Today's tea stop was in Caxton, about ten miles west of Cambridge. So when we set out from Brookside I was surprised and intrigued to find Bob leading us east, in precisely the opposite direction.
There were only three of us on today's afternoon ride, Bob, Gareth and me. Everyone else was no doubt put off by a forecast of heavy showers. Despite that, it was warm and bright as we headed east across Cambridge towards Midsummer Common and along the river. We crossed over the new Riverside Bridge and continued through Chesterton before meeting the river once more by the Penny Ferry pub. From here we joined the path along the north bank and followed it all the way to Clayhithe.
This path is normally congested with walkers, runners and cyclists but today it was deserted, no doubt due to the threatening weather. As a result this was a lovely, relaxing ride along a beautiful section of river.
At Clayhithe we left the river and followed the cycle path to Waterbeach Station and from there into Waterbeach. From here we began our ride towards Caxton, following a big anticlockwise arc that took us through Landbeach and the fen-edge villages of Cottenham, Rampton, Willingham and Over.
From Over we turned south towards Swavesey, and into the path of a strong blustery headwind which became our constant adversary all the way to Caxton.
Just before Swavesey we crossed the route of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, and stopped to admire its ribbon of concrete stretching into the distance.
From Swavesey we continued south-west into the wind, over the A14 and to Boxworth and Elsworth where we turned left towards Caxton Gibbet. Somewhere beyond Elsworth we caught up with Jacob who had come out on his own. The final section to Caxton Gibbet involves a short section of new cycle track alongside the A428.
From Caxton Gibbet it was a short run downhill into Caxton. Until now the afternoon had remained dry, with patches of sunshine, but now it started raining and it was good to arrive at the Cross Keys for tea.
With a good turnout from the day ride and from several others who had cycled there directly, there was a full dozen at tea. This is one of our best and friendliest tea stops, with an enormous quantity of food which we were unable to make more than a token impact upon.
The rain passed, and the ten or so miles back to Cambridge were dry. I arrived home at about 6.40pm, having seen only about five minutes of rain (but several hours of wind), and a total mileage of 42 miles.
View this GPS track in a larger map.