I had the day off work today, and as the sky was clear and the sun was shining brightly this morning I decided to join the Thursday ride for a change. This started from Haslingfield Church at 9.30am. I had an engagement in Cambridge at 9am and so couldn't make the official start of the ride. Instead I left Cambridge at 10.30am intending to meet the group at Gamlingay for lunch.
The weather was beautiful, but it was cold and I was riding into quite a fierce headwind. From Cambridge I followed the Barton Road cycleway to Barton, where I turned left for Haslingfield. I passed the official start of the ride at about 11am, 90 minutes after the offical start. From here I climbed over Chapel Hill to Barrington where I took the road to Orwell.
As I entered Orwell I met the main ride: they turned into High Street Orwell about 100 yards ahead of me. There were about ten riders, led by Greta. They had taken a loop from Haslingfield via Newton, Thriplow, Shepreth and Malton, with a coffee stop at Malton Golf Club.
The group continued up to the A603 which we followed west as far as the A1198. We crossed the A1198 and continued to Wendy. "Windy, more like" said somebody as we toiled into the wind.
We continued through Shingay to Guilden Morden, where we turned north towards Wrestlingfield and Cockayne Hadley. The group had by now spread out and split into a number of separate groups. Most riders continued west to Potton, whilst my group continued north along the bridleway (with the woods offering a welcome respite from the wind) to Hatley Road, where we turned west for the final mile or two into Gamlingay.
At The Cock we met several more riders, making about 15 members in total at lunch.
As we stepped out after lunch we discovered that the sun had gone and that the wind had brought rain over from the west. We headed straight back home, with Geoff setting a rapid wind-assisted pace through Longstowe, Toft, Comberton and Barton. Geoff turned off towards Grantchester whilst Rupert and I continued into Cambridge. I arrived home at about 3pm, after having cycled 41 miles. Those who had ridden with the main group would have covered an additional 11 miles (from and to from Cambridge).
My route in purple. Route from official start in red. View this route (part from GPS, part from map) on a larger map