Monday, 28 December 2009

27 Dec: Day ride to Saffron Walden

Joseph Sugg writes: I arrived at Brookside ready for a 9:30am start, to find no-one waiting. I was about to leave when John Temple arrived. It turned out that this ride was down as a 10:00am start - that'll teach me not to check the runslist. By 10:00am we had five brave souls keen for relief from the Christmas festivities.

There was still a little ice at Brookside, but none on the roads. Conscious that some minor roads may still be icy, and with information that the Drabbet smock at Haverhill would be packed, we set off for Saffron Walden instead.

We took a familiar route through the Shelfords to Whittlesford, then on to Duxford and Ickleton. We gave Coploe Hill a miss and went past Riverside Barns in Ickleton (which were apparently open). We joined the main road at Great Chesterford and carried on to Audley End, stopping long enough for a photo. There was a surprising amount of traffic on the roads, obviously unable to resist the temptation of all those bargains...

We arrived at the Temeraire at 11:45am. This was late enough to allow us to stop for lunch. The standard of food here is very good, and cheap. I had burger and chips and a coffee for just £4:75. The pub filled up steadily, and was full by the time we left.

The weather was now threatening rain and sleet. It didn't come to anything, but it was still cold and bleak with a brisk westerly wind: a typical winters day! We rode back the way we came with a detour through Hinxton to look at the ford. As expected there was still a little ice on parts of this road.

We were all glad to get back home to the warm. I got home at about 2:00pm having completed 35 miles. Joseph Sugg.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Happy Christmas, Doug Kennet

Here at Cambridge CTC we're all thinking of Doug Kennet, who is spending Christmas recovering from serious injuries received when he was hit by a car whilst cycling home after the club lunch on Sunday 13th December. Get well soon, Doug, and we all hope we will see you back on your bike soon.

If you know Doug and would like to know more, join the members' email forum or contact us.

Dangerous driving must be stopped. Support CTC's campaign at . And if you're not yet a member, join CTC now. Nigel

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas day ride?

We are still hoping to hold our annual Christmas Morning ride tomorrow, 25th December. This departs from Brookside at 10am and ends with a lunchtime drink at The Hoops in Barton. We will be keeping to clear roads as much as possible.

However if there is a frost on Christmas Eve/early Christmas Day and it remains icy we will cancel the ride. Mike Stapleton will make a final decision on Christmas morning and notify the members' email discussion list early on the 25th. If you don't have access to this, and are thinking of coming along, phone Mike after 8 am on Christmas Day on his mobile 07940 736861 before setting out. Fingers crossed (and gloved...) Posted by Nigel at midday on Christmas Eve.

Update: Looks OK this Christmas morning: the ride will go ahead as planned.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Tuesday 22nd Dec: Senior Cyclists' Group

The Senior Cyclists' Group will meet for lunch as planned at 12:30pm at The Monkfield
Arms, Cambourne, but due to the wintry weather there won't be a ride beforehand.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Sunday 20th Dec: rides cancelled

Anyone who's been out on a bike in Cambridge this weekend will know how slippery the roads are. With more snow forecast, we've decided to cancel both our rides on Sunday 20th Dec.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas lunch - more photos

The club held its Christmas lunch on Sunday 13th . George took these photos. For Nigel's report on the ride to get there, see Christmas lunch ride to Bourn.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

January and February rides lists

The rides lists for January and February are now available.

Note that during January, Sunday afternoon rides will start 30 minutes early at 1.45pm, with an earlier tea stop. This is an experiment to make better use of limited afternoon daylight. Sunday afternoon rides return to their normal 2.15pm departure time in February.

13 Dec: Christmas lunch ride to Bourn

Today was the day of the club Christmas lunch at Bourn Golf Club, so there was just one ride today, which departed from Brookside at 10am with the aim of giving us a good appetite for lunch! As expected, a large group turned out for the ride so we split into two groups, a faster group led by Joseph and a slightly more gentle one led by Mike S. I rode with Joseph's group.

We all set off out of Cambridge along the cycle path to Barton, where we rejoined the road and turned left for Haslingfield. There we climbed Chapel Hill and dropped down as usual into Barrington before making a further turn for Orwell. On reaching Orwell we crossed the A603 and took the road that led towards Wimpole Hall. It was a dull morning, dry after earlier rain and with occasional periods of brightness.

As we passed the stable block at Wimpole Hall we spotted a display of vintage cycles on proud display and stopped to have a closer look. It was March Veteran and Vintage Cycle Club, whose members had brought along a dozen vintage bicycles and were proudly standing by them dressed in Victorian or Edwardian costume.

We stopped to have a chat, and to compare our bikes with theirs (they were impressed by Mike's Mercian), and gave us a short demonstration of how to ride a "Penny Farthing".

After Wimpole we continued through Arrington and Croydon before climbing the short but steep Croydon Hill on the road towards the Hatleys. Just after passing through Hatley St George we turned right and cut north onto the road that took us back via Longstowe to Bourn.

At the Golf Club we met Mike's group (which had taken a slightly shorter route via Old Wimpole) and all the other club members come along for the Christmas lunch.

More photos here.

After lunch we all headed home. The sun had come back out for the final hour or so of daylight so a group of took a roundabout route back, via Kingston, Haslingfield, Harston, the Shelfords and the DNA path. I was home by 4pm, having ridden 40 miles.

