes: With another poor day on the cards, I paid close attention to the forecast. The BBC website is usually fairly accurate and today was no exception. It suggested that after a very wet start it would clear up quickly to give an otherwise clear day. I arrived at Brookside in heavy rain, and not surprisingly no one else turned up. Undeterred, I nipped back home and rang Mike. We eventually began the ride at 10:30am from Grantchester.

Mike and I took a fairly direct route to Cambourne, through Barton, Comberton, Toft, Bourn and Caxton, before taking the bypass road into Cambourne. Coffee was planned to be at Martin's. Not surprisingly we had a lot of trouble finding his house. Cambourne is a very strange place. We needn't have bothered, because when we eventually found his house Martin wasn't in; he had obviously given up on us (that's if it was indeed his house that we found).

Despite being in need of coffee we didn't stop at Morrison's. Instead we left Cambourne by the same route we had come in, and when we reached Caxton we turned towards the Gransdens. The ford in Caxton was in flood and we had to use the bridge. This is highly unusual for a ford which is usually bone dry. At this point we first noticed the wind which had now decided to announce its presence as we struggled on to the Garden Centre at Waresley. We arrived there at 12:30pm so our coffee stop turned into lunch. The cafe was very busy with lots of people ordering their reasonably-priced Christmas lunch.

After consuming a bacon baguette, a scone and coffee, we were ready for the road home. We set off to Gamlingay where we turned off towards the Hatleys, with the wind partially in our favour for the first time. We decided to go all the way down Croydon Hill, reaching speeds of over 35 mph despite the wind. This is one of the best hills in the area. It's not nice to go up, but great to go down!

At the bottom of the hill we turned left and then right towards Wendy, where we turned right followed a left onto the Abington Piggots road towards Bassingbourn. Once in Bassingbourn we finally had the full benefit of the wind, which was much appreciated.

We went up to Meldreth before cutting through Melbourn and past the RSPB reserve to Fowlmere. From Fowlmere we had a good ride back to Shelford, averaging over 20mph. We passed a quick Brompton rider but were also passed by a "quicky" on a Bianchi.

I continued through the Shelfords and back along the main road to Grantchester, getting home before dark at about 3:45pm. It was well worth making the effort today. My total mileage was 55 miles. Joseph Sugg.

6 Dec: Afternoon ride to Cambourne

The morning rain had passed to reveal a fine and sunny afternoon, and eight riders turned out for this afternoon's ride. Our tea stop today was the cafe at Morrison's supermarket in Cambourne. Since this stopped serving at 3.30pm, our ride leader Gareth took us straight there, following the B1046 through Barton, Comberton and Toft. Although it was a bit breezy with a bit of a headwind, this was a very pleasant ride, with just a few puddles to remind us of the less pleasant weather earlier.

When we reached Bourn we rode north through the village and turned left onto the track that leads into Cambourne. We arrived at Morrison's at about 3.25pm, with the sun still shining and in good time for a cup of coffee and a slice of Christmas cake.

We had only ridden 14 miles to tea, so Gareth suggested we took a roundabout route back to Cambridge. We headed east along the old A428 to Hardwick and turned left to Dry Drayton, continuing over the A14 to Oakington. It was getting dark now, and the traffic was rather busier than it had been earlier, but a tailwind pushed us along.

From Oakington we continued towards Westwick. When we reached the junction with the guided busway, we turned right onto the cycle track that runs alongside it and followed it east towards Cambridge. The cycle track is not yet open and doesn't have a hard surface, but is clear and relatively easy to cycle along. The only problems were an area of flooding at Westwick station, and occasional patches of very loose gravel. I hadn't been along here before and even though it was now quite dark it was interesting to try it out at last. One day this will be a fine cycle route, though probably not a very scenic one. Apart from a couple of road crossings the route was entirely traffic-free until we reached Milton Road in Cambridge. Here our group split up; I headed towards the city centre, arriving home at 5.30pm after riding a modest 29 miles.

