Thursday, 28 July 2011

28 Jul: Thursday ride to Reed, Ardeley and Nuthampstead

Edward writes: Today looked promising for cyclists. The skies were a bit overcast but there was very little wind and temperatures were expected to be in the low twenties. Again, about a dozen riders met for this popular Thursday event and we set off up Chapel Hill followed by the fast downhill into Barrington and then into Shepreth before heading for the busy A10. Once across we then made for Fowlmere and over the other busy road, the A505. This was followed by the long climb up to the Elmdon turn, although we, in fact, headed towards Heydon and the long sweep downwards through the narrow country lanes and finally reaching Barkway followed the delightful climb up to Reed with the wonderful views over thesurrounding countryside down below us. This lead us to the Silver Ball transport cafe on the A10. Here we were joined by Brian B and Doug and, briefly, by Geoff.

After our break we headed towards Sandon and through various twists and turns back to the A10. This five or six mile stretch is really first-class riding, extremely rural with very little traffic and an abundance of wild flowers. Once at the A10 we were on it just for a minute or two before turning off for Throcking and more rural countryside to pass through Cottered and finally arriving at our lunch stop at Church Farm at Ardeley. By now the sun was probably at its hottest and many of us enjoyed lunches out in the open.

After lunch Brian B left us but we were joined by Tony who had cycled over from St. Neots and we made for home via Great Munden, Westmill and Aspenden before stopping in Buntingford to admire the topiary, ie rabbits cut into a yew hedge.

Out of Buntingford we took the Wyddial road with its many twists and turns and undulations and arriving a The Woodman in Nuthamstead where we stopped for afternoon tea. This is wonderful countryside and sometimes it's worth recalling that Nuthamstead was one of the alternative sites to Stansted for London's third airport. Had that happened what would our cycling be like now!

From Nuthamstead we made rapid progress via Barley and the B1398 to Flint Cross, over the A505 and into Fowlmere, Newton and Hauxton where the ride ended. Again our thanks are due to Greta for another highly enjoyable day out. We covered 61 miles. Edward Elmer

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