Saturday, 16 July 2011

16 Jul: Introductory ride to Oakington

Tina writes: Despite an ominous morning forecast, nine people, including new riders Arthur and Chris, assembled at Brookside ready for the challenge of ‘heavy rain’. The first light spots were falling as we cycled up Trumpington St, through the centre of town and down Garrett Hostel Lane to cross the river. Students nattily attired in boaters and toting for punting business looked as if they were in for a quiet morning!


At Richard’s suggestion, we detoured along Grange Road, turning past the Faculty of Mathematical Sciences and returning along A1303 Madingley Road, then through West Cambridge ‘campus’ to pick up the Coton path. By this time serious rain had set in, but we continued up through Coton village and then crossed the A1303 and on to Madingley where a row of attractive thatched cottages lined the road. We turned left along Dry Drayton Road, trying to imagine how nice the view across fields would have looked on a fine day. Just before the village, we branched right along Park Lane where parts of the road were awash with water and then emerged on to the busier high street, leading up towards the A14. Just before the dual carriageway, we turned right, up and over the A14 noting the welcome Oakington signpost.

Unfortunately our route was marred by several impatient drivers and deep puddles along each side of the road, so we were relieved to reach Oakington Garden Centre and a dry oasis inside the Olive Tree café. Bob B decided to return home, but the rest of us ordered hot drinks with various cakes and scones and sat chatting for about 45 minutes, in the vain hope that rain might ease.


Having partially dried off, it was even more difficult to get back on our bikes and feel the rain once more seeping through jackets and helmets, but we were pleased to return along the traffic free guided busway with recent tarmac providing a smooth surface. Surprisingly a bus sped past heading towards Cambridge, presumably testing the route for the long-anticipated opening on August 7th. We left the busway just past CRC and continued down Green End Road, through Chesterton and then across the river at the ‘new’ bridge to Riverside. Riders had peeled off as they neared home and only Cheryl, Nigel, Richard and Tina returned to Parker’s Piece just before 1pm, for once devoid of weekend strollers. Hope new riders weren’t too deterred by the weather – next ride can only get better! Total distance: 16 miles. Tina Filby


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