Sunday, 30 January 2011

30 Jan: Afternoon ride to Oakington

Rob writes: On a crisp, overcast Sunday afternoon, at 1.30pm, nine keen cyclists gathered at Brookside.

We headed east along Lensfield road, and across Parker's Piece towards the riverside path, on route to Waterbeach. Navigating past the various walkers, runners, fishermen and rowing coaches on the dirt path proved slightly tricky at times (I was reminded to invest in a bell !), but this was still one of the highlights of the ride as we took in the river scenery and relished the accomplishment of overtaking rowers!

We re-joined the road at Waterbeach and meandered through Landbeach, Cottenham and Rampton. Since we had some time to spare, Jacob suggested an alternative route between Rampton and Willingham which included pleasant countryside, although the road which comprised large concrete stabs (apparently built during WW2) proved rather bumpy, especially for those of us without much suspension! From Willingham we travelled south towards our tea destination in Oakington, via Longstanton.

Ten minutes prior to arriving at the Oakington Garden Centre we caught up with the Day Riders, thereby turning our arrival party into a formidable group of fifteen!

The three staff members (who were probably starting to wind down for the day) experienced an adrenalin rush as we walked through the door and approached the counter to place our orders! The food options were reasonable and the room was spacious and warm.

After tea, we went our separate ways home. I arrived back at Brookside at 16h30, after covering 26 miles (and burning 1451 calories!!) Rob C.

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Sunday, 23 January 2011

23 Jan: Afternoon ride to Royston

Nigel writes: Today was dull, damp and dreary, but it wasn't cold, and it didn't rain, and we had the prospect of a "home tea" at Tina's to look forward to. It was therefore no surprise to find that nine riders turned out for this afternoon's ride. I was the leader today. We started out ride by heading south out of Cambridge, past Addenbrooke's and along the Genome Path to Great Shelford.

From there we continued south to Whittlesford and Duxford.

In Duxford we turned onto Grange Road, which took us west past the eponymous Grange to Chrishall Grange where we turned south towards Heydon and Great Chishill.

At the cross-roads in Great Chishill we turned right and dropped down past the windmill to Barley. Here we stopped for a few moments whilst I warned the group that I had a section of potentially muddy farm road planned. Alison and Conrad weren't in the mood for mud and so took the direct route to Royston via the B1039, whilst the remaining seven of us continued west to the edge of the village before turning right onto a byway that took us to Newsells Farm Stud. We followed this for about a mile. This was my first time exploring this route, and although it was certainly cycleable it was potholed, wet and muddy and cycling along it required a bit more concentration than I would have liked. But the countryside was pleasant and it would probably be lovely on a hot summer's day.

After a while we met a minor road which brought us back onto the B1039 about a mile from Royston. Just after entering the town we turned right onto a footpath which took us north to Newmarket Road, thereby allowing us to avoid the A10 one-way system.

After a few more minutes we arrived at Tina's house, where a splendid tea of sandwiches and cakes was waiting for us. Just behind us were Alison and Conrad and a short while later we were joined by Adrian, Tom and Doug from the all-day rider. Together with Mike S that made a total of thirteen at tea.

After a pleasant and convivial half an hour or so we returned back to Cambridge. Our route took us north along the A1198 to Kneeswirth and then east via Meldreth and Shepreth to Barrington. By now it was quite dark, and as we cycled along the green I spotted a cyclist changing a wheel by the light of a lamppost. It was Steve G, who called out to ask for a pump. I was happy to oblige and after a few minutes we were soon on our way: Steve was heasing south, so I climbed Chapel Hill on my own, dropped down to Haslingfield, rode on through Barton and was home in Cambridge just after 6pm. Total distance: 41 miles.

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Thursday, 20 January 2011

20 Jan: Thursday ride to Horseheath

Edward writes: The Thursday ride was proving as popular as ever when twelve riders met at Greta's in Hauxton. Despite the bleak weather we were joined for the first time by Kenny, who I believe has ridden on Sundays but was his first outing with the Thursday group.

It was also good to welcome back Tony who was making his first trip out following his enforced layoff.

This large group left Hauxton and made its way through Little Shelford and Whittlesford, over the A505 (always a battle to get across) through Duxford and Ickleton, and then up Coploe Hill to our regular stopping point at the top. This is a particularly pleasant stretch of road with fine views over the surrounding countryside. If only the sun would shine on it!

Nonetheless, we made our way up to Catmere End and then down Chestnut Avenue to pass Audley End and then climb up into Saffron Walden for our coffee stop at the Temeraire.