View this GPS track on a larger map

Sunday, 29 November 2009

29 Nov: Day ride to Melbourn and Hinxworth

Alasdair Massie writes: Hail was bouncing off the tarmac on my way to the start of the ride. Just three other riders had braved the elements and were to be found sheltering under a tree at Brookside. We picked up one more at coffee. The hail stopped, and after a little deliberation we set off, down the DNA path to Shelford. As it turned out the weather gods were smiling on us. Great anvil head storm clouds filled the sky from horizon to horizon, dramatically picked out by shafts of sunlight in between, but we managed to dodge all of the showers.

After coffee in Melbourn I came out to a flat tyre. Something small and sharp has obviously embedded itself deep into the tread because I have had a succession of punctures over the last week – all in the same place (that tyre is now in the bin).

The puncture set us back a bit so after a pretty ride to Orwell, we put our heads down and rode straight down the A603 past Wimpole and then down the B1042 as far as Wrestlingworth. You can tell it is getting close to Christmas, the road out of Cambridge had been very busy for a Sunday morning, and it didn’t really ease up until after lunch. Not that it was ever a problem, it just disturbed the ambience of the ride a little.

Farrowby Farm is one of my favourite lunch stops. We used to take the children every so often, walk them round, show them the pigs, and then go into the cafe to lunch guiltily off one of their brethren (the pigs’ brethren I hasten to add, not the childrens’). It was just starting to spit with rain as we reached the cafe door, and the heavens opened up as we ate. Isn’t it a nice feeling to sit in a warm cafe while the rain beats down outside ?

With perfect timing the rain stopped as we paid our bills. I won’t say that the sun came out, but it was dry and pleasant. We split, briefly, on the way to Ashwell and can now confirm that it is quicker to go straight through the village than to wind down Love Lane. Quicker, but not so pretty.

My tyre went flat on me one last time just after Kneesworth, and after all the attention it had received over recent days, the valve head snapped off. Great, 15 miles from home, starting to rain, just getting dark, and the valve has snapped. Surprisingly it survived all the way home but has now joined the tyre in the bin.

It was a dark, wet ride home from there. The rain got steadily heavier as we splashed our way over Chapel Hill and through Barton, back to Cambridge. After a night on the radiator my gloves were still wet the next day. But what the hell, it was an eventful ride, good scenery, gentle terrain and a great lunch stop. Thanks to Mike S for leading it. Alasdair Massie

Monday, 23 November 2009

22 Nov: Day ride to Wilburton and Ely

Gareth Rees writes: It was a day of attrition. Our leader, Tom, was in hospital. (Get well soon, Tom.) Then Joseph dropped out almost at the start, with a dodgy chainring hanging on by its last couple of bolts. So Rupert led the remaining five of us along the towpath down the Cam to Clayhithe, then through Waterbeach and Landbeach, and up Long Drove (with its many bumps where expansion joints have separated) to the Twenty Pence Garden Centre at Wilburton, where we were joined by Vic, Adrian, and Bob.

Bob reported that the cafe at Tesco in Ely (where we intended to go for lunch) had closed, being replaced by a Costa Coffee. So there was a general consensus to go on to Wicken Fen and have lunch there. Shortly after coffee, Mike (I think) got a puncture, and we agreed to split up, with six of us taking the longer route round via Coveney, and the others going direct.

The skies were getting darker as we headed north, but Rupert opined that we might escape a drenching, as it looked to him as though the wind had blown the stormclouds away to the north. Famous last words! As we turned east from Coveney toward Ely, it began to pour, and we were soon soaked through. Mike and Bob decided to stop at Ely and return to Cambridge by train, while Rupert, Simon, Averil and I decided to skip lunch and return home direct.

