Thursday, 30 June 2011

30 Jun: Thursday ride to Hare Street and Green Tye

Edward writes: This Thursday eleven cyclists met at Greta's house in Hauxton with the likelihood of good weather for our longish trip to Green Tye, close to Bishop's Stortford. Before we started it was a real pleasure to welcome Sue, back with us following her sking accident in the winter. As part of her rehabilitation back into cycling it was her intention to call it a day after the coffee stop. This unexpectedly provided her with extra miles as the coffee stop had been changed from Barkway Golf Club to the Tortoise tea rooms in Hare Street.

On leaving Hauxton we headed for the A505 via Little Shelford and Whittlesford and then into Duxford. Here we turned right to go over the motorway and ride parallel to the Air Museum with good views of the aircraft parked in the display areas. Then it was through Chrishall Grange and the long climb up to the turning for Elmdon.

From this turning we went through Heydon and Gt. Chishill before descending to Shaftenhoe End to be followed by the very sharp climb which precedes the run into Nuthamstead. As has been noted in previous weeks the views across the surrounding countryside were spectacular and especially as more and more wild flowers could be seen on the roadside, with mallow, scabious and knapweed very prominent.

From Nuthamstead we turned sharp left and took the road through Anstey and finally arriving at our old friend the B1368 for the short ride into Hare Street and our coffee stop. With the sun out we all sat outside and enjoyed our individually prepared coffee and homemade cakes.

After coffee we said farewell to Sue, who I think, enjoyed her first outing. We then went a little farther on the B1368 before turning off for Little Hormead and then Furneaux Pelham, villages, along with many others in this area, that seem to have an old world charm about them. We continued the rural theme by passing through Albury and more narrow lanes before arriving at Little Hadham and the regulation long wait at the traffic lights to cross the A120. Once over the A120 it was on to Much Hadham where we turned off the main road and took the very narrow lanes, over a ford, through Perry Green and into Tye Green and our stop at the Prince of Wales pub. Although they didn't know we were coming they responded well to our requests for food and drink.

At 2.15 we left Tye Green and retraced our steps for about six miles back as far as the turning to Farnham. This eventually took us twice over the A120 Bishop's Stortford by pass before turning north to head up to Manuden.

From Manuden we took the narrow and isolated road which climbs up to Rickling Green. We now passed through Arkesden and up to Duddenhoe End. Three or four riders were ahead of the main group and consequently took a different route to the main group of seven or eight.

By luck we all met up again in the Chrishall Grange area and we all rode together through Fowlmere, Newton, Little Shelford. Greta headed back to Hauxton having completed 68 miles. Again, thanks to Greta for another great day out. Edward Elmer

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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

29 Jun: Evening ride to Quy

Nigel writes: Following the scorching heatwave of Monday and the thunder, lightning and torrential rain of Tuesday, tonight was merely warm and dull. At Brookside for this evening's ride was Tony, Mike K, Neil, Ian W, John and me. I suggested a loop via Six Mile Bottom and Dullingham, and we set off south-east along Hills Road. Just beyond Addenbrooke's we turned left onto Wort's Causeway and climbed the hill over the Gogs before dropping back down again to Fulbourn.

From Fulbourn we took the road to the Wilbrahams. However, just before Great Wilbraham, Ian had a puncture. It was quite a big one, with a sizeable hole in the tyre, and it took quite a while to work out the best way to prevent the repaired inner tube bursting out through the hole. Eventually he managed to cover it with several layers of insulating tape, and we carried on.

Mending the puncture had taken about 15 minutes, and by the time we reached Little Wilbraham it was approaching 7.45pm. If we continued on our original route we wouldn't reach the pub until 9pm, so I suggested we change our plans and take a shorter route instead.

From Little Wilbraham, therefore, instead of turning to Six Mile Bottom we took the road to Bottisham and from there continued on to Swaffham Bulbeck.

At Swaffham Bulbeck we followed the cycle path along the B1102 to Swaffham Prior where we turned off north into the Fens for a loop via White Fen to Lode.

As always, these roads and paths were very quiet.

Eventually we arrived in Lode, where we rejoined the B1102 for the final couple of miles to Quy, where we stopped for a drink at the White Swan. This was my first visit to this small but friendly pub (the moment I walked through the door the landlord asked me what I wanted to drink, probably the first time this has even happened to me), and we chatted sociably for about 45 minutes before returning to Cambridge via Fen Ditton and the Jubilee Cycleway. I was home by 9.55pm, after having cycled 28 miles.

