Sunday, 29 March 2009

29 Mar: Afternoon ride to Langley Lower Green

Today is the first day of British Summer Time. For CTC Cambridge this means our Sunday rides change to their summer timetable. The morning ride starts half an hour earlier, at 9.00 am rather than 9.30am, and whilst our afternoon rides continue to start at 2.15pm, the booked tea stop for both the all-day and afternoon is moved half an hour later at 4.30pm to 5.00pm.

Today's tea stop was at The Bull, Langley Lower Green. This is about eighteen miles south of Cambridge making it one of our furthest regular tea places: a very appropriate choice to celebrate the first day in which we have an extra half hour's afternoon cycling and the prospect of a ride home in daylight for the first time since last autumn.

Despite a forecast of fine, sunny weather there were only five of us at Brookside for the afternoon ride: Jacob (today's leader), Mike Sl, Simon, Mike K and me. Jacob led us south out of Cambridge along the DNA path to Great and Little Shelfords and then along the B1368 to Newton. It was was sunny with a light breeze, and although this never turned into a headwind it was quite cold and I was glad to be wearing a windproof top.

From Newton we continued towards Fowlmere but on seeing a signpost advertising the Thriplow Daffodil Weekend we decided to make a diversion through the village, which was crowded with hundreds of festival-goers. This event is as much a village fete as an opportunity to admire flowers and we stopped to watch the Devils' Dyke Morris Men do their traditional thing with sticks and bells.

After picking our way carefully through the crowds we left Thriplow and continued to Fowlmere where we turned south towards Chrishall Grange and the gentle climb to Elmdon (below).

From Elmdon we continued south to Duddenhoe End, where our route became notably more narrow and intimate.

At this stage we were only a few miles from Langley but since it was still only 4.00pm Jacob led us on a loop through Arkesden (below), Wicken Bonhunt and Clavering. where we splashed through the ford.

When we arrived at The Bull at Langley Lower Green we found Mike St and Ian, the sole remnants of the all-day ride, and George and Peter who had come separately. The pub was unlocked for us just after we arrived and we entered to find tea laid out waiting for us.

After a relaxed and convivial tea (£4.50) we all headed back to Cambridge. I rode back with Simon and Ian through Langley Upper Green (where the road runs across the middle of the cricket pitch) , Duddenhoe End and Elmdon (again) and on to Ickleton. Then it was a smooth fast ride along the Cam valley to Duxford, Whittlesford and the Shelfords and along the DNA path once again to arrive back in Cambridge just before 7pm. It was still broad daylight.

Today's ride was the first long afternoon ride of the summer season. It's nice to think that it is still only March. Total mileage: 48 miles.

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