At the junction of the A142 with the towpath we met the others who had come direct from coffee. They had tried the towpath but were doubtful about attempting the narrow gravelly path in the driving rain and strong headwind. And who can blame them? It was pretty miserable: even when the rain stopped, there was still the strength-sapping southerly wind blowing uninterrupted across the fens, and the water squelching in our gloves and shoes. I had 54 miles on my computer when I got home, but I have been less tired on rides twice as long. Gareth Rees

View route on a larger map

Sunday, 22 November 2009

22 Nov: Afternoon ride to Abington

Cambridge continues to have some of the best weather in Britain. Whilst the north-west continued to suffer from record rainfall and flooding, here in Cambridge we had a dry and bright but windy afternoon. Rather to my surprise, six riders turned up at Brookside for this afternoon's ride. Ian led us west out of Cambridge along the Barton Road cycleway to Barton. The sun came out and we were riding in golden sunshine.

At Barton we turned south to Haslingfield where we climbed Chapel Hill. The descent down the other side was directly into the wind, so we had to pedal downhill to keep our speed up.

At Barrington we turned left to Foxton where we crossed the railway and A10 and continued to Fowlmere and from there over the A505 to Chrishall Grange. This section was directly into the wind. The headwind itself wasn't too much of a problem; gusts of wind that tried to blow us off the road were more of a challenge. Fortunately at Chrishall Grange we were able to turn east towards Ickleton, and had the wind behind us at last. The sky had clouded over by now but it remained dry and mild, though the numerous large puddles told us that there had been heavy rain earlier.

From Ickleton we took the road to Hinxton and the cycleway along the A1303 to the outskirts of Sawston. From here we went through Pampisford before joining the A505 for half a mile, after which we turned off to Abington. On the outskirts of the village Simon had a puncture; Jacob stopped to keep him company whilst the rest of us continued the short distance to the Comfort Cafe.

The Comfort Cafe had freshly-made cake on sale and we sat down with coffee and cake to wait for Jacob and Simon, who arrived soon after.

After tea we returned back to Cambridge. It was now totally dark, so following the off-road track to Babraham was quite challenging. At Babraham we rejoined the road and rode through Sawston, Stapleford and Great Shelford before joining the DNA path to Addenbrooke's and finally Hills Road towards the City Centre. I was home by about 6.25pm after having ridden 34 miles. Not bad for the wettest week in modern English history!

View this GPS track on a larger map

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Cycling in South Brabant

Mike Stapleton has recently returned from a couple of weeks in the suburban village of Ginneken near Breda in the Netherlands, and was very interested by the provision for cycling there. Mike has written an interesting article describing what he saw. Read it here (PDF, 1MB).

Sunday, 15 November 2009

15 Nov: Day ride to Newmarket and Stradishall

Joseph Sugg writes: Today's ride headed east. We were very thankful that yesterday's wind had dropped off almost completely and that the sun had come out. It was also warmish - what more could you want?  - and so there was a healthy turnout of ten at Brookside.

Bob was our leader today and led us out of Cambridge via the millenium cycleway. Just before we reached Bottisham, Simon had a puncture. Averil found a novel way of looking for the hole (see photo). It was at this point that we were thankful it had rained yesterday!

Having fixed the puncture we rejoined the main group and carried on through Bottisham and Swaffham Bulbeck, turning off onto the Dullingham road. I hadn't done this road for a while, which is a handy cross country route linking the Swaffham road and Dullingham. We had to turn off before Dullingham due to the time and head straight into Newmarket. It took an age to get served at Wetherspoons - apparently this is how they keep costs low!

When we left Newmarket there were six of us left, quickly reducing to two. Having been held up at the clocktower, Mike S and myself could not see Bob and his charges anywhere. We decided to carry on and took the direct route past Kirtling and through Cowlinge, reaching Tubby Ts cafe at Stradishall at 1 o'clock. Bob and co arrived fifteen  minutes later after a tour of Newmarket. The wait to order was very slow here too. However once ordered, the food arrived in five minutes, which is pretty impressive.

Tubby Ts cafe, (see photo) has had a makeover. It is now much smarter than before and serves the type of food us cyclists like; with a comprehensive menu, including all-day breakfasts and a specials board, you can't fault it.