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Wednesday, 9 December 2009

8 Dec: Senior Cyclists' ride from Santon Downham (car assisted)

Peter Rowell writes: Our car-assisted ride to the Breckland arrived at the forestry offices at Santon Downham just after 10.00am. We unloaded the bikes and started off at 10.20am for The Angel at Larling. Although we had a shower on the way to Santon Downham, the sky had cleared and we had sunshine for the ride.

Going uphill (hill?, what hill) out of the Little Ouse valley we joined the Harling Drove. Being wet, the sand was easy to ride for the first stage and after the Mundford Road it was surfaced road all the way. We stopped at Croxton New Buildings to drink our coffee, then carried on through Wretham, Gt Hockham and Larling to The Angel.

After a large lunch, Adrian suggested we go back via Shropham and Gt Hockham, which we did. The weather was now broken overcast cloud but still dry. When we got to Wretham Camp we were again treated to a display of Helicopter take-offs and landings (as on our previous ride on this route).

We arrived back at Santon Downham by 3.30pm to load the bikes and return home having cycled 30 miles, mostly in quiet country lanes (except for the air activity). The oldest rider today was 82 (and he was in the lead a lot of the time). Peter Rowell.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

6 Dec: Day ride to Cambourne and Waresley

Joseph Sugg writes: With another poor day on the cards, I paid close attention to the forecast. The BBC website is usually fairly accurate and today was no exception. It suggested that after a very wet start it would clear up quickly to give an otherwise clear day. I arrived at Brookside in heavy rain, and not surprisingly no one else turned up. Undeterred, I nipped back home and rang Mike. We eventually began the ride at 10:30am from Grantchester.

Mike and I took a fairly direct route to Cambourne, through Barton, Comberton, Toft, Bourn and Caxton, before taking the bypass road into Cambourne. Coffee was planned to be at Martin's. Not surprisingly we had a lot of trouble finding his house. Cambourne is a very strange place. We needn't have bothered, because when we eventually found his house Martin wasn't in; he had obviously given up on us (that's if it was indeed his house that we found).

Despite being in need of coffee we didn't stop at Morrison's. Instead we left Cambourne by the same route we had come in, and when we reached Caxton we turned towards the Gransdens. The ford in Caxton was in flood and we had to use the bridge. This is highly unusual for a ford which is usually bone dry. At this point we first noticed the wind which had now decided to announce its presence as we struggled on to the Garden Centre at Waresley. We arrived there at 12:30pm so our coffee stop turned into lunch. The cafe was very busy with lots of people ordering their reasonably-priced Christmas lunch.

After consuming a bacon baguette, a scone and coffee, we were ready for the road home. We set off to Gamlingay where we turned off towards the Hatleys, with the wind partially in our favour for the first time. We decided to go all the way down Croydon Hill, reaching speeds of over 35 mph despite the wind. This is one of the best hills in the area. It's not nice to go up, but great to go down!

At the bottom of the hill we turned left and then right towards Wendy, where we turned right followed a left onto the Abington Piggots road towards Bassingbourn. Once in Bassingbourn we finally had the full benefit of the wind, which was much appreciated.

We went up to Meldreth before cutting through Melbourn and past the RSPB reserve to Fowlmere. From Fowlmere we had a good ride back to Shelford, averaging over 20mph. We passed a quick Brompton rider but were also passed by a "quicky" on a Bianchi.

I continued through the Shelfords and back along the main road to Grantchester, getting home before dark at about 3:45pm. It was well worth making the effort today. My total mileage was 55 miles. Joseph Sugg.

6 Dec: Afternoon ride to Cambourne

The morning rain had passed to reveal a fine and sunny afternoon, and eight riders turned out for this afternoon's ride. Our tea stop today was the cafe at Morrison's supermarket in Cambourne. Since this stopped serving at 3.30pm, our ride leader Gareth took us straight there, following the B1046 through Barton, Comberton and Toft. Although it was a bit breezy with a bit of a headwind, this was a very pleasant ride, with just a few puddles to remind us of the less pleasant weather earlier.

When we reached Bourn we rode north through the village and turned left onto the track that leads into Cambourne. We arrived at Morrison's at about 3.25pm, with the sun still shining and in good time for a cup of coffee and a slice of Christmas cake.

We had only ridden 14 miles to tea, so Gareth suggested we took a roundabout route back to Cambridge. We headed east along the old A428 to Hardwick and turned left to Dry Drayton, continuing over the A14 to Oakington. It was getting dark now, and the traffic was rather busier than it had been earlier, but a tailwind pushed us along.

From Oakington we continued towards Westwick. When we reached the junction with the guided busway, we turned right onto the cycle track that runs alongside it and followed it east towards Cambridge. The cycle track is not yet open and doesn't have a hard surface, but is clear and relatively easy to cycle along. The only problems were an area of flooding at Westwick station, and occasional patches of very loose gravel. I hadn't been along here before and even though it was now quite dark it was interesting to try it out at last. One day this will be a fine cycle route, though probably not a very scenic one. Apart from a couple of road crossings the route was entirely traffic-free until we reached Milton Road in Cambridge. Here our group split up; I headed towards the city centre, arriving home at 5.30pm after riding a modest 29 miles.

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