Wednesday, 31 August 2011

31 Aug; Evening ride to Barton

Ian writes: The last evening ride attracted bumper support with no less than 14 riders some of the time and generally 13 riders most of the time! Tony was waiting when I arrived followed by Mike K, Klaas, Daniel, Eva, John, Kenny, Steve, Conrad, Gareth, myself and three others. We followed a route suggested by Nigel (who was not on the ride), with Gareth putting some extra miles in, often meeting us heading in the opposite direction!

Eleven of us made it to the pub bang on time at 8.30pm with the gloom descending. Service was a little slow for some but most stopped to enjoy the cheesy chips with a beer. I bade farewell shortly before 9pm with the chips being brought out just as I was on my way. Ian Wright.

View this GPS track on a larger map Track by Klaas

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

24 Aug: Evening ride to Waterbeach

I offered the riders two choices for how to get to Waterbeach: out to Swavesey along the guided busway and back via Cottenham, or out to Burwell along NCN51 and back through the fens. Mike said that he had done the fens last week and it was muddy; Jacob scoffed and said it would be fine, so I offered the casting vote to new rider Maria, and she chose the busway. Which was an excellent choice. The northern section of the busway, from Milton Road for about nine miles to Swavesey, is a joy to cycle on: the tarmac is smooth as a nectarine and the path is wide and straight. Ride it now, before the snows of winter break up the surface and the brambles overgrow it, to experience what all cycle paths should be!

The path is very popular: there were families out for a ride with the children, club cyclists working hard into the wind, commuters heading home to the villages, rollerbladers, joggers, walkers. Where did all these people come from? It's clear that there's suppressed demand for a safe, enjoyable place to ride.

Heading into the setting sun on the guided busway cycle path, with Over windmill on the horizon to the right.

At Swavesey we turned north to Over, and followed the fenland roads through Willingham, Rampton, Cottenham, and Landbeach. In Waterbeach I took a wrong turning—a whole new housing estate has been built since my map was printed!—but we found Tony's house in the end by following the smell of barbecueing sausages. Tony did us proud with steak, sausages, onions, coleslaw, baked potatoes, and Aussie rules football on the television.

Between Cottenham and Landbeach.

We came back along the towpath beside the river Cam. It's only six miles, but it always seems like a long way in the dark, as you strain your eyes to make sure that you are riding on the path and not heading for the river. 30 miles in all. Thanks to everyone who came along, and thanks especially to Tony for his fine hospitality.

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Thursday, 18 August 2011

18 Aug: Ride from Framlingham (Car-assisted)

Adrian writes: Eight of us from Cambridge (Mick, Averil, Tony, Edward, Joseph, Jim, Paul and myself), travelling in three cars, arrived at Framlingham College and met Greta, Doug,Tony P, Brian B, and Peter who were staying there for the week at the birthday rides. Greta and Peter were our leaders for the day, with an excellent route along traffic-free lanes.

We started off by going south through Framlingham town on the B1116 but soon turned towards Kettleburgh, Easton and Hacheston. Then a little bit more of the B1116 before turning left towards Marlesford, here we crossed the A12 where there was a farm shop/café beside the road where we had coffee. On leaving Paul found he had a puncture, which was soon fixed and we were on our way again. We travelled through Campsey Ash, Rendlesham down a little bit of the busy A1152 before turning off down a lovely little lane into the village of Eyke. We then crossed straight over the A1152 this time to the B1084 Orford road. Here we turned left and travelled along this road for some time before turning right towards Butley High and Low Corner, then left to Butley itself, then a lane that parallel to the B1084 Orford main road before joining it for the rest of the way into Orford for lunch café right on the shore line.

After lunch we had a look around Orford village and old castle before heading north through narrow lanes to Iken and its church overlooking the river Alde and Snape. After leaving the church we headed to Snape Maltings for afternoon tea, which for most was a delicious cream tea.

We had had lovely weather all day until now, but while at the Maltings having our tea the heavens opened. We took our time over tea hoping the rain would ease, but it didn’t, so braving the weather we put on our wet gear and headed back through Blaxhall, (where the rain eased a bit) and by the sustrans route and Great Glemham back to Framlingham and the college.

At the college we stopped to say goodbye and thanked everybody for their company, reloaded the bikes on cars and headed home.

I would like to thank Greta and Peter for their map reading and everybody for coming. I think we did about 40+ miles, which was very enjoyable. Adrian Lee

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

17 Aug: Evening ride to Little Shelford

Nigel writes: Despite cool temperatures and some persistent drizzle there were seven of us on this evening's ride to Little Shelford: Daniel, Gareth, Kenny, Chris, John, Tony and me. We headed south-west out of Cambridge along the Barton Road cycleway to Barton.

Because it was quite cold, the pace was relatively fast as we all tried to warm up.

Between Barton and Haslingfield we were overtaken by a group of faster riders. I chased them for a short while before Giving up. Gareth was more successful and clung on at the back until they turned off towards Harlton.