With the dark nights well and truly here, no-one fancied the ride back from tea so we all headed straight home. I set off with Averil and Ian and set a good pace home, going through Gt Bradley, Brinkley, Six Mile Bottom and Fulbourn. A thoroughtly enjoyable day. Joseph Sugg.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

CTC membership problems

Did you join or renew your membership in September? If so, please read this announcement.

CTC membership renewal problems

Did you join or renew your membership in September?

In September, CTC National Office suffered a serious internal data loss problem. Much of the data has been restored but there is a real possibility that any members who either joined or renewed their membership in September may not have had their data properly processed, and may be recorded as not members or lapsed.

Any members who either joined or renewed in September are asked to contact the membership department as soon as possible to verify their membership status.

CTC Membership Department
Address: CTC, PO Box 416, Twickenham, TW1 9DG 
Tel: 0844 736 8451 or 020 8891 8941
Fax: 0844 736 8455

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Senior Cyclists' Group: Rides in Nov and Dec

The Senior Cyclists' Group has revised its planned rides for November and December. Full details here.

8 Nov: Day ride to Malton and Old Warden

Joseph Sugg writes: I arrived at Brookside this morning for a 9:30am start. There were six other riders there, Myself, Mike C, Jacqui, Martin, John, Doug and Ian W. Mike C took over as our leader. We took the Barton road out of Cambridge and headed down to Haslingfield.

After the traditional climb up the lung-bursting Barrington Hill, we turned off towards Orwell. Just before Orwell we took the turning for Meldreth. We stopped along this road at the Malton Golf Club. It is well hidden along this quiet road, but offers a warm welcome and a reasonable cup of coffee. There is reasonably priced food for those that want it.

After coffee we set off on the longer trek to Shuttleworth, having covered just 14 miles to Malton, where we met Brian B. We went to Meldreth and Bassingbourn and Littlington before turning towards Steeple Morden. When we got to Ashwell we turned off towards Hinxworth. We went over the A1 at the Langford crossing and into Langford. Taking a left towards Broom, then a right and a left we arrived at Shuttleworth which is close to Old Warden.

For those who haven't been there, Shuttleworth is an air museum and a fully functioning airfield which has regular airshows. There was no airshow today though. We visited the cafe, which is always open on a Sunday. The food is fairly priced, but fairly standard fare, and you can have a hot meal if you want. Here we met Vic and Tony and two more from Bedford.

After lunch, Mick shot off early to get home, so I led the remaining group of three towards Mogerhangar and to Blunham before crossing the A1 at Tempsford. This led us to Tempsford hill, one of the steepest hills in the area. This took us to Everton. We cycled around Gamlingay and through Waresley to the Gransdens. I went home via Caxton, Bourne, Toft, Comberton and Barton arriving home in Grantchester just after 4pm having covered 65 miles. Joseph Sugg.

8 Nov: Afternoon ride to Waresley

Nigel Deakin writes: There were thirteen riders at Brookside for today's afternoon ride to Waresley. There had been some rain earlier but this had now passed and the afternoon was dry. It started dull but the sun soon came out and for most of the way to Waresley we were riding in pleasant late afternoon sunshine.

I was the leader today. We had to get to Waresley by 4pm so I took a fairly direct route west out of Cambridge, first along the Coton path to Coton (below) and then up Madingley Hill using the cycle path that runs alongside the A1303 (second photo). The ground was covered in leaves, making it sometimes hard to see the edge of the path, and causing it to be slippery in places.

At the top of Madingley Hill we rejoined the road and followed the old main road west past Hardwick until we reached the turn to Bourn.

In Bourn we turned right onto the road to Caxton and Great Gransden. When we reached Great Gransden we were only a couple of miles from Waresley, but it was only 3.40pm so we took in an extra loop via Abbotsley; the final few miles from Abbotsley to Waresley, along a lovely narrow lane which undulated pleasantly, were a delightful way to enjoy the final few minutes of afternoon sunshine.

