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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