We had our usual coffee in front of an open fire, making us reluctant to leave. After leaving Saffron Walden we headed for Ashdon and Bartlow before looping round to cross the A1307 and into our lunch stop at the Red Lion in Horseheath.

We had a thoroughly good lunch and were joined by John who had made his way independently to Horseheath. After lunch the weather had turned even more unpleasant with drizzle to add to already bleak conditions. We left Horseheath on a very pot-holed road before turning to head down to the A1307 again and back into Bartlow.

Here we turned to go towards Linton and once again over the A1307 before travelling through Linton itself and on to Abington before using the foot bridge over the A11 which took us into Babraham.

The sun nearly came out on this track, but not quite! Again it was a pleasure to ride the cycleway from here to Sawston and also on the new cycleway from Sawston to Whittlesford Church. From here it was just a short trip to Little Shelford and Hauxton. This trip was 42.5 miles and was thoroughly enjoyable despite the indifferent weather. Thanks to Greta for leading. Edward Elmer.

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Sunday, 16 January 2011

16 Jan: Afternoon ride to Coton

Jacqueline writes: A blue sky, mild temperatures and a moderate westerly wind encouraged eleven riders to set off through Newnham to Paradise Nature Reserve. From here we took the path south by the River Cam to Grantchester.

When we reached Grantchester we turned left onto Bridle Path. This took us over the M11, through a field, under a roof of winter branches, to the junction of the A603 and B1046. Along this bridleway I am usually rewarded with birds and animals but today our focus was on missing the puddles and muddy tyre tracks.

We took the opportunity of skirting around Comberton past Highfield Farm and Green End. We followed the B1046 to Toft where we turned right onto the road to Hardwick. Two of our party decided to do a few extra miles and continued onto Cambourne while the rest of us zig-zagged through Hardwick onto Hall Drive. Here a puncture provided the opportunity for social exchange and a little refreshment. We were now seven as one had disappeared off the front. We continued over the A428 to DryDrayton and Madingley before stopping at Coton for tea.

Thank you everyone for your excellent company and support. Jacqueline Mountford-Green

16 Jan: Day ride to Ickleton, Clavering and Coton

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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Thursday, 13 January 2011

13 Jan: Thursday ride to Fen Drayton

Edward writes: Seven riders met at Haslingfield Church for the Thursday ride. Some were saying how hot they were! It was certainly a change in temperature and choice of clothing was definitely something to think about. Additionally it was quite breezy. The first part of our ride seemed to be mostly into the breeze, along with the undulating roads it was quite an effort in parts.

We left Haslingfield and made our way through Harlton and over the A603 and through the Eversdens and up to Bourn. This part of the ride is fairly hilly so we had to make one or two stops to keep the group together. From Bourn we crossed the A1198 and did a loop through Great Gransden and Caxton before turning into Cambourne for coffee and cakes at Morrison's. We spent quite a leisurely three-quarters of an hour there before leaving at 12 o'clock.

After coffee, and with a following wind, the ride became a lot easier: we crossed the A428 and headed for Elsworth and Connington before arriving at the Three Tuns at Fen Drayton. Here we were joined by Richard. Lunch was good in what seems to be a popular village pub.

At two o'clock we set off for home (but not before Averil had a puncture) via Swavesey, Longstanton, Oakington and Girton. Leaving Oakington Averil had another puncture (back wheel this time. New tyres, Averil, I think).

After Girton we had to go towards Cambridge along Huntingdon Road before making our way thorough Grantchester and Trumpington. The whole round trip, starting at Haslingfield and finishing at Hauxton, was 44 miles. Edward Elmer.

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Monday, 10 January 2011

9 Jan: Afternoon ride to Waresley

Tina writes: Nine riders gathered at Brookside keen to make the most of a sunny, clear blue sky and (relatively) mild January afternoon. Leader Rob set a smart pace, taking us west out of Cambridge through Barton (and safely past the road to Haslingfield & conversation-stopping Chapel Hill), turning right up to Comberton and Toft. At some point nine became seven but Mike Sl & Jacob had warned that they might succumb to off-road temptation, so we hope they enjoyed their alternative route.

Just after Bourn Golf Club we headed north to Caxton End where the river had flooded in both directions, forcing us on to the side footpath safely above the water. Past Bourn Post Mill and through Caxton, we climbed up to the ridge road to enjoy views across surrounding countryside: dark ploughed fields and bare-branched trees silhouetted against a clear sky – winter at its best.

The road undulated down to Great Gransden and soon we had Waresley church in our sights. As it was only 3pm, Rob suggested a further loop, but we justified an early tea break with the thought of cycling back at least some of the way in daylight. Choosing between the tempting array of cakes and scones was probably the most difficult decision of the day, but I would strongly recommend the spiced apple cake! Day ride ‘survivors’ Nigel, Gareth and Andrew joined us as we were settling at our tables.