We arrived at Waresley Park Garden Centre at 4pm as planned. The cafe was very quiet but there was plenty of food left and sat down in the comfortable chairs to drink large cups of coffee and eat hot apple pie and ice cream.

After tea it was now dark, so we put on our lights and returned to Cambridge via Great Gransden, Caxton, Bourn and the B1046 through Toft, Comberton and Barton. There must have been a bit of a tailwind, since we made rapid progress and I was back in central Cambridge by 5.45pm. Total mileage: 37 miles. Nigel Deakin

View this GPS track on a larger map

Senior Cyclists' Group: Rides in Nov and Dec

The Senior Cyclists' Group has revised its planned rides for November and December.

For more information contact Peter Rowell (01954 210692)

Tuesday 10th Nov: Senior Cyclists' Group. Meet at 10.00am (note time) at Trumpington Park and Ride. Bring your own coffee. Lunch is at The Chequers, Orwell. Leader: Peter Rowell.

Tuesday 17th Nov: Senior Cyclists' Group. Meet at 10.00 (note time) at Madingley Park and Ride. Coffee is at Peter's. Lunch is The White Swan, Connington. Leader: Peter Rowell.

Tuesday 24th Nov: Senior Cyclists' Group. Meet at 10.00am (note time) at Newmarket Road Park and Ride. Bring your own coffee. Lunch is at The Boot, Dullingham. Leader: Peter Rowell.

Tuesday 1st Dec: Senior Cyclists' Group. Meet at 10.00 (note time) at Madingley Park and Ride. Coffee is at Peter's. Lunch is at The Monkfield Arms, Cambourne. Leader: Peter Rowell.

Tuesday 8th Dec: Senior Cyclists' Group. Meet at 10.00am (note time) at Santon Downham in Norfolk for a car-assisted ride. Bring your own coffee. Lunch is at The Angel, Larling. Call Peter Rowell (01954 210692) before Sunday 6th to arrange transport if needed. Leader: Peter Rowell.

Tuesday 15th Dec: Senior Cyclists' Group. Meet at 10.00am (note time) at Newmarket Road Park and Ride. Bring your own coffee. Lunch is The Marquis of Granby, Stechworth. Leader: Peter Rowell.

Tuesday 22nd Dec: Senior Cyclists' Group. Meet at 10.00am (note time) at Madingley Park and Ride. Coffee is at Peter's. Lunch is at The Monkfield Arms, Cambourne. Leader: Peter Rowell.

Tuesday 29 Dec: Senior Cyclists' Group. Meet at 10.00am (note time) at Trumpington Park and Ride. Bring your own coffee. Lunch is at The Chequers, Orwell. Leader: Peter Rowell.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Club Christmas Lunch: Sunday 13th December

Book now for the CTC Cambridge annual Christmas lunch! This will take place at Bourn Golf Club on Sunday 13th December. The cost is £18. Please choose from the menu and make your booking with Joseph Sugg (joesugg72 AT

1 Nov: Afternoon ride to Hauxton

Ten riders turned out for this afternoon's ride to Hauxton, where we would have tea followed by the club AGM. There had been heavy rain and stong winds in the morning; by the afternoon the rain had passed and it was beginning to brighten up. The strong south-westerly wind remained , however, and would make this afternoon's ride surprisingly strenuous.

Gareth was our leader today; his route took us south to Addenbrooke's Hospital where we picked up the DNA path to Great Shelford (next two photos).

From Great Shelford we continued to Little Shelford and the road to Whittlesford and Duxford. With Gareth leading strongly from the front, it was noticeable how the rest of the group settled into a line behind him, happy for a little shelter from what was becoming quite a tiring headwind. Apart from the wind, it was quite a nice afternoon: the sun had come out, and with evidence of recent leaf fall all over the road it was a pleasant autumn afternoon.

