Thursday, 21 April 2011

21 Apr: Thursday ride to Ashwell and Baldock

Edward writes: Our glorious Spring weather continued this morning and thirteen cyclists gathered in Haslingfield for our Thursday ride. At 9.30am there was just a hint that this is still April and the morning air was a touch cool.

We started the ride with the climb up Chapel Hill and at the top there was a distinct haze in the far distance.

Downhill now

The weather forecasters had warned that the still conditions which have prevailed for sometime now would bring higher pollution levels; could this be what they meant? Once down into Barrington we tried to maintain two separate groups so that there would always be space for cars to get between us. Both groups seemed to travel quite fast and we soon got through Barrington and Shepreth, before turning right in Meldreth to head for Whaddon and onto Bassingbourn.

Water Stop

The weather by now was turning up the heat and with the sun making its breakthrough most people were sensibly taking on water. After Bassingbourn it was through Littlington and Steeple Morden before arriving in Ashwell for the coffee stop.

Time for Relaxation

We all raided Days for coffee, buns, cakes and, it being Easter, hot cross buns. We took them to the usual spot on the little patch of grass and watched the auto screen man replace a windscreen; probably not too often he has such a large audience.

Doug & Bob

In Ashwell we were joined by Doug and Brian, and soon after we were joined by Bob and Myrtle. In was now the run down to Baldock via Bygrave in increasingly superb riding weather. It's a real pleasure to do these rides in such still conditions and to have no concerns about which way the wind was blowing.

We actually arrived in Baldock before mid-day, which is quite early for us. We went to the fish restaurant where some sat outside and the remainder sat inside for fish and chips and a pot of tea.

Which Way?

After lunch we left Baldock by the hilly (very hilly) route, but once the climb was made the views over the surrounding countryside were wonderful. There seems to be a lot more oil-seed rape being grown this year and it certainly makes its distinctive mark on the countryside. The route, although undulating, was a real pleasure to ride, going through quiet country lanes: the British landscape at its best.

Follow the Leader

As we approached Sandon we saw a red kite and further on two swallows. So if one swallow doesn't make a summer what will two do? In Sandon we were able to replenish our water supplies from the tap at the entrance to the church, before setting off again, passing through Kelshall and Therfield to arrive at the tea stop just outside Reed. After tea it was down to Barkway and on to Barley, followed by the fast run to the A505. From here it was through Fowlmere, Newton, Little Shelford and Hauxton where the ride finished. As ever our thanks to Greta for her leadership. Mileage 52. Edward Elmer

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