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.

View this GPS track on a larger map

1 comment:

  1. We saw what I think must have been a sparrowhawk—it was a big bird of prey, about the right size, but i only saw it from the back flying away from me, so I didn't get a positive identification. It headed for a little group of trees and then it suddenly folded its wings and dived into the middle of a flock of pigeons, which scattered in all directions. I couldn't see if the hawk caught one of the pigeons, because it vanished behind the trees.

    We should do this kind of ride (getting the train back) more often.