After crossing the A505 we continued to Ickleton, where I experienced a puncture. Rather than delay the group I told them to carry on (taking my GPS tracker with them), leaving me to fix my puncture and then continue via Chishill Grange and Fowlmere to Hauxton, arriving there at about 4.25pm. Without anyone in front to catch the wind, the road west to Chishill Grange was a slow plod, but from there to Hauxton I made good speed with the wind behind me.

Meanwhile the main group continued a little further up Coploe Hill before turning right to Chishill Grange and then returning, like me, via Fowlmere and Newton to Hauxton, arriving at the Village Hall about five minutes before I did.

Greta and John had, as always, prepared a fine tea, finished off as usual by a splendid trifle.

After tea we cleared away the tables and at 5pm conducted the important business of the AGM. This was finished a little before 7pm, after which we all cycled back to Cambridge via the Shelfords and the DNA path once more. The total mileage for the afternoon ride was 32 miles.

View this GPS track in a larger map

Gareth Rees adds:
As I watched the driving rain lashing my windows this morning I felt very sorry for the day riders and I wondered if the afternoon ride might be washed out too. But the strong south-westerly wind blew the rainclouds away to the northeast and the ride was dry apart from the puddles.

We still had the wind to contend with: it wasn't so bad at first as we cycled on fairly sheltered roads out to Duxford, but when we climbed Coploe Hill and onto Royston Lane it battered us full force. But then the setting sun came out from the clouds to illuminate our progress, and the rain-washed air gave us clear views of the south Cambridgeshire hills, and once we turned for home we had the wind behind us and it was a straightforward run up through Fowlmere, Thriplow, Newton, and Little Shelford to Hauxton. Gareth Rees

Sunday, 25 October 2009

25 Oct: Afternoon ride to Fowlmere

The Sunday afternoon rides continue to go from strength to strength, with fourteen riders assembling at Brookside for today's ride to Fowlmere, despite today being the day the clocks went back one hour. Julia led us through the crowded streets of the City Centre, over Garret Hostel Bridge and west out of the city to Coton.

Although the temperature was very mild, we were cycling into a stiff, blustery wind which made our progress more strenuous than usual. As we left the city it started to rain, quite heavily, but it was just a quick ten minute shower, after which the sun came out and it remained dry for the remainder of the ride. The headwind remained, however.

At Coton we turned south towards the A603 and picked up the cycleway to Barton. Somewhere along the way Julia stopped to take her jacket off, leaving her at the back of a long line of cyclists. When we reached the Comberton turn the group, not realising the leader was behind it, carried on along the main road, despite shouts and gesticulations from the rear that this was the wrong way. I sped ahead myself and called on the group to turn back. We retreated and took the road to Comberton instead.

After Comberton (above) we continued to Toft before taking the turn to Kingston. Our new direction meant a stiff headwind was replaced by a stiff sidewind, and both Tina and I were almost blown off the road as a result.

After passing through Kingston (above) we continued on to the Eversdens and Harlton, the wind now properly behind us at last. When we reached Haslingfield we climbed Chapel Hill and as we descended into Barrington enjoyed superb views of the countryside in the late afternoon sun.

From Barrington we continued to Shepreth. For the second time the group was ahead of the leader, with me near the front. At Shepreth I took the turn towards Fowlmere; only when we waited at the A10 crossing did Julia catch up and tell me she had planned to turn right in Shepreth and take in an extra loop. Bit it was too late to turn back now and we continued slowly into Fowlmere, arriving at the Queen's Head slightly early at about 4.20pm.

At tea we met two more from the day ride and three who had ridden directly, making a total of nineteen at tea. We had booked for twelve, and unfortunately the pub was (not unreasonably) unable to provide extra food and drink with no notice, so we shared what food there was.

After tea we switched on on our lights and road back to Cambridge. We followed the B1368 through Newton before taking the right turn to Little Shelford. With the wind fully behind us now we made rapid progress. At Great Shelford we took the DNA path to Addenbrookes and arrived back in the city centre at about 5.50pm, after riding a distance of 32 miles.