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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

28 Jun: Seniors Car Assisted Ride (Nuthampstead)

Peter writes: Our Car Assisted Ride followed the usual plan, start at the Pub., circular ride before lunch, lunch at the Pub. (The Woodman, Nuthampstead), ride after lunch (cancelled due to heavy storm). The weather was not forecast to be reasonable and in the event, it was worse than forecast.

After a very pleasant lunch during which the storm broke and resulted in flooded roads all the way back to Cambridge, we decided to call it a day and return home. We had cycled 15 miles. It was reported that Bury St Edmunds had 30mm of rain which is 20.5 times the average daily rainfall for East Anglia.

Sheltering under the trees

Thursday, 23 June 2011

23 Jun: Thurday ride to Reed and Braughing

Edward writes:This Thursday a dozen riders assembled outside Haslingfield Church for today's ride to Braughing. The weather was sunny intervals but with a stiff breeze from the west and with the threat of thundery showers. Fortunately we didn't have to start by climbing Chapel Hill but instead we made our way towards Harston. Before we got out of Haslingfield Greta had a puncture but Dave was quickly on hand to fix things and we were soon on our way again. When we got to Harston the A10 was particularly busy and it was sometime before we got everybody across and onto the road to Newton.

At the bottom of the hill in Newton we turned right on the B1368 but veered off to go through Thriplow and then to Fowlmere. After Fowlmere it was the run out to the A505 and for once not specially busy and we all crossed quite quickly. Now we were into the long climb out of Cambridgeshire and into Barley and the undulating countryside of north east Essex and north Hertfordshire. Our next village was Barkway and we achieved this despite the attentions of two lady drivers who were evidently late for their appointments. We turned right in Barkway and took the road to Reed and as we gained height we were able to take in the glorious views over the surrounding countryside with hardly a building to be seen.

For coffee and tea we stopped in our usual Silver Ball Cafe beside the A10.

After our break Richard and Brian M made their way back home but we were joined by Doug and Brian who had cycled from Stevenage and mid-Bedfordshire respectively. From Reed we headed at first west towards Sandon, but not actually going there, before turning south towards Buntingford. Once again the countryside was at its best; green at last after the recent rains, flowers in the hedgerows - the usual poppies, oxeye dasies, mallow and plenty of others. Not only that the lack of buildings making it a truly delightful rural ride. We finally reached the A10 again, and into Buntingford high street, then onto Aspenden, West Mill and Nasty before crossing the A10 again and through a narrow track to arrive in Puckeridge. From here it was a short run into Braughing for our lunch stop. Lunch was at the Brown Bear pub and sadly this was to be their last day of trading.

After lunch we enjoyed a long downhill sweep with a following wind along narrow country lanes with high embankments - a great few minutes cycling. Although there were many threatening clouds we escaped the rain all afternoon. We now headed towards the Pelhams and then to Langley Lower Green.

Instead of the intended route through Duddenhoe End Jacob prevailed on our leader for us take a short detour on one of his off-road routes. Actually, the surface wasn't too bad despite one or two half-hearted mutterings. It's difficult to see exactly where this brought us to as there were no signposts but our next village was Chrisall and then it was downhill all the way, over the A505, Fowlmere, Newton and Hauxton where the ride ended.

As ever thanks to Greta for another great ride. 55 Miles. Edward Elmer

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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

22 Jun: Evening ride to Thriplow

Nigel writes: To celebrate midsummer, today's evening ride was to a pub rather further away than normal, in Thriplow. Heavy showers earlier in the day had left the roads damp, but the sun had come back out and the air (and roads) had a humid "just-washed" feel. Fortunately the threat of rain had not put people off, and six riders turned out at Brookside for the ride: Tony, Neil, Andrew (on his first ride with his), Nick (on his second), John and me. Soon after we had departed, we were joined by Ian and Julia, making eight in total.

Our route this evening was the same as had proved popular earlier in the season when riding to Newton. We set of south out of Cambridge to Trumpington and the Shelfords from where we took the long road south to Whittlesford. It was quite breezy, and there was a bit of a headwind.

Just south of Whittlesford we crossed the A505 and continued to Duxford.

