Sunday, 26 July 2009

26 July: Afternoon ride to Helions Bumpstead

Eight riders turned up at Brookside this afternoon for one of the longest afternoon rides of the year, to Helions Bumpstead. It was a warm but dull afternoon, with rain moving steadily across the country towards us. In the event it remained dry all the way until tea, when a light drizzle arrived.

Today was the day of the London to Cambridge Cycle Ride, and whilst we waited at Brookside we watched hundreds of riders pass on the final leg to Midsummer Common.

As ride leader I led the group south out of Cambridge to Trumpington and Great Shelford where we turned for Little Shelford and the road to Whittlesford and Duxford.

Our destination lay over to the east. However, due the lack of suitable roads leading in that direction we continued south to Ickleton and climbed Coploe Hill to Catmere End. From there a short descent and then a further climb over the "transmitter road" before dropping down to the B1039.

After riding south for 13 miles it was now time to turn east. We followed the B1039 into Audley End, crossed the B1393 and continued into Saffron Walden. This is a handsome town but quite busy with narrow streets and it was good to get through it and onto the road to Ashdon. When we reached Ashdon, Jacob and Mike K left the group to take an off-road route whilst the rest of us turned right to Steventon End and the lovely Olmstead Green loop (below) before arriving at Helions Bumpstead for tea at the Three Horseshoes.

Here we met George and Peter who had driven and Steve who had ridden directly. Soon Jacob and Mike arrived followed by Mike S, Averil, Adrian and Joseph from the all-day ride: a good turnout for one of the highest-quality teas of the year, with plenty of well-made sandwiches and two enormous and delicious cakes (the carrot cake was specially praised).

After tea we returned in various groups to Cambridge. I led the main group back via Linton and Abington, then over the A11 footbridge to Babraham and finally through Sawston and Stapleton onto the DNA path back into Cambridge. The whole journey back was accompanied by light drizzle but it was so light we hardly noticed it after a while, and it didn't spoil an excellent afternoon's ride of 49 miles.

View this GPS track on a larger map

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