Wednesday, 28 July 2010

28 Jul: Evening ride to Fen Ditton

On a dull and overcast but warm evening, I arrived at Brookside to find Gareth, Cheryl and Rob waiting for this evening's ride to Fen Ditton. Gareth set a brisk pace from the start as we rode down Hills Road towards Addenbrooke's, but fortunately everyone seemed in the mood for a fast ride.

At Addenbrooke's we turned left onto Wort's Causeway and climbed the hill over the Gogs before dropping back down to Fulbourn. From there we continued to Great and Little Wilbraham and the road to Six Mile Bottom.

At Six Mile Bottom we turned left onto the main road for a short distance before turning right onto the unsurfaced road that leads to the level crossing at Westley Bottom.

After crossing the railway we continued along empty lanes to Dullingham where we turned back to Cambridge via Swaffham Bulbeck and Bottisham.

On the edge of Cambridge we stopped at The Plough in Fen Ditton, which has become a favourite on the evening rides. It was still quite warm so we sat outside with our drinks. By the time we had finished it was dark so we turned on our lights for the final few miles back into Cambridge. I was back home by 10pm, after having cycled 30 miles at an average speed of 13.4 mph.

View this GPS track on a larger map

Sunday, 25 July 2010

25 July: Day ride to Stradishall, Lavenham and West Wratting

Gareth writes: Tom led us on a fine ride today, taking in some beautiful countryside and many quiet lanes. There were six riders at the start at Brookside, and then at coffee we lost Greta but picked up Adrian and Geoff, making seven, which made today the best-attended day ride for quite a while.

It was a hot and humid day (though mercifully the sun was hidden in the clouds for much of it), so we were glad to make an extra stop at Clare for ice cream after lunch and before tea.

On the hill between Six Mile Bottom and Brinkley.

Approaching Hawkedon shortly after coffee.

In the yard at the back of the Guildhall in Lavenham is this decorative armillary sphere bearing a quotation from the Queen’s 1952 Christmas broadcast: “Many grave problems and difficulties confront us all, but with a new faith in the old and splendid beliefs given us by our forefathers, and the strength to venture beyond the safeties of the past, I know we shall be worthy of our duty.”

The market square at Lavenham.

Tom checks the map at a junction between Borley and Belchamp St Paul.

Between Belchamp St Paul and Ovington we passed under this net stretched across the road. It must be there to protect the road from something falling from the power lines passing directly overhead. But what?

From Brookside to Lavenham and back to Cambridge was about 80 miles, but I did an extra loop to Dry Drayton in the morning before the ride, and another loop to Waterbeach afterwards, to make it up to 100 miles for the day.

View this in a larger map.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

21 Jul: Evening ride to Dry Drayton

Damien Walsh writes: When I arrived at Brookside, Cheryl and newcomer Rob were waiting there. Before long two more rides arrived Daniel and John. We discussed routes and the route that I had planned seemed fine.

The route took us took us through Trumpington and Great Shelford to Little Shelford, so as John lives nearby he lead the first part of the ride.

We then rode through Newton where I took over leading the ride. We then went to Barrington and north over Chapel Hill to Haslingfield. When we got to the top of the hill it was about 8:15pm. I was a little concerned that we would not make our tea stop for 9pm. So I did a little ad-hoc re-routing. John made his apologies and left to travel back home.

We set off on our new route north to Barton then to Hardwick through Comberton. As we headed north from Hardwick to Dry Drayton we could see the sun setting. We got to The Black Horse in Dry Drayton just before 9pm.

After a drink and a long chat we discussed the route that we would take back whilst fending off the midges. We decided to travel back to Cambridge though Coton as Daniel was familiar with the cycle route from there to Cambridge.

We put our lights on and set off through Madingley to Coton, with Daniel leading. We then went into Cambridge using Daniel's cycle route. I took over being in front as it was very dark and I had the best lights, with Daniel giving directions from behind.

We arrived back in Cambridge after doing about 30 miles. Daniel split off from us to go home. Rob and I went back to Brookside and Cheryl went to the station. Cheryl did really well particularly since she was riding her little fold-up bike.

It was a very nice evening with a collaboration of leading and advising styles enjoyed by everyone. The following day Rob became a CTC member. Welcome Rob! Damien Walsh.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

20 Jul: Senior Cyclists' Ride to Stechworth

George Rich writes: The Senior Cycling Group met on Tuesday. It was a hot sunny day. We started from the Newmarket Road Park and Ride site at 9.30am.

Our route was Quy, Lode, White Fen. We stopped here for coffee by the new cycle bridge. We continued through the Swaffhams to Dullingham Station to
Lunch at the Marquis of Granby, Stetchworth.

As it was a hot day we cycled home on the old Newmarket Road, Fen
Ditton and home.

