Thursday, 24 February 2011

24 Feb: Thursday ride to Barley

Edward writes: At long last we were greeted by spring-like weather when twelve members met at Haslingfield Church for our Thursday ride. What is more, the weather continued to improve throughout the day.

Greta got us into the swing of things by starting the ride up Chapel Hill before descending into Barrington, through Shepreth and over a particularly busy A10 to arrive at Fowlmere.

From here we took the long way to Newton by going via Thriplow. The daffodils are starting to bud and let's hope the organisers of the Daffodil Weekend have good luck and have chosen the weekend when the flowers are at their best. They certainly have an unenviable task to set the day so far in advance, not knowing how the weather will affect growth. This year's event is 26th and 27th March.

After going through Thriplow and Newton we turned right at the Queen's Head and headed for Whittlesford where we turned right and crossed the very busy A505. (When isn't it busy?) After twelve riders safely got over we were in Duxford, then onto Ickleton and Ickleton Barns where we stopped for our coffee break.

With the better weather this made a particularly pleasant pit stop and most of the group sat outside. Bob, Myrtle and Adrian were already there bringing our numbers up to fifteen.

After coffee it was back into Ickleton for the ride up Coploe Hill and today everything looked so much better with the sun shining over the fields. This brought us to Strethall where we waited for everybody to catch up and then on to Littlebury Green.

After this it was the steep climb up to Duddenhoe End and our first puncture. Luckily Mike was on hand plus a band of onlookers, and Eva was soon on her way again. As the group was so large some pushed on but before we got to Langley, Myrtle also had a puncture but it wasn't long before Mike was on hand again to get her on her way.

It was now time to make for our lunch break and we were able to make steady progress via Little Chishill to arrive at The Chequers in Barley. Our numbers had grown again and best estimates say we had twenty-one people at lunch. Some sat outside enjoying the spring-like sunshine but we all enjoyed a very good, reasonably priced lunch.

After lunch some went their separate ways home but nine continued on to Barkway, Great Chishill and Heydon and then to enjoy the descent off the north-east Essex hills and a following wind down to Ickleton. It was then a short ride to Hauxton and Greta's where the ride finished with a total of 51 miles. This was a very enjoyable day; sunshine and rising temperatures change everything. As ever thanks to Greta for leading the ride. Edward Elmer

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