On this cool but sunny autumn day, fifteen riders turned out at Brookside for this afternoon's ride to Balsham.
Richard Broomfield had the task of leading this large group today, and led us carefully south through Trumpington to Great Shelford where we turned right to Little Shelford and Whittlesford, forming a long snake as we spread out along the road.
After passing through Duxford and Ickleton we climbed Coploe Hill (above) before stopping to rest at the top and wait for everyone to arrive (below).
We then dropped down the other side and turned east (below) towards Littlebury.
This involved another climb followed by a fast descent into Littlebury. From here a further climb and another descent down Windmill Hill took us into Saffron Walden.
Richard had originally intended to follow the B1052 through Little Walden to Linton but we were ahead of time and so decided to take the longer but quieter road to Ashdon. This is a gentle but long climb and the group once more became spread out.
At Ashdon we continued north to Bartlow. By now the sun was getting low but still shining brightly, casting dappled shadows across the road as we rode through some woodland.
North of Bartlow we crossed the A1307 and made out final ascent to Balsham, where we stopped at the Bell for tea. George, Peter, David and Steve were waiting for us, having travelled there directly. After a few minutes Adrian arrived with Mike S, Mike K and Tom from the day ride, making a total of 23 for tea. Despite having booked for half this number we were well catered for and there seemed to be plenty of sandwiches and cakes.
After tea we all returned to Cambridge, with the sun low in the sky but still shining. This is essentially downhill, and we split up into groups of various speeds, with Richard making sure no-one was left behind. I was back home in Cambridge by 5.55pm. It was still daylight: probably the last time this year I will return home without needing lights. After a fine autumn ride, the mileage was 37 miles.
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