Nigel writes: January is turning out to be a much better month for cycling than December. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the sun shone brightly all day. It had been quite cold overnight and frost lingered on the roads for most of the morning, but it was well above freezing and nothing like the cold days of the previous month. So it was a pretty good day for a bike ride, and it was no surprise to find about a dozen riders waiting at Brookside at 9.30am for today's all-day ride.
Gareth was our leader today. Our route this morning started off through the centre of Cambridge, past King's College and then across the river onto the Coton cyclepath.
After Coton we continued to the top of Madingley Hill.
After passing the transmitters at the top we turned south along Long Road to Comberton. We crossed the B1046 and A603 and continued to Harlton, where we turned left by the duckpond towards Haslingfield.
Haslingfield inevitably means Chapel Hill. As we climbed the hill we passed a large group of sports cyclists who had stopped to fix a puncture. They were the first of numerous cycling groups that we passed today; clearly the fine weather had brought lots of riders out.
After descending the hill to Barrington we continued to Shepreth and Melreth before turning right to Malton, where we stopped for coffee at the golf club. It was now 11am exactly. Already there were Mike S, Adrian, Doug and young Vic.
Malton Golf Club is one of my favourite coffee stops, where we always seem to receive a warm welcome. The menu offers a reasonable selection of snacks, and several of us ordered a toasted teacakes with butter and jam.
After coffee a few people returned back to Cambridge whilst most of us continued on to lunch. Gareth took us the most direct route through Kneesworth, Litlington, Steeple Morden and Ashwell and we arrived at Farrowby Farm in Hinxworth at exactly 1pm. Again, there were several club members already eating.
Farrowby Farm is an ideal lunch stop on a club ride, offering a hearty menu of well-prepared dishes in agreeably rustic surroundings; its location at a real farm meant we didn't need to worry about looking unkempt. After lunch Gareth decided that a large tree in the play area outside was "an ideal tree for climbing" and proceeded to demonstrate this.
After lunch, and as usual, most of the group decided to return back home leaving just three of us to continue on to tea. We took a fairly direct route via Potton and Gamlingay and arrived at Waresley Park Garden Centre at 3pm. Despite being half an hour early the afternoon riders were already there, and the combined group spent a pleasant half hour socialising, drinking coffee and eating some of their popular cakes.
By 3.30pm we were ready to return back to Cambridge. We took the direct route via Great Gransden, Caxton, Bourn and then along the B1046. It remained sunny for several miles but before long the sun set and we turned on our lights.
I was back in Cambridge by 5pm, after having cycled about 66 miles.
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