Sunday, 7 March 2010

7 Mar: Morning ride to Saffron Walden

Today, like yesterday, was cold, clear and sunny, probably the best weekend's weather so far this year. It was therefore disappointing to find only four riders at Brookside for today's day ride to Ickleton and Thaxted: Joseph, Simon, Steve and me. Perhaps the fine weather had tempted everyone else to do other things.

Joseph led us south down Trumpington Road to Trumpington where we turned left onto Great Shelford. There we turned right to Little Shelford and B1368 to Newton and Fowlmere. At Fowlmere we turned left towards the A505. As we passed Fowlmere Village Hall Simon had a puncture, and we stopped for a few minutes whilst he made the necessary repair.

After crossing the A505 we continued to Chrishall Grange where we turned left onto Grange Road to Ickleton.

At Ickleton we turned into Ickleton Barns, our planned coffee stop.

This was my first visit to Ickleton Barns. As we rode in I was impressed by its peaceful lakeside setting. Unfortunately the cafe was closed and we stood around for a few minutes discussing what to do next. Joseph and Simon were keen to return straight home, whilst Steve and I were keen to stay out for another hour or two enjoying the gorgeous sunny weather.

Steve and I continued on to Great Chesterford where we joined the B1383 which we followed as far as Littlebury. There we turned left onto the road that links it woth the B184 into Saffron Walden.

At Saffron Walden we stopped at Mocha Cafe, in the middle of the town. I ordered a mug of coffee and a toasted sandwich from a friendly assistant and sat down by the window to keep an eye on my bike. I was thinking what a nice cafe this was when I noticed a member of staff outside picking up my bike from by the window (not the one in the photo) where I had left it and moving it out of sight. So you lose my recommendation, Mocha Cafe, for your unhelpful attitude to visiting cyclists. There's no cycle parking anywhere nearby, so why don't you place a piece of timber along your window ledge so that cyclists can leave their bikes in sight without the risk of damaging your windows? Or isn't our custom welcome?

After coffee Steve and I returned back to Cambridge via Audley End house, Catmere End and a lovely descent of Coploe Hill back to Ickleton. Along the way we passed dozens of club cyclists riding in the opposite direction on some kind of cycling event. At the cross-roads just south of Catmere End I spotted a signpost to ROYSTOИ.

From Ickleton we took a short diversion via Hinxton before returnining to Cambridge via Whittlesford, the Shelfords and the DNA path. When I arrived back home I had 42 miles on the clock.

View this GPS track on a larger map

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