It was still pleasantly light and only slightly colder as we retraced a similar route home, but avoiding the ford this time. Gareth, Pete & Simon FM headed turned north at Bourn, bound for the north of Cambridge, while the rest of returned directly to the City Centre. Thanks to Rob for leading. Tina Filby.

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Photos and track by Rob

Cycling holidays in 2011

CTC Cambridge is organising two cycling holidays in 2011: a three-night mid-week trip to Manningtree in Essex in April and a full week in the Yorkshire Dales in early August. All members are invited to join us. More information here.

CTC Cambridge cycling holidays in 2011

CTC Cambridge is organising the following cycling trips away. All members are warmly invited to join us:

Tuesday April 12th to Friday April 15th: This three-night mid-week break will be based at the YHA Stour Valley Bunkhouse at Brantham near Manningtree, Essex. This is a lovely corner of East Anglia for cycling. Some will travel there by car whilst others will travel there by bike. The price for accommodation includes breakfast.

Saturday July 30th to Saturday August 6th: This is a full week's holiday based in the village of Threshfield, which is near Grassington in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Meals and transport will be organized later on but will cost extra

For costs and more details please phone Adrian on 01223 565834 or send an email to Joseph joesugg72 (at)

If you'd like to come, please tell us before the end of January 2011.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

9 Jan: Day ride to Malton, Hinxworth and Waresley

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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Thursday, 6 January 2011

6 Jan:Thursday ride to Shepreth

Edward writes: Another bleak day, but seven riders assembled at Greta's in Hauxton for the Thursday ride. Although not very pleasant it was nice to be free of ice and snow. We made our way from Hauxton through Little Shelford to Whittlesford before negotiating the always-busy A505 into Duxford.

In Duxford we passed by the former Ciba-Geigy site which is much reduced in size from its former self with several of the plants having been demolished.

Our next village was Ickleton and over Coploe Hill, where we made our usual stop to get together again and then off to Catmere End before descending via Chestnut Avenue to join the A1383 for the ride into Newport.

In Newport we stopped for Coffee, some going to Dorrington's and some going to the Nursery over the road. The weather had taken a turn for the worse with a steady drizzle to add to the cold, but soon after we restarted the rain did stop. We now headed through Wicken Bonhunt, Arkesden and Duddenhoe End: all delightful villages but the depressing weather did little for them. All will be so much brighter when we feel the warmth of the sun in the Spring.

Just before Chrishall Mike got what he thought was a puncture but turned out not to be so he was soon on the move again. Chrishall was followed by the descent to the A505 and onto Fowlmere and then briefly along the A10 to our lunch stop at the Cambridge Motel. This place is to be recommended: we had an extremely good lunch for £4.95 with very pleasant service.

During lunch we were joined by Mike Stapleton, Doug and Bob. At 2pm we left the Motel and most of us headed home. I went with Mike, Daniel and Greta back to Fowlmere and Newton. Greta and Daniel went the direct way back to Hauxton and Mike and I went back to Shelford via Whittlesford. As ever thanks to Greta for leading the ride. Edward Elmer

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Monday, 3 January 2011

2 Jan: Afternoon ride to Great Shelford

Ian writes: With a break in the recent Arctic conditions, it was a joy to be “all systems go” for the first afternoon ride of 2011.

I dusted down my trusty Ribble, inflated the tyres, and set off from home, finding it was an almost odd sensation to be looking out over green fields after a couple of weeks of whiteout. This was the first time I’d ridden a bike in a while.

Today's tea was close to Cambridge, in Great Shelford, so a gentle loop of the South Cambridgeshire villages was going to suffice today after the period of inactivity.

Seven riders were waiting at Brookside: a respectable turnout for January. We had sunny intervals but the temperature was still only around two degrees.

We headed out of Cambridge to Barton, turning left to Haslingfield. With little wind we made decent progress. Car traffic was also relatively light. From Haslingfield, we made that famous right turn over the Col de Chapel Hill for the day's only significant undulation. The reward of the wheeeeee down the other side was as welcome as ever, albeit a little chillier around the ears than usual.

From here we turned right in Barrington and headed up to Orwell before turning left to Meldreth. From Meldreth we headed to Shepreth, Fowlmere then Thriplow. Teatime was now approaching, so we took a direct route via Newton and the Shelfords, where the day ride and a few others were waiting.

Door to Door, a modest but welcome 29 miles on the clock. Ian Driver

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