Today was a perfect day for cycling: very warm, with clear skies and bright sunshine, and hardly any wind. So it was no surprise to find about ten riders at Brookside at 2.15pm for today's afternoon ride. It was particularly nice to be able to welcome several new or unfamilar faces.
Averil led the group west out of Cambridge along the Barton Road cycle track to Barton, setting a faster pace than we usually see at the start of the ride. However we all seemed to be able to keep up as we turned left to Haslingfield, where Mike Sl had a puncture and we all came to a halt.
Fortunately the puncture didn't take long to fix and we were soon climbing Chapel Hill before enjoying a long descent to Barrington. With virtually no wind I was able to attain 36mph on the way down.
After Barrington we continued to Shepreth and crossed the busy A10 to Fowlmere. Here we joined the B1368 which we followed via Flint Cross and Barley (below) all the way to Barkway. I tend to avoid this road because it can be busy and has a poor road surface. Today it was very quiet, but the road surface was still terrible and I was relieved, just after passing through Barkway, to turn right towards Buckland onto country lanes again.
At Buckland we met the A10 again, though this section was very quiet as we rode along it for a few hundred yards before turning off again towards Sandon. Averil had originally planned to head north towards Therfield and Royston but as it was still only 4pm I persuaded her to take a longer route. This took us through Roe Green up to the A505 which we crossed at Slip End. From there we continued through Ashwell and Steeple Morden to Litlington, arriving at the Crown PH about at about 5.05pm, five minutes late.
At tea we met Joseph, the sole remnant of the day ride, and Steve, George and Peter who had come separately. This meant there was a good turnout for tea, which as always at The Crown was excellent.
After tea most of us returned to Cambridge the direct route via Bassingbourn, Kneesworth, Meldreth, Shepreth and the reverse of our outward route. Since we had several newcomers I encouraged the group to ride back as a group, which we did as far as Haslingfield, where we split into two, with one of our new riders setting a brisk pace all the way back to Cambridge.
View this GPS track in a larger map
I returned home just before 7pm. Total mileage: 50 miles, quite high for an afternoon ride but entirely appropriate for such a lovely day.