At Haslingfield we turned onto Chapel Hill. If we weren't already warmed up we were by the time we got to the top.

After descending down to Barrington we turned left to Foxton, where we crossed the railway using the gates next to the level crossing.

From Foxton we continued south-east to Fowlmere where we turned south to cross the A505 to Chrishall Grange.

The lanes south of the A505 are some of the nicest in the area. By now the drizzle had stopped, and the sun had come out. At Chrishall Grange we turned East onto Royston Lane.

We all agreed that Royston Lane is particularly nice narrow lane that we don't use very often. We could have followed it all the way to Littlebury, but by the time we reached the Elmdon-Ickleton Road it was time to turn north to Ickleton.

Somewhere about now the sun finally disappeared below the horizon. However the sky was still quite light and the western sky provided a spectacular red display for a further 20 minutes or so, which we admired as we rode along.

As we crossed the A505 we looked back and saw a rainbow over Chrishall Grange.

After crossing the A505 we continued north past to Whittlesford and on to Little Shelford, where we stopped for a drink at The Navigator. After sitting chatting for about half an hour we all continued back to Cambridge. This didn't take very long, especially we we were able to use the new Busway Cycleway for the final section all the way back to the station. I was home by 9.35pm, having cycled 31 miles.

Photos 5 and 8 by Gareth Rees.

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Sunday, 14 August 2011

14 Aug: Afternoon ride to Snailwell

Nigel writes: I arrived at Brookside to led this afternoon's ride to find no-one gathering beside the bench that marks our traditional meeting point. This seemed odd for a summer Sunday afternoon in good weather. However I then spotted a group of five cyclists a few yards away standing with their bikes and chatting, and wandered over to them to ask "are you here for the CTC ride?" and to receive the answer "yes". I handed out guest entry forms for the non-members to complete, and shortly afterwards several more familar faces arrived, making a total of ten riders for this afternoon's ride to Snailwell.

We set off south down Trumpington Road and via Barrow Road to Long Road. There we joined the Guided Busway and headed south towards Addenbrooke's. There was no particular need to use the Busway today but it is still such a novelty than I am using it whever I can. It is certainly a lovely way to start off a ride, though I had to disappoint some of the other riders when I told them that we were only on it for a short distance.

At Addenbrooke's we joined the road once more and skirted round the southern side of the campus before turning onto Red Cross Lane. This took us east to Hills Road. We crossed over and turned onto Wort's Causeway and started the long climb over the Gogs to Fulbourn.

We had quite a mix of riders on the ride today and quite a mix of bikes too, with racing bikes, folding bikes, mountain bikes, touring bikes and hybrids all represented.

After descending to Fulbourn we turned onto the road to Great Wilbraham. When we reached the village Steve G and Bob turned off to take the off-road short-cut to the Six Mile Bottom Road, leaving the main group to go the long way round on the road via Little Wilbraham.

The off-road route is substantially shorter than the road and Steve and Bob reached the rendezvous point about five minutes before us. After meeting up once more Steve, Bob and now John M continued on the off-road route to Westley Waterless, and once again I led the remainer along the road to Six Mile Bottom where we turned left along the A1304 to our second rendezvous point. This time we were ahead of the off-roaders, and waited several minutes for them to join us.

Now riding as a single group once more, we followed the rough track that leads to the level crossing at Westley Bottom.

Having crossed the railway we slowly climbed up Cambridge Hill to the cross-roads where we turned left to Dullingham.

I checked the time and decided that we were running slightly behind schedule, mainly due to a couple of technical hitches along the way. I therefore decided to shorten the ride by taking the B1061 directly onto Newmarket. From there it was only a few more miles to Snailwell, and we arrived at the George and Dragon only five minutes late, at about 4.35pm.

We entered the pub to receive a friendly greeting from the landlord. I spotted a large group already sitting outside in the garden and nervously advised the landlord that there were ten more of us. I then spotted the huge plates of sandwiches that were waiting and realised that I need not have worried: there would be plenty of food.

This was our first visit to this pub and I am pleased to report that it was entirely satisfactory. Friendly service, plenty of food, and, most importantly, lots of tea. We sat outside in the garden chatting and relaxing.

After tea we all returned back to Cambridge. As it was still warm and light, and with an entirely flat ride in prospect, I suggested a route via Exning, Burwell, Reach and the Lodes Way. We rode most of the way as a single combined group of about sixteen riders, which is quite unusual for a post-tea return to Cambridge.

I was home by 7.20pm, having cycled 46 miles.

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Saturday, 13 August 2011

Support Conrad's charity ride to Paris

Conrad Chua, who rides regularly with CTC Cambridge and leads some of our rides, is riding from London to Paris in September to raise monry for Diabetes UK. Please read Conrad's request for support.

London to Paris for Diabetes UK

Conrad Chua writes: On the 9th of September, I will join thirty-seven other cyclists to ride from Greenwich to Paris to raise money for Diabetes UK, the charity for people with diabetes. Most of us decided to do this because someone we know has been diagnosed with this condition.