The Senior Group is for members who would like a shorter and more easy
pace run than the Thursday Group. George Rich

Monday, 19 July 2010

18 Jul: Afternoon ride to Hemingford Abbots

Simon FitzMaurice writes: Perhaps threat of interment was no discouragement, because around a dozen riders were already at Brookside when I arrived this Sunday.

By the time of departure numbers had risen to 15 including, I am pleased to report, a strong contingent of new faces: we set off for Hemingford Abbots with fine weather - sunny and warm, but with rather a stiff breeze from the south-west.

I decided to avoid the usual route through Barton, but rather took the Trumpington Road to Grantchester, past Lord Archer's residence immortalised in their turn by Robert Brooke and John Graham.

From Grantchester it was across the fields to Haslingfield, thence to Harlton and via the Eversdons to Bourn. In the open country the wind was more noticable, but it never seemed to be too much of an obstacle.

The size of the group meant that there was a variety of riding speeds, meaning that frequent stops were necessary to re-group; accordingly at Bourn I abandoned plans to press westward through Great Gransden, but rather headed north along the rather shorter route through Knapwell and Conington.

By the time we reached the outskirts of Fenstanton we were close to our destination, but a more pleasant approach to the Hemingfords is from the south - so we turned towards Hilton, from where we took the bridle path [a second treat for Jacob that afternoon] to the Gore Tree Road bridge across the A14, finally reaching the Axe and Compass at almost exactly 5 o'clock, to join three members from the day ride: with the addition of Damien, who had ridden directly to tea, we were 19 in number.

As previously reported in these pages, the Axe and Compass provides well for the cyclist. Besides providing an excellent tea and copious secure cycle parking, it should be noted that they serve ice cream.

Unlike the occasion of the club's last visit, there was no appetite for the guided bus way and so we returned on a zig-zag route via Fenstanton, Swavesey, Oakington and Girton.

I was back in Cambridge shortly after 7pm, having completed a distance of 45 miles. Simon FitzMaurice.

Photos by Julia Hochbach.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

18 Jul: Morning ride to St Neots

I arrived at Brookside at 9am to find only Jerry and Joseph waiting. After briefly wondering where everyone else was, we set off west out of Cambridge along the Coton Path to Coton and Madingley.

The weather was cloudy, and a steady breeze from the south meant that the temperature was warm rather than hot.

We continued to Dry Drayton and then Hardwick, where Joseph turned for home, leaving Jerry and I to continue on to St Neots. We took a northerly route via Elsworth, Yelling and Toseland to St Neots, where we stopped for coffee at the Ambience Cafe in the Riverside Park at about 11.15pm.

As I rode up to the cafe I was surprised to find ten CTC members sitting at a table outside, drinking coffee. So this is where everyone was!

After coffee I returned back to Cambridge with Jerry, leaving most of the remaining riders to carry on to lunch in Harold Country Park north of Bedford.

Jerry and I took a more southerly route back to Cambridge: essentially the B1046 all the way, except for a diversion via Caxton. In Abbotsley we discovered the "Scarecrow Festival", with ingeniously-dressed straw figures in front gardens all over the village.

I was back in Cambridge by about 1.20pm, having cycled about 48 miles.

View this GPS track on a larger map

17 Jul: Saturday morning ride to Horningsea

Julia Hochbach writes: Our Saturday rides are particularly suitable for newcomers, so I was delighted that my house mate Luci, who has ridden with us before, brought three friends along.

Ian and I had planned an anti-clockwise route to Horningsea, and so just after 10.00am our group of 7 (Bob was also with us) set off south along Trumpington Road. Via Addenbrookes we went to Worts Causeway and over the hill into Fulbourn.

The hill is quite steep in places, so this was a bit of a challenge for some riders.

However, the downhill section on the other side, zooming along in the summer sunshine with the wind in our hair (and a tailwind it was, too!) was very rewarding. From Fulbourn we continued to Teversham and along the Airport Way to Newmarket Road. We had to wait a little while before we could cross this busy road and then turned right onto NCN route 51 as far as High Ditch Road, were we took a sharp left turn towards Fen Ditton.

Before we reached the village, however, we turned right onto Low Fen Droveway, which starts as a tarmac road, but turns into a farm track of variable surface quality after the bridge over the A14.

Even though the track was a bit bumpy in places, I enjoyed the ride between the fields of ripening peas and grain.

The clouds above us were getting denser and darker and there were a few spots of rain, but we reached Horningsea Road without actually getting wet. There I was pleased to see that the new cycle path between Horningsea and Fen Ditton is making good progress and is already in place north of the A14 into the village. We arrived at the garden centre soon after 11.30 am, where we were met by my other housemate Chris, who has also been on several rides with us before. Here we had a welcome break before making our way to Clayhithe and along the river back to Cambridge.

The sun came out again, making for a pleasant finish to our ride. I hope our guests enjoyed it, too, and will join us again some time. Julia Hochbach