Sunday, 29 November 2009

29 Nov: Day ride to Melbourn and Hinxworth

Alasdair Massie writes: Hail was bouncing off the tarmac on my way to the start of the ride. Just three other riders had braved the elements and were to be found sheltering under a tree at Brookside. We picked up one more at coffee. The hail stopped, and after a little deliberation we set off, down the DNA path to Shelford. As it turned out the weather gods were smiling on us. Great anvil head storm clouds filled the sky from horizon to horizon, dramatically picked out by shafts of sunlight in between, but we managed to dodge all of the showers.

After coffee in Melbourn I came out to a flat tyre. Something small and sharp has obviously embedded itself deep into the tread because I have had a succession of punctures over the last week – all in the same place (that tyre is now in the bin).

The puncture set us back a bit so after a pretty ride to Orwell, we put our heads down and rode straight down the A603 past Wimpole and then down the B1042 as far as Wrestlingworth. You can tell it is getting close to Christmas, the road out of Cambridge had been very busy for a Sunday morning, and it didn’t really ease up until after lunch. Not that it was ever a problem, it just disturbed the ambience of the ride a little.

Farrowby Farm is one of my favourite lunch stops. We used to take the children every so often, walk them round, show them the pigs, and then go into the cafe to lunch guiltily off one of their brethren (the pigs’ brethren I hasten to add, not the childrens’). It was just starting to spit with rain as we reached the cafe door, and the heavens opened up as we ate. Isn’t it a nice feeling to sit in a warm cafe while the rain beats down outside ?

With perfect timing the rain stopped as we paid our bills. I won’t say that the sun came out, but it was dry and pleasant. We split, briefly, on the way to Ashwell and can now confirm that it is quicker to go straight through the village than to wind down Love Lane. Quicker, but not so pretty.

My tyre went flat on me one last time just after Kneesworth, and after all the attention it had received over recent days, the valve head snapped off. Great, 15 miles from home, starting to rain, just getting dark, and the valve has snapped. Surprisingly it survived all the way home but has now joined the tyre in the bin.

It was a dark, wet ride home from there. The rain got steadily heavier as we splashed our way over Chapel Hill and through Barton, back to Cambridge. After a night on the radiator my gloves were still wet the next day. But what the hell, it was an eventful ride, good scenery, gentle terrain and a great lunch stop. Thanks to Mike S for leading it. Alasdair Massie

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