When leading a large group it is best to keep the route simple, to reduce the risk of losing people. Fortunately today's route out of Cambridge was very simple: straight down Hills Road to Addenbrooke's. It was good to be able to try out the new cycle lanes on the bridge over the railway. Just after passing the hospital we turned left onto Wort's Causeway and climbed over the hill to Fulbourn.
We spread out as we climbed the hill but regrouped at the bottom.
In Fulbourn we rode along Haggis Gap (wonderful name) and Pierce Lane to the High Street and the road to Great Wilbraham. As we approached the village Jacob rode forward through the group, soliciting riders keen on taking an off-road diversion. At Great Wilbraham Jacob and three others turned off, leaving ten of us to continue to Little Wilbraham and the road to Six Mile Bottom.
At Six Mile Bottom we crossed the main road and continued along the Brinkley Road, climbing once more. Half-way up the hill we turned left to Dullingham.
From Dullingham we continued east, through the rolling countryside south of Newmarket. After a while the off-roaders caught up with us and we were fourteen again.
After a couple of miles of pleasant undulation we turned north towards Newmarket.
When we arrived at the western edge of the town we crossed over the main road and followed Hamilton Road, a pleasant wide road which runs along the boundary between the town and the Heath. I had planned to follow this road all the way round to Exning Road, but I turned right too early and took Edinburgh Road instead, which took us through a residental area and onto Exning Road a little to the south of where I had intended. (If you examine the map below you can see where I should have gone).
We followed Exning Road out of Newmarket, under the A14 and into Exning itself. By now it was about 4.10pm, so I decided to stay on the B1103 all the way to Burwell rather than take the quieter NCR51 route via Heath Road.
We arrived at The Anchor, Burwell just before 4.30pm. Mike and Averil from the day ride were waiting there, as were George, Peter, David and Steve who had ridden there directly, making a total of twenty at tea. With such a large group I had been anxious that we would run out of food, but I needed not have worried: the landlord had put on an enormous spread for us. Not only sandwiches but also salads, pasta, sausages and sausage rolls, served with plentiful coffee and tea. Cake arrived soon after. An absolute bargain at £4, and there was still plenty left when we had finished.
After tea, we made plans for the journey home. There was plenty of daylight still left on this sunny evening, so whilst I led the main group a fairly direct route home, Gareth led a smaller group on a rather longer route via Wicken.
My group rode back in lovely evening sunshine via Reach, the Swaffhams, Bottisham and Quy. I was back home by 6.30pm, the sky still light, after a distance of 39 miles.
Meanwhile Gareth's group took a loop to Wicken Fen, a bit of Lower Rd to avoid the A1123, then down throgh Upware and River Bank, across Bottisham Lode on the new cycle bridge, then Lode, Bottisham, and back to Cambridge via Stow-cum-Quy and Fen Ditton.
View this GPS track on a larger map
Photos 1 and 5 by Gareth Rees. Licence: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA v2.0