Sunday, 28 November 2010

28 Nov: Unofficial afternoon ride to Elsenham

Nigel writes: Today's club rides were cancelled last night due to the freezing temperatures and the prospect of ice and snow. That was probably wise, but as today turned out to be fine and sunny I thought I would go out for a ride anyway and invited other members to join me at Brookside for a 1.30pm start.

When I arrived at Brookside there was no-one else there so I took the opportunity to take a photo showing the ice on Hobson's Conduit. Averil arrived on foot a few minutes later to notify people that the official ride had been cancelled. This turned out to be unnecessary, as no-one else turned up except for Gareth who was ready to go for a ride with me.

The temperature was about 1C but the sky was clear and the sun was shining brightly, and continued to do so for the rest of the day. I suggested we ride south for a couple of hours to Elsenham and then catch the train back. This would allow us to have a decent ride in pleasant countryside but avoid the need to cycle back after sunset when the temperature would no doubt drop back below freezing.

The route we took was fairly direct, and, for the first part, on familiar roads through the Shelfords, Whittlesford and Duxford to Ickleton. From there we climbed Coploe Hill to Catmere End. It was really rather nice riding in the bright sunshine, with virtually no wind.

We then dropped down to Littlebury Green where we turned left for the little road over the hill past the transmitter. There had been no ice on any of the roads up until now but this little lane was quite frosty so we took this hill cautiously.

Another hill took us to Arkesden where I stopped to consult the map for the first time as we were now on less familiar roads. We continued through Wicken Bonhunt, Rickling and Rickling Green, where I stopped to switch on my rear light. Although the sun was still shining it was now very low in the sky and the temperature began to fall. Fortunately it was only a few more miles through Ugley Green to Elsenham station, which we reached at 3.35pm.

This left us a comfortable fifteen minutes to struggle with the ticket machine and purchase our tickets before the 1550 train arrived to take us back to Cambridge. We arrived back in Cambridge at 4.20pm and I was home a few minutes later, after having cycled a modest but enjoyable 26 miles.

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Saturday, 27 November 2010

Sunday 28th November: Rides cancelled

Both our rides on Sunday 28th November are cancelled due to the freezing temperatures and the forecast of ice and snow.

25 Nov: Thursday ride to Carlton and Kedington

Edward writes: Nine riders gathered at Greta's house on a very cold and unpleasant morning, each probably wishing the others had stayed at home. This was a particularly good turnout and we set off and made our way back through Great Shelford, over to the Gogs and up over the hill to Fulbourn.

From here it was to Great Wilbraham. (Geoff had previously cycled from here to Hauxton, so he got to know the road pretty well). Although it was very cold the wind was not too strong and didn't cause us any problems as we made our way to Six Mile Bottom, over the A11 and the railway and the long climb up to Brinkley.

The next village was Carlton where we stopped for coffee. This was kindly provided by Gwen and Malcolm along with a delicious chocolate and beetroot cake - what a good combination. It was also nice to feel warm again and when it was time to move on there was a distinct reluctance to leave the comforts of a warm house and get on the bikes again. However, that's what Thursdays are for so we braced ourselves and set off again, joined by Malcolm and Peter, making for Lt Thurlow and Gt Bradley, before arriving at our lunch stop at The Barnardiston Arms in Kedington.

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch and then it was time to make our way home. This was through Withersfield, West Wickham, where Averill had a puncture, but our expert repairmen fixed it in no time at all.

We were soon on our way again, through Balsham, Abington, Babraham and Sawston. What a pleasure to ride on the new cycleway between these last two villages! I recorded 47 miles. Edward Elmer

Monday, 22 November 2010

21 Nov: Afternoon ride to St Ives

Ian writes: I followed my Audax ride on Saturday with leading the Sunday afternoon ride the following day. On Saturday I had seen nothing but thick fog. Sunday, fortunately, was a different story: the fog had cleared, the rain stayed away and we had a very light breeze with sunny intervals.

Five other riders were a Brookside for the run to The River Café at St Ives for tea.

We headed out on the familiar path to Barton, Comberton then Bourn. There we took a right turn onto the quieter lanes leading up to the A14. There are a couple of trees hanging onto their leaves, but in general the scene is far more wintery compared to only a couple of weeks ago. The upside is now you get clear views over the fields through the leafless hedgerows. We say birds of prey on two occasions, small sparrow hawks I believe.

We made our way under the A14 using the underpass at Fenstanton and were soon on the outskirts of St Ives. This is the first time I’ve been this way and I was quite surprised by the pretty scene that greeted us as we approached the old bridge.

We stopped to admire the view from the bridge for a few minutes before stopping for tea in the River Café where two survivors from the day ride were re-fuelling.

The return home was via the guided bus way cycle track with the odd excursion around the flooded parts, which were still numerous at the St Ives end.

Brookside to Brookside, just over 37 miles. Ian Driver

Sunday, 21 November 2010

21 Nov: Day ride to Waresley, West Perry, and St Ives

There was a good turnout at Brookside on a cold and clammy November morning, with eight riders plus our leader Tom.

