Sunday, 17 May 2009

17 May: Afternoon ride to Great Chesterford

Simon FitzMaurice writes: Seven riders met at Brookside for the afternoon ride: Jacob, Mike S, Ian W, Julia, Averil, Chris and myself. Somewhat apprehensively, given the forecast of heavy rain and strong winds, we set out from Cambridge through Newnham on the Barton Road cycle track.

From Barton we headed towards Haslingfield where, despite a momentary a lapse of attention requiring a U turn, we managed at the second attempt to turn right, taking the well-trodden (ridden) route over Chapel Hill to Barrington. It was some measure of the headwind that we now encountered that speeds on the descent of the hill fell well short of those previously reported in these pages, but the possibility of rain now seemed more remote. We continued south-east through Shepreth, and Fowlmere before turning south at Chrishall Grange, catching occasional glimpses of activity from the Duxford air show to the east as we went.

From Chrishall Grange our route took us south across the county boundary to the border town of Chrishall, the long climb (below) to which seemed today to validate its claim as the highest point in Essex. We carried on to the increasingly quaintly named hamlets of Pond Street, Duddenhoe End and Hobs Aerie, a delightful area of sheltered and quiet lanes – ideal cycling territory.

It was with some regret on my part that we finally turned north, skirting Littlebury Green before joining the Great Chesterford road at Littlebury. Whether it was the promise of tea, or the fact that we now had the wind squarely behind us, the last few miles flew by, and arrived at the Plough PH as planned almost exactly at five o’clock.

While we were safely inside, some rain eventually fell (perfect timing!), but after tea it was clear that the threatened cloud had passed away, and we took full advantage of the propitious tailwind to travel back via Hinxton (where we carefully skirted the ford, lively due to recent rain), Duxford and Whittlesford, arriving back in Cambridge at 6:45.

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All in all, an exhilarating ride. Total distance 43 miles. Simon FitzMaurice

Julia Hochbach took the following splendid photos of this afternoon's ride:

Photos by Julia Hochbach.

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