Our second midweek evening ride of the season was held on a brighter evening than the first one, and the sun was shining brightly as we rode west out of Cambridge towards the setting sun. As with last week, four riders had turned out for the ride, though my companions were different from last week: Ian D, Damien and Cheryl.
This evening's pub stop was to be in Newton, so I suggested a loop to the south of Cambridge. So we headed west to Barton, through Haslingfield and over Chapel Hill to Barrington.
From Barrington we continued south, to Shepreth and Fowlmere and then across the A505 to Chrishall Grange. With only a few clouds in the sky, the fields were bathed in evening sunlight, making this a lovely ride.
It has been a cold week, and this evening was no exception, so we were all dressed in the types of clothing that we would have typically chosen for a winter ride rather than one in late spring.
At Chrishall Grange I checked the time. It was 8.20pm. It was time we turned back north, but since the evening was so beautiful, and the lanes around here so nice, we agreed to continue south for just a little further, allowing us to make a loop via Ickleton Grange to Ickleton.
By the time we reached Ickleton it was approaching 9pm and we stopped to turn on lights and don extra clothing, since with the sun now setting the temperature was falling noticeably.
At about 9.25pm we reached Newton, where we stopped for a drink at the Queen's Head. I have known about this pub for years but have never visited it, so it was nice to be able to experience its simple, unspoiled interior and a fine pint of Adnams beer drawn from one of the barrels that sits behind the bar (there are no handpumps). Damien, who was sensibly drinking orange juice, ordered a plate of bread and ham.
After a pleasant half-hour chat we got back on our bikes. Ian went off to his home nearby whilst the remaining three of us continued on to Cambridge. It was by now completely dark, and the temperature was now freezing. Astonishingly for the middle of May, our toes and fingers were aching as we rode the final seven miles to Cambridge via the Shelfords and the DNA path.
We parted company in Hills Road: Cheryl for the station, Damien for a further hour's ride to Cottenham, and me for a five-minute journey home. I reached home by 10.50pm, rather later than expected, after having cycled 32 miles.
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