We made pretty good time to coffee, reaching Waresley around 10:45, where we met several more riders who had come directly. It was a good day for sitting in warm cafés drinking coffee and watching the clouds scud past outside.

Climbing the short hill to Bourn on the way to coffee.

But time drew on and eventually when we made our move Tom and I found that we were the only riders going on to lunch—the other eleven were planning to head straight back to Cambridge.

We took the beautiful road over Lily Hill, and as we passed the turning to Abbotsley, we started to pass runners, joggers (and some walkers). These were the tail enders in a half marathon organized by the Riverside Runners of St Neots, which had an amazing turnout of 855 runners!

Tail enders of the St Neots half marathon, heading for Eynesbury Hardwicke. Walk 100 m, jog 100 m, walk ...

As we headed northwest towards St Neots, the runners got more numerous (and faster), with marshals encouraging them along their way.

A couple of miles further up the field, the runners are a bit fitter.

In St Neots we bid farewell to the runners, crossed the River Great Ouse, and headed up the B645 towards Great Staughton. My map of this area is showing its age: it still labels this road as the “A45”, which hasn’t been the case since 1994.

From Great Staughton we took quiet lanes up to the Harbour View Restaurant at West Perry, where we met Adrian and Vic, who had come direct.

Dinghy sailors enjoying a breezy day on Grafham Water.

We left Grafham Water at about 13:40, and made quick progress, pushed along towards Buckden and Offord Cluny by the north-westerly wind. We found ourselves in Hemingford Abbots at about 14:45, rather early for tea, and it seemed a shame to spend the time waiting in the café when we could be cycling, so we stopped to figure out if there was a short loop we could do. As we peered at the map, a couple of joggers came past. “Just go straight home,” they advised. But we were made of sterner stuff, and took a short loop to Conington and back.

Tom checks the map on the cycle path from Godmanchester to Hemingford Abbots.

The River Tea Rooms on the River Great Ouse, St Ives.

The River Tea Rooms in St Ives serve excellent tea and cake (though fairly pricy: I paid £4.25). We explained to the proprietor that we had been out all day. “Do you really enjoy it?” she asked. “No,” I replied, “It’s a punishment for sins committed in past lives.”

The afternoon ride arrived after 15 minutes, delayed by a p*nct*re, and then we headed back along the guided busway as darkness, and a light rain, descended.

A short ride today, just 65 miles.

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Saturday, 20 November 2010

20 Nov: Norfolk Nips 100km Audax

Ian writes: This weekend was a bit of festival of cycling for me. With great enthusiasm (and poor planning), I was taking a group to Norfolk for an Audax on the Saturday and leading the Afternoon Ride on the Sunday.

Due to colds etc, only myself and Rob C rode the Audax. A picture can say a thousand words apparently, so here is a picture of Cromer Pier taken from the cliffs right above. And so ends the report of what we "saw" of Norfolk...

Fortunately Sunday was a different story. Ian Driver

Thursday, 18 November 2010

18 Nov: Thursday ride to St Neots

Edward writes: Greta, Averill, Sue, Eddie, Jim, Mike, Geoff, Peter, Bill and Tony met at Haslingfield Church for our ride to St. Neots. This was a good turnout and made up for the disappointment of last week's cancellation.

We headed out to Harlton, through the Eversdens, Kingston and through Bourn. Here we were joined by Rupert. He claims he had a puncture for his late arrival, or did he just oversleep?

Greta set a cracking pace taking us over the A428 through Knapwell and into Elsworth where we stopped for coffee at the George and Dragon. The Thursday group discovered this pub a few weeks ago and very good it is too, and certainly beats the nearby bus shelter.

After our break we were joined by Doug, waiting at the bus shelter, and pressed on, briefly taking the B1040 before turning left at Hilton and going through Graveley before taking the main road into St Neots.

This was a good ride out to St Neots with particularly good weather, clocking up 25 miles.

We lunched at Ambience, the cafe in the park just over the river and were joined by Brian (from Mid-Beds) and Tony.

Afterwards we rode through the park and headed to Abbotsley, going through the Gransdens before retracing this morning's route back to Haslingfield.

At Little Eversden we were rejoined by Bill who apparently called at Waresley for coffee, and we thought he had gone home! Edward Elmer

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

16 Nov: Senior cyclists' ride to Conington

Peter writes: On Tuesday we had six members to lunch at The White Swan, Conington. Vic, Adrian, Mike S and George cycled to lunch, whilst Clive and Peter others joined by car. Half-way through lunch Mick Cousins arrived for coffee and a chat.

By the next time we go to The White Swan there will be a new licensee. Peter Rowell.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

14 Nov: Afternoon ride to Ashdon

After having had to make a special effort to remember that our Sunday afternoon rides now start at the earlier time of 1.30pm, I was pleased to find when I arrived at Brookside that five other riders had remembered as well. The weather was dull and overcast with intermittent drizzle that stayed for about an hour and then stopped.

