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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