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Sunday, 18 October 2009

18 Oct: Afternoon ride to Balsham

On this cool but sunny autumn day, fifteen riders turned out at Brookside for this afternoon's ride to Balsham.

Richard Broomfield had the task of leading this large group today, and led us carefully south through Trumpington to Great Shelford where we turned right to Little Shelford and Whittlesford, forming a long snake as we spread out along the road.

After passing through Duxford and Ickleton we climbed Coploe Hill (above) before stopping to rest at the top and wait for everyone to arrive (below).

We then dropped down the other side and turned east (below) towards Littlebury.

This involved another climb followed by a fast descent into Littlebury. From here a further climb and another descent down Windmill Hill took us into Saffron Walden.

Richard had originally intended to follow the B1052 through Little Walden to Linton but we were ahead of time and so decided to take the longer but quieter road to Ashdon. This is a gentle but long climb and the group once more became spread out.

At Ashdon we continued north to Bartlow. By now the sun was getting low but still shining brightly, casting dappled shadows across the road as we rode through some woodland.

North of Bartlow we crossed the A1307 and made out final ascent to Balsham, where we stopped at the Bell for tea. George, Peter, David and Steve were waiting for us, having travelled there directly. After a few minutes Adrian arrived with Mike S, Mike K and Tom from the day ride, making a total of 23 for tea. Despite having booked for half this number we were well catered for and there seemed to be plenty of sandwiches and cakes.

After tea we all returned to Cambridge, with the sun low in the sky but still shining. This is essentially downhill, and we split up into groups of various speeds, with Richard making sure no-one was left behind. I was back home in Cambridge by 5.55pm. It was still daylight: probably the last time this year I will return home without needing lights. After a fine autumn ride, the mileage was 37 miles.

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Notice of AGM

Our AGM will be held on Sunday 1st November at 5.00pm at Hauxton Village Hall, preceded by tea at 4.30pm. All members are invited.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

13 Oct: Senior Cyclists' ride to Saffron Walden

Peter Rowell writes: Starting from the Park & Ride at Trumpington we proceeded to Ashdon via Hauxton, Shelfords, Sawston, and Abington, were we stopped for coffee.

Unfortunately we could find no seats in Abington so had to sit on the roadside to drink our coffee. We carried on through Linton and Bartlow to Ashdon, to be greeted by "We've got the builders in and can't do any meals". We carried on to Saffron Walden, meeting Vic coming into Ashdon from that direction. We then all went to The Temeraire for lunch. On leaving The Temeraire we were asked if we had a good lunch, by the chap from The Rose & Crown at Ashdon, who was walking his dog down the hill in Saffron Walden. Returned to Cambridge via Coploe Hill. Peter Rowell.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

11 Oct: Afternoon ride to Waresley

Gareth Rees writes: It was a cool and overcast afternoon, with autumn well and truly underway: the harvest is in, the fields are ploughed and bare, and leaves are falling from the trees. There were eight riders at Brookside, plus Phil, who was about ten minutes late and who chased us as far as Longstowe before giving up and making his own way to tea.

We headed out via Barton Road, Haslingfield, and then onto a route we rarely take, through Harlton, the Eversdens, over the hill to Kingston, and up to Longstowe. A strong westerly wind made the exposed section west of Longstowe a bit of a slog, making us glad when we dropped down to Gamlingay. The air was fantastically clear, with, I think, the start of the Chiltern hills visible on the horizon beyond Biggleswade.

From Gamlingay we headed northwest on a roller-coaster of a road over Tetworth Hill (above) and Lily Hill (below) to Waresley, arriving at about 16:20. Which was just as well, since they stopped serving at 16:30. Something to note for future visits.

The return journey via Great Gransden, Caxton, Bourn and Toft, was much quicker, with a strong tailwind, and we were back in Cambridge by 18:00, having done just over 40 miles. Gareth Rees

Photos by Gareth Rees. Licence: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA v2.0