I was the leader this afternoon, and led the group south along Trumpington Road, Porson Road and Long Road to Addenbrooke's. We then followed Robinson Way and the new Francis Crick Avenue to join the DNA path to Great Shelford.

At Great Shelford we took the road to Little Shelford and Whittlesford that we had all ridden along on countless previous rides.

On the northern edge of Whittlesford we turned left onto a wide but uneven path to Whittlesford Church.

The reason we had come this way was that a new cycle path has been constructed from Whittlesford Church to the A1301 at Mill Lane, Sawston. This was officially opened a week or two ago and I wanted to try it out. The new path is pretty good: it is 2m wide, which seems ample for this village location, and the surface is nice and smooth as would be expected .

A new bridge took us across the River Cam tributary which runs south to Audley End; at this point it looks little more than a stream.

The new path ends near the entrance to Spicers Paper Mill, where we joined a road over a level crossing which brought us to the A1301 near its junction with Mill Lane, Sawston.

We crossed the A1301 and followed Mill Lane into Sawston. When we reached the High Street we turned right and rode south out of Sawston to the A505 roundabout, where we joined the cycle path along the A1301 which took us all the way to Hinxton.

From Hinxton we were on quiet roads again. We took the road to Ickleton, crossing the Cam, and the railway line, once more. At Ickleton we turned onto Coploe Road, the narrow lane that took us up Coploe Hill and all the way to Catmere End.

From Catmere End it was downhill all the way to Audley End. We crossed the Cam once more, rode past the house and then climbed back up over a small rise before sropping back down into Saffron Walden. We rode through the town and turned onto Ashdon Road, arriving in Ashdon itself about fifteen minutes later.

We stopped for tea at the Ashdon Village Museum. I had expected this to be very quiet at this time of year but in fact the tea shop was full of people. Fortunately we were able to squeeze round the one remaining table and enjoy pots of tea and several slices of cake each.

After tea we returned home to Cambridge. After discussing the best route back we agreed to go back via Bartlow, Balsham and Fulbourn. I was back home in Cambridge by 5.40pm, after having cycled 41 miles.

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Sunday, 7 November 2010

7 Nov: Day ride to Reed, Ardeley and Hauxton

Now that it's November, our Sunday all-day rides now start at 9.30am. It was bright and sunny when I rode across town to Brookside, where I found Gareth, Simon FM and Tom waiting for the ride to start. Gareth was our leader today. He pointed out that with the 9.30am start we had only 90 minutes to get to the coffee stop in Reed, so we needed to get a move on.

Gareth led us south out of Cambridge to Trumpington where we took the right turn onto Hauxton Road. This is quite a busy road, so when we reached the junction with the park and ride site we turned right and joined the narrow, but just about usable, shared-use path. We stayed on this path across the M11 slip roads and all the way to Harston, where we turned left onto the B1368 to Newton. As we rode along we felt a few drops of rain but they came to nothing. Indeed the sun came back out again and it remained bright and sunny for the rest of the day.

Just beyond Newton we turned left to Thriplow from where, unusually, we dropped down to the A505. We rode along the A505 for about half a mile befroe turning south towards Chrishall Grange and the long climb to Heydon. After climbing further to Great Chishill we dropped back to Barley, passing the windmill on the way.

At Barley we picked up the B1368 once more for the short climb to Barkway. A final climb past the transmitters brought us to Reed, where we stopped for coffee at the Silver Ball Cafe.

Already at the cafe were six other club members, making a total of ten at coffee. I ordered a mug of coffee and a £2.50 plate of beans and toast.

After coffee I returned to Cambridge with Simon, leaving Gareth, Tom and now Doug to continue to Lunch in Ardley. The others returned back home separately.

I passed the GPS tracker to Gareth for the rest of the day ride, to Lunch in Ardeley and then back north to Hauxton, arriving at the village hall at about 4pm. I was already there getting ready for the AGM.

Gareth took these photos: The climb to Wood End (12:38, just before lunch):

The road from Buckland to Barkway, about 14:30:

After a splendid tea served by Tina and Eva we held our AGM at 5pm. This finished at 7pm after which I returned back to Cambridge, carrying the GPS once again. It was now not only dark but due to the clear skies it was also quite cold, and I was glad to get back home and into the warm.

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Photos 3 and 4 by Gareth Rees. Licence: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA v2.0

Thursday, 4 November 2010

AGM: 5pm Sunday 7th November

All local CTC members are invited to our AGM, which is at 5pm on Sunday 7th November at Hauxton Village Hall. If you don't know where this is, use this map. Please bring your membership card if possible. Tea (sandwiches, cakes, tea, coffee) will be served beforehand at 4.30pm.

There will be an election for chair, secretary, treasurer, runs secretary and all the other positions in the club.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Sunday 7th November

We have changed the itinerary for the all-day ride on Sunday 7th November from that previously announced. Meet at 9.30am at Brookside. Coffee is now at Reed, Silver Ball Cafe and lunch is at Ardeley, Church Farm. Tea is still at 4.30pm at Hauxton Village Hall, followed by the AGM.