Sunday, 17 April 2011

17 Apr: Afternoon ride to Caxton

Tina writes: Parker’s Piece was liberally dotted with people enjoying the warm April sunshine as Bob led eleven riders (including new rider John) across and down Clarendon Road to Midsummer Common and Riverside. We crossed the ‘new’ bridge and cycled up through Chesterton to join the towpath on the left-hand side of the river, where a couple of single sculls, moorhens and swans shared the water.

We left the river just past Bait’s Bite lock, turning left along Fen Road through Milton, then up and over the A10. Our route continued through Impington, arriving at Histon village green in time to catch a procession of vintage and classic vehicles – the Cottenham Yesteryear Road Run (raising money for Magpas), which ranged from scooters, motorbikes, cars from 1930s to 1970s and a whole collection of old tractors and steam-powered vehicles. Village residents and tourists lined the streets from Histon to Oakington, cameras at the ready, flags waving creating a real carnival atmosphere.

We rode on through Oakington, Longstanton, Over and Swavesey, finally turning south to cross the A14 to Boxworth. The countryside was looking at its late spring best, blackthorn blossom still white in the hedges and verges dotted with wild flowers, while yellow rape seed fields provided a brilliant splash of colour. It was always going to be difficult keeping eleven unevenly-paced riders together and by this time the group had fragmented, with Jacob leading the front runners, while Bob stayed behind with a smaller contingent. From Elsworth, Jacob’s group took a short cut via Caxton Gibbet, while the official route continued through Cambourne, arriving at the Cross Keys at about 5pm, just as some of the day riders were leaving!

With remaining day riders, those who had ridden direct and afternoon riders, there were about twenty for tea, with plenty of sandwiches, cake and Mars bars for everyone. The main ride returned to Cambridge via Caxton End, (keen to experience the ford), Bourn, Comberton and Barton, while Mike Stapleton and I clocked up a few more miles and contours cycling home through Kingston, the Eversdens, Haslingfield and over Chapel Hill to Melbourn and Royston respectively. Tina Filby

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