Monday, 20 July 2009

19th July: Day ride to St Ives, Grafham Water and Caxton

Mike Stapleton writes: In spite of a poor weather forecast of sunshine and showers we had a good turnout at Brookside. There were eleven starters, including Doug who had arrived early from Stevenage aided by a following wind. The ride was led by Mike Cousins who led us out via Senate House Passage with some difficulty as there were a huge number of foreign visitors with no road sense whatsoever: they were walking down the paths six abreast. We got out to the Coton Path without incident.

We noticed that some resurfacing has taken place on the path over the motorway which is good news. We continued out along the cycle path to Hardwick. Much to our surprise Mike took us down through Highfield and Caldecote. Highfield has serious traffic calming with some 18 road humps. I understand we were early so Mike had put in a loop. We went through Bourn and back up to the A428 and took the road down to Knapwell, Conington and Fenstanton. We had a little rain on this section so we were glad to get to St Ives and Ian's house for coffee without getting seriouly wet.

Ian did us proud and we had a great coffee session in his house. The cakes were fantastic - better than most booked teas. We were not keen to leave but by then the sun had come out so we set off through the Hemingfords. There is a section of vicious road calming between the Hemingfords which really shook us up. Then on by the cycle path to Godmanchester where we turned left along the river and up over the hill to the Offords. We had to wait at the level crossing for a couple of trains before carrying on past the mill and the marina to Buckden.

By the time we left Buckden the rain had started again and kept on until we got to the cafe at Grafham Water. At Grafham we met Adrian and Vic who had come out via St Ives. No sooner were we in the cafe than the sky opened and it really poured. We were glad to be inside. There was a little sailing and a few hardy fishermen on the lake which we could see at times between the showers.

Eventually the rain eased off and we started off going south. The weather improved and the sun came out. We had a comparatively easy ride up to Bushmills where the ride split up with four carrying on towards Great Barford and four taking the shorter route via St Neots. The St Neots group stopped at the riverside park for the obligatory ice cream. They continued east through Abbotsley, where there was a scarecrow festival. See here for pictures of these and many more scarecrows. We then carried on with the wind behind us to Great Gransden and Caxton where tea was at the Cross Keys. As soon as we got into the pub the rains started again. We had twelve for tea by the time everyone had arrived. The rain stopped in time for the return ride to Cambridge. Mike Stapleton.

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