Nigel writes: Today was another very mild day, with temperatures above 10C all day. It was probably no coincidence that it was also a very cloudy day, though we did see short outbreaks of sunshine during the afternoon. Jim was our leader today, and after a diversion through Newnham and Grantchester led half a dozen of us us south to the Shelfords and on to the road to Whittlesford. There was quite a noticeable headwind which continued for the whole of the morning.
We continued south through Duxford to Ickleton, where we stopped for coffee at Riverside Barns.
Already at the cafe were Greta, Mick and several others. This was my first visit to Ickleton Barns, which is a short distance south of the village on the road to Great Chesterford. It consists of a cluster of small businesses around a lake. Despite the A11 running alongside on an embankment, the atmosphere was peaceful, and the cafe itself (which is under new management) was everything we needed: friendly, comfortable, inexpensive and out of the wind.
When we had finished our coffee, instead of returning to Ickleton as I had expected, we followed a short section of concrete farm road opposite the cafe which brought us out on to the road that leads up Coploe Hill to Catmere End.
From Catmere End we dropped down to Littlebury Green and then took the little road over the hill past the transmitter masts to Arkesden. We were still riding into the wind and were glad that we didn't have far to go to lunch. As we were dropping down into Arkesden Averil called out "puncture" for the third time this week. After a short delay whilst Averil replaced both her tube and tyre we continuted the short distance to our lunch stop at the Clavering Lakes Fishing Lodge.
After lunch we turned back north, which meant we had a tailwind at last. Our route took us through Langley Lower Green and along the narrow lane down through Little Chishill to Shaftenhoe End. From there a short climb took us back up to Great Chishill, where we paused briefly to allow stragglers to catch up.
Our route north from Great Chishill took us through Heydon, Chrishall Grange, Fowlmere and Shepreth. Having the wind behind us made this an easy ride. Even the ascent of Chapel Hill didn't seem too bad.
We arrived at our tea stop at the Coton Orchards Garden Centre at 3.35pm, and joined Jackie and a large contingent from the afternoon ride who were already there. After tea we returned back to Cambridge along the Coton Path. I was home by 4.30pm, after having cycled 55 miles.
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