Nigel writes: Eight seems to be the magic number for our evening rides. It's never the same eight, but we always seem to have eight riders. Today it was Jacob, Tony, Mike K, Neil, Kit, John, Conrad and me, on a dull and disappointingly cold July evening. With the pub stop in Barrington to the south-west, I offered the group a choice of a westerly or a southerly route. They followed my hint that a westerly route would be a nice change, so we set off west out of Cambridge along the Coton path. This starts off as one of the best and widest cycle tracks in Cambridge...
...though after a short distance it becomes rather narrower, whilst still pleasant and smooth, and still one of the finest cycle routes out of the city.
We were soon climbing Madingley Hill to Hardwick. We continued west along the old A423 before turning south through Highfields and Coldecote to the B1046, which we followed west to Longstowe. Although we strung out a bit along this road, the pace was relatively quick.
At Longstowe we turned south down the A1198 for a couple of miles. This is a major road but there was relatively little traffic this evening. Half-way along this section we were rejoined by Jacob and Mike who had left us somewhere near Bourn and taken an off-road route instead.
Soon we were able to turn off onto a much quieter road to Old Wimpole, eventually arriving at the gates of Wimpole Hall itself. Here I suggested an off-road diversion through the woods of the Wimpole Estate. Tony and Conrad decided to give it a miss and continued along the road to Orwell, leaving the rest of us to have a scenic, if rather bumpy, ride through the woods.
By the time we reached Orwell it was just after 8pm. I had originally planned to head from here straight to Barrington but since this would mean us arriving 20 minutes earlier than planned I suggested we took a loop via Malton, where we stopped to inspect the meridian marker just south of the village.
A few minutes later we arrived in Barrington, where we stopped for a drink at the Royal Oak.
Since it was still quite light we decided to sit outside with our drinks, enjoying the fine views across the village green. However it was rather cold, which I think encouraged us to finish our drinks quickly and head back to Cambridge.
Our route back took us over Chapel Hill, but a tailwind assisted our progress to Haslingfield and allowed us a fast pace to Barton and along the Barton Road cycleway back into Cambridge. I was home by 9.30pm, having cycled 32 miles.
View this GPS track on a larger map