It's midsummer already, and there were fourteen riders at Brookside to celebrate it with today's afternoon ride to Ashdon. It was warm, with the gentlest of breezes and quite bright despite the cloud: fine weather for cycling, and no surprise we had such a good turnout. As usual we had an impressive variety of bikes: Ian and I on folders, an assortment of hybrids, a couple of road bikes, several classic tourers including Pete on a brand new Dawes Galaxy as well as Mike on his recumbent, Stan on his three-speed and Simon on his "fixie".
Julia, taking the role of leader for the first time, led us south out of Cambridge along the Trumpington and Shelford roads to Great Shelford, where we made the familiar right turn to Little Shelford.
From Little Shelford we continued as usual to Whittlesford and Duxford (above). Here we turned left to Hinxton, where I sped ahead to take photos at the ford.
Gareth and Simon splashed through without difficulty (see photos), but Mike Sl on his recumbent slipped over on the notorously slimy streambed and tumbled into the water. No damage was apparent to rider or bicycle, but Mike retired home to dry off.
From Hinxton we continued to Ickleton and a long but gentle climb over the hill to Elmdon.
From there we had a fast descent to Wenden Lofts. Then left for a short distance before a further left turn and another rather steeper climb to Littlebury Green using a road we rarely use in this direction. From there we had a long, fast and enjoyable descent to Audley End house.
We continued into Saffron Walden and out again on the road to Ashdon, which we reached at about 4.15pm.
We had tea at the Ashdon Village Museum, where we met George, Mike St, John T and Steve. We purchased tea and home-made cake from the friendly local volunteers (I had a small pot of tea and an enormous slice of carrot cake for £2) which we enjoyed sitting outside in the late afternoon sunshine.
After tea Julia led the group back to Cambridge. At Bartlow a few riders continued straight on towards Balsham (and no doubt a fast sprint along the Balsham Road) whilst the majority turned left towards Linton and Abington.
As we rode along we began to spread out, so I suggested to the group that given the number of newcomers on the ride it would be nice if we stayed together. So I was slightly embarrased to realise, somewhere beyond Linton, that my group of four front-runners has become detached from the main group, which was nowhere to be seen. Deciding there was no point in waiting we continued, through Abington and over the A11 footbridge to Babraham, and finally through Sawston, Stapleford, Great Shepreth and the DNA path to Cambridge. After a very pleasant summer afternoon's cycling, I was back home at 6.15pm. Total mileage: 43 miles.
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