I had intended to continue directly from Duxford to Ickleton, but Ian and Julia were a little way ahead and took the route via Hinxton instead, and the rest of us followed. This took us across a ford (which all of us by-passed using the footbridge) and twice across the railway, where the barriers came down as we were crossing and temporarily divided the group.

From Ickleton we continued south up Coploe Hill, at the top of which we stopped for breath and the now obligatory photo.

We contined on to Coploe End and then followed a hilly loop round to the west via Littlebury Green, Wendon Lofts and Elmdon before heading north to Chrishall Grange and the flat countryside beyond.

We arrived at the Green Man in Thriplow at 8.45pm, rather later than I had planned, but the pub was very nice and Tony and I were just in time to order some food.

After about half an hour we returned back to Cambridge, splitting up into small groups as we did so (I hope you got back OK, John). I was at home rather later than usual, at 10.20pm, after having cycled 35 miles.

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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

21 Jun: Seniors ride to Hemingford Abbotts

Peter writes: George and Clive met Anna and Bridget at Madingley Road Park and Ride site. They set out to ride directly to the Rowell estate for coffee.

Coffee was served in the garden and the party were surprised when Harley (a young stallion cob) appeared on the other side of a barbed wire fence.

Harley, the cob stallion

After coffee we started out for Hemingford Abbotts via the old St Neots Road to Knapwell and Elsworth cross roads to Conington.

Elsworth Road, Conington

In Conington we went left into School Lane for a tour round Conington village. At the White Swan we turned left and left at the Tee road to go to Fenstanton via the underpass under the A14

A timbered house on the road to the A14 undperpass

The A14 underpass at Fenstanton

From Fenstanton we took the Low Road to Hemingford Grey and Hemingford Abbotts. We had lunch at The Axe and Compasses, where we were joined by Vic, Adrian and George Stevenson (from Easton-on-the-Hill, Lincs.)

Anna, Bridget and Clive at the Pub Car/Cycle Park. Clive had had a hip replacement 9 weeks ago.

After lunch the main party returned to Cambridge via Fenstanton, Longstanton and Oakington whilst I retraced my route home.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

19 Jun: Afternoon ride to Wicken

Nigel writes: Today was a mostly dull day, warm but with a cool breeze, and a threat of rain that never materialised. Despite all this, twelve riders turned out for today's ride into the fens. Eva was our leader today, and as we assembled at Brookside she announced that since many members find the fens a bit flat and boring, we would start the ride with a few hills.

Eva led us south-east our of Cambridge along Hills Road, over the railway and onto Cherry Hinton Road.

Cherry Hinton Road became Fulbourn Road and we were soon out in the countryside, passing through Fulbourn itself and on to Great Wilbraham.

We continued through Great Wilbraham and Little Wilbraham where we turned right onto the road to Six Mile Bottom. From here we started to climb up the gentle but long hill to Brinkley.

At Brinkley we paused briefly opposite the Red Lion, waiting for the stragglers to arrive, before turning left onto the B1061.

We continued north for two miles until we reached Dullingham. Here we said goodbye to the rolling countryside near Newmarket and turned west, through the village, across the level crossing, and dropped down to Swaffham Bulbeck on the edge of the fen country.

From Swaffham Bulbeck we took the "old" NCR 11 route to Wicken, through Swaffham Prior to Reach and Burwell before entering the fens "proper".

Just before we reached Wicken Fen, Eva stopped for a puncture. It was now just after 4.30pm so she told us not to wait and so we pressed on through Wicken Fen to Wicken village. Tea this afternoon was at Wicken Methodist Church, where a splendid array of sandwiches and cakes was on sale.

After a delightful and friendly tea stop we returned back to Cambridge. This time we followed the "new" NCR 11, which offers a mostly completely traffic-free route as far as Lode. We started off going back the way we had come, alongside the edge of Wicken Fen.

When we reached Priory Farm instead of turning south to Burwell we continued west - but first we had to carry our bikes across the footbridge over Burwell Lode. This bridge is due to be replaced with a proper cycle bridge in a few years.

From here to Lode a series of purpose-built cycleways and empty fen roads took us to Lode.

Along the way the sun came out at last, and I stopped to take a photo of the group to prove it.

At Lode we crossed the B1102 and continued to Bottisham, where we picked up the cycleway to Quy, under the A14 (see photo) and into Cambridge along the river.

I was back home by 7.10pm, after having cycled 47 miles.

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