The ride to Paris will take three days.The first day involve riding 70 miles from Greenwich to Folkestone, where we will cross under the channel using the Eurotunnel (no we will not be cycling through the tunnel, just catching a coach).

The following two days will be spent cycling from Dieppe to Paris, where we will end our journey at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. This will be my first time participating in such a bike ride and my rides with CTC Cambridge have been a key part of my training. CTC members have also been a great source of support and general cycling advice. I have already raised 90% of my target but I still need a few more donations to get over that target. If you would like to donate, you can do so online on my JustGiving page. CTC members, of course, can give sponsorship money directly to me on one of the upcoming club rides! Conrad

Thursday, 11 August 2011

11 Aug: Thursday ride to Swavesey and St Neots

Edward writes: Although the weather was not too promising ten cyclist gathered at Haslingfield Church. In view of the stiff breeze and the promise of showers this was a good turnout and in keeping with the popularity of the Thursday ride. Luckily, today, we didn't start with the climb up Chapel Hill but with the more sedate ride through Harlton, over the A603 and into the Eversdens and up and down into Kingston before making the turning to Bourn.

It was straight through Bourn and up to and over the A428 where we took the road to Knapwell and Boxworth. Remarkably the wind was mainly on our backs which was a considerable relief because, as the morning went on, the wind had become stronger. From Boxworth we crossed the A14 (not too busy) and into Swavesey.

In Swavesey we took coffee at a new venue, The Compass Cafe at Bethel Baptist Church, and what a success it was. We had good coffee and a fine choice of home-made cakes all for £1.50 and all with a warm welcoming atmosphere. It wouldn't be surprising if this venue appears on future rides lists. Our thanks are due to Brian M for his recommendation - no worries about Brian becoming mincemeat !

After coffee we retraced our steps a little in order to take the road to Fen Drayton and here we did face the wind and the first of the day's short showers. It was head wind now for most of the way into St. Neots which was via Fenstanton, Hilton and Toseland. It's interesting to observe the changing countryside with the harvest now underway and remember all the changes we have seen right back to the spring drought. When we reached St. Neots we took lunch at the Ambience Cafe where some sat outside with sandwiches, others bought meals and sat inside and yet more bought fish and chips from the nearby chippy. Although ten started out, we increased our number, first in Swavesey, and secondly at lunch, so at times our numbers were quite large.

After our usual leisurely lunch we timed our departure to coincide with another of the day's showers, but it soon passed. Our route home was via Abbotsley and the Gransdens and, no doubt by Greta's good planning, we had the wind mostly on our backs. This was some achievement bearing in mind how stiff the breeze had been throughout the day. On the way home some of the group stopped for tea in Bourn whilst another group went straight home. The ride's official end was Haslingfield Church, and once again we must thank Greta for another splendid day out. We covered 50 miles. Edward Elmer.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

10 Aug: Evening ride to Little Wilbraham

Nigel writes: Tonight was quite a contrast to a week ago. Last Wednesday it was hot, humid and thundery, this evening it was warm, dry and very windy. And whereas last week we felt like a slow amble through the fens, this week we were in the mood for something faster and hillier. There were nine of us this week: Ian, Jacob, Mike K, Kenny, Peter H, Peter D, Gareth, Neil and me.

Our route this evening took us south out of Cambridge along the newly-opened Busway Cycleway, which we joined just north of Hills Road bridge and followed all the way to Addenbrooke's.

At Addenbrooke's we turned south along the new Francis Crick Avenue before turning off-road once more onto the DNA path to Great Shelford.

We continued south along NCR 11 to Stapleford and Sawston before turning off onto the road to Babraham. Here we paused to wait for Jacob, Mike K and Pete H who had taken the rather bumpy off-road path that runs directly from Stapleford to Babraham.

At Babraham we all turned off-road onto the familar path that leads down to the footbridge over the A11 to Abington. From Abington we turned north, and with the wind behind us at last, climbed the hill up to Balsham.

At Balsham we joined the B1052 - possibly the quietest B-road in the Cambridge area - and sped on northwards to West Wratting before turning left onto the little road that runs north towards the Woodland Cemetery. With plenty of height "in the bag", and a continuing tailwind, this was a attractive, fast and enjoyable section of the ride.

But soon it was time to turn west, down the hill to Six Mile Bottom and then along the flat to Little Wilbraham where we stopped for a drink at the Hole in the Wall. This is a pleasant, excellently located, pub, with a table outside where we could sit with our drinks, but it is as much of a restaurant as a pub, and didn't serve food to casual visitors.

Not that it mattered: we were soon on our way back to Cambridge via Quy, Fen Ditton and the Jubilee Cycleway. This was straight into the wind and relatively tiring,, so I was relieved I didn't have to go very far; I was home by a relatively early 9.20pm, after having cycled 32 miles.

Photo 4 by Gareth Rees.

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