It was another cold, overcast winter's day so it was perhaps not surprising that only five riders turned up at Brookside for this afternoon's ride to St Ives: Averil, Alasdair, Mike Sl, Mike K and me. I was the leader today, and had chosen a route which consisted of a big clockwise arc. We headed out of Cambridge along the Barton Road cycleway to Barton, where we turned left to Haslingfield.
At Haslingfield we turned right to Harlton and confinued through the Eversdens and Kingston to Bourn.
The weather was very dull, with a gentle breeze which make it seem quite cold. After a while it started to drizzle, and for a short while there was a bit of hail. The group set a fast pace, probably because the dreary weather mean there was little point in hanging around.
From Bourn we headed north, across the old A428 to Knapwell. When we reached the cross-roads north of Knapwell we were only a few miles from tea. However due to our fast pace we still had over an hour to spare, so we turned west for a loop through through Elsworth and Hilton to Fenstanton. At some point the drizzle stopped.
At Fenstanton we crossed under the A14 using the subway and, after a couple more miles, arrived at Ian's house in St Ives. Despite having ridden 25 miles we were still 25 minutes early, but we were happy to sit in the warm of Ian's sitting room waiting for Ian to make the final touches to his sandwiches and cakes.
Waiting at Ian's were Simon P, Julia, George, Peter, Mike S and Doug (plus, of course, Ian). Doug is still recovering from the serious injuries he received when he was hit by a car before Christmas, and it was very nice to see him out and about.
After an excellent tea we headed back home. After some discussion we agreed to follow the Guided Busway back to Cambridge.
This was the first time I had ridden the entire length of the guided busway. Between St Ives and Fen Drayton the cycle track was flooded so we rode along the concrete beams of the busway itself (which isn't, of course, in use yet). This was lovely and smooth but it was mentally tiring to have to concentrate on not falling off the edge of the narrow concrete path.
Once we were past the area of flooding we switched to the cycle track. This is unsurfaced and rough in places but fairly straightforward to ride along, even in the growing darkness. By the time we got to Oakington (well I think it was Oakington: there are no signs telling you were you are) Simon and Averil had had enough of the bumpy track and turned off onto the road, whilst Mike K and I continued along the busway cycle track through Histon, under the A14 to Cambridge. The busway track is bumpy, muddy and dull (especially in the dark), but you can't fault the complete absence of traffic which makes it a very peaceful, uneventful and quiet ride.
I left the busway track at CRC, a mile before the end, and returned home via Chesterton and the Green Dragon bridge. I was home just before 7pm, after having ridden 40 miles.
View this part GPS track, part manual route on a larger map