Sunday, 16 May 2010

16 May: Afternoon ride to Hemingford Abbots

The recent cold spell seems to have passed, and today was warm and sunny. So I was not surprised to see eleven riders turn out for this afternoon's ride to Hemingford Abbots, including several new faces.

It was nice to see a variety of bikes, including the first tandem I had seen on a club ride for some years.

Peter H was our leader today. We started by heading west out of Cambridge along the Coton path.

From Coton we continued to Madingley, where we turned south for a big loop. This took us through Comberton to Harlton, where we returned back north through the Eversdens, Kingston (where we stopped for ten minutes for somebody to mend a puncture) and Bourn.

From Bourn we continued north, across the old St Neot's Road and on to Knapwell and Conington. At this point we turned back south to Hilton, where we joined a long section of bridleway past Topfield Farm and over the A14 to Hemingford Grey. This was rather bumpy though it was dry and perfectly cycleable, and a welcome alternative to the more familiar route through Fenstanton.

From Hemingford Grey it was only another mile or two to Hemingford Abbots, where we stopped for tea at the Axe and Compass. There we met Ian W and Tim from the day ride, and Steve G who, as usual, had ridden there directly.

Hemingford Abbots is a pretty village which I have cycled though several times before whilst following NCR 51 from Godmanchester to Cambridge. However I think this is the first time the club has visited the Axe and Compass for tea. First impressions were very positive: this pub has easily the best cycle parking I have ever seen in a pub, anywhere: in the garden were two neat rows of Sheffield racks.

Tea itself was excellent, with sandwiches, cake, chocolate brownies, and scones with cream. With fifteen at tea we were slightly above the booked numbers, but the staff prepared an extra plate of sandwiches without fuss. The price of £4 each was very satisfactory. I hope we return there again.

After tea the sun was still shining and it remained warm. As usual we divided into several groups taking slightly different routes home. The group I was with rode back to Hemingford Grey and then north to St Ives, where we joined the guided busway which we followed all the way back to Cambridge.

Along the busway, only one section of the cycle track remains flooded, though the sections that were flooded during the winter remain rather muddy in places. As usual, I soon gave up on the bumpy track and switched to riding along the smooth concrete guideway itself.

We reached the outskirts of Cambridge at about 7pm, and I was home by soon after 7.20pm, the sun still shining, and after having cycled 48 miles.

View this GPS track on a larger map

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