Monday, 28 November 2011

27 Nov: Afternoon ride to Fordham

John writes: Five riders departed from Brookside at 1:30 p.m. It was a perfect winter’s cycling day with sun, scattered cloud and the strong westerly having moderated to a force 3 or 4. We slowly winkled through crowds of pedestrians, dogs etc. over Parker’s Piece and Midsummer Common to the Cam. Thence via Stourbridge Common to Fen Ditton, past the Ancient Shepherds pub (where the ride leader (RL) first learned he was to be a grandfather) to Quy. We made rapid progress past the quirky and expensive Missing Sock through Bottisham and Swaffham Bulbeck. The B1102 was as trafficky as usual – shame about shops opening on Sundays - but we were able to use the pavement/cycle track and go through Swaffham Prior village.

A short break where we crossed the Devil’s Ditch afforded a magnificent view across the fens to Ely cathedral shimmering on the horizon, whilst Jacob mended a puncture caused by a flint.

After passing through Burwell we continued onto Heath Road before turning, at Jacob's suggestion, onto a quiet concrete track which took us past Gravel Pit Farm towards Exning. Jacob had an onboard video camera with him and took this short video:

This diversion confused RL’s GPS but we soon found the rural road through Snailwell to Chippenham. This fine road through horseracing country was well-wooded and quiet.

Adrian, escaping from the all-day riders, met us here. The huge privately owned Chippenham Park grounds are well worth visiting: it is open 3 or 4 days a year under the National Gardens Scheme: the ugly house is not open to the public.

At Chippenham village, our farthest Easterly point we turned into the wind, which had moderated further, towards a magnificent setting sun to arrive at Simpson’s at 3:45 p.m. just as the all-day cyclists were leaving.

After generous portions of cake, huge sausage rolls and tea we set off homewards. It was now dark so lights were required and the temperature was falling rapidly. A day-old finger nail moon had risen over Cambridge. Steve and Seb, fortified by the sausage rolls, sped ahead on their drop-handlebar machines whilst the three J’s including another John pursued them on their straight-barred mounts. But a few regrouping pauses kept us all in touch until the A14 tunnel where the group fragmented to their various homes. RL retraced the route through Fen Ditton and across Stourbridge Common: Ursa Major and Cassiopeia were clearly visible despite the ambient light from the city.

This was a brisk ride of about 38 miles. John Ferguson.

Saturday morning introductory rides in December

By popular demand, an additional Saturday morning introductory rides has been arranged for Saturday 17th December. Join us at Brookside at 10am for a ride to Burwash Manor, Barton, where in addition to refreshments at the tea rooms there will be an opportunity for some last-minute Christmas shopping!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

27 Nov: All-day ride to Newmarket, Lackford and Fordham

Nigel writes: Today started dull, windy, dry, and very mild, but the sun soon came out and bathed us in constant sunshine all day. Quite a contrast to the last Sunday in November last year, when both rides were cancelled due to ice and snow and the pond at Brookside had ice floating on top.

I arrived at Brookside to find a dozen riders waiting to set off. Tom was our leader today, and led us south-east out of Cambridge along Cherry Hinton Road and Fulbourn Road to Fulbourn.

The wind was from the south-west and was quite strong. Fortunately we were heading east, which meant we had a tailwind for most of the morning.

From Fulbourn we took the road to Great Wilbraham and Little Wilbraham.

At Little Wilbraham we turned onto the long road east to Six Mile Bottom.

At Six Mile Bottom we continued up the hill in the direction of Brinkley. This was our first climb of the day, but the tailwind meant that it didn't really feel like climbing at all. When we reached the cross-roads half-way up the hill we turned left towards Dullingham and from there continued to Newmarket. We arrived at our planned coffee stop at the National Horseracing Museum just after 11pm to find quite a few members already there.

The staff at the museum were friendly and welcoming, even inviting some of us to wheel our bikes through the museum so we could park them in an inner courtyard.

Morning coffee on an all-day ride is always a sociable affair, and today was no exception, and everyone sat in animated conversation for over 45 minutes before Tom suggested it was time to move on.

About ten continued on to lunch leaving the others to return back to Cambridge. We left Newmarket on the road to Moulton. This is a gentle climb with horseracing gallops on both sides of the road, and with the sun now shining brightly there were fine views of the town behind us.

With the wind still behind us the climb to Moulton was hardly noticeable. At Moulton Gareth and Rupert cycled over the medieval packhorse bridge, with the rest of us riding through the dry ford alongside.

Since we had spent such a long time over coffee Tom took us a fairly direct route to our lunch stop: east to Gazeley (photo below), north to Kentford where we crossed under the A14, and then north-east to our planned lunch stop at Lackford Lakes. This is a nature reserve run by Suffolk Wildlife Trust. This has a pleasant visitor centre but we were disappointed to discover that it offered little in the way of refreshments beyond tea, coffee and muffins. Most of the group had brought sandwiches and was happy to stay, but five of us was looking for something more substantial and so continued the short distance to Flempton where we stopped for lunch at The Greyhound.

After lunch the two groups reunited once more and continued onwards to our planned tea stop in Fordham. We were now riding west, into the wind, and although the wind had subsided compared to earlier, our pace was significantly slower than before.

We retraced out earlier route to Cavenham and then turned north-west to Tuddenham. From there we continued to Red Lodge. Along the way Gareth suggested a shortcut along a byway, and three of us decided to join him, leaving Tom and the others to continue along the road.

Just beyond Red Lodge we crossed over the A14 on a footbridge.

A short distance further on we were reunited with Tom's group and continued on towards Freckenham from where it was just a short distance further to Fordham.

There seemed to be some confusion about the best way through Fordham to Simpson's Garden Centre and Rupert, who led this section, was apologetic that he had taken us on a roundabout route. However the GPS track shows that route we took was in fact pretty direct. We reached the garden centre at about 3.15pm. This was my first visit to the cafe here, and I found it perfectly pleasant, with a small selection of reasonable quality cakes.

After half an hour we were ready to leave, keen to make as much use of the declining daylight as planned. As we left we saw John F and the afternoon ride arrive.

From Fordham back to Cambridge the most direct route would have been straight down the B1102 all the way to Quy. However no-one was keen on this and we took a longer but much more pleasant route via Burwell and the Lodes Way.

By the time we reached the bridge over Burwell Lode the light was declining fast. There seemed to be a lot of people about with cameras, and on the bridge itself there were several people waiting with tripods. When we asked why they told us they were waiting for bats.

We continued along the Lodes Way, over the new bridges across Reach Lode and Swaffham Bulbeck Lode until we reached Lode itself. We crossed over the B1102 to Bottisham where we joined the cycle path alongside the A1303 to Quy. Our route into Cambridge took us through Fen Ditton and across Ditton Meadows and Stourbridge Common. I was home before 6pm, having cycled 72 miles.

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Saturday, 26 November 2011

CTC Cambridge in the 1930s

A selection of photos taken in the 1930's by club member Donnex Claydon have now been published on this website. They show how active the club was in the 1930s, and what fun its members had.

Friday, 25 November 2011

John Lumbers 1929 - 2011

An appreciation by the club of one of our most long-serving members can be found here.

Monday, 21 November 2011

19 Nov: Saturday morning ride to Fen Ditton

Julia writes: The forecast for today was for sunshine after a dull start, and this is exactly how it turned out. It was bright and sunny already when Parul - a friend of mine who lives in Hitchin but had stayed over for the night especially to come on the ride - and I set off from home, so I expected at least ten people at Brookside. And I was not disappointed: A total of 14 riders had assembled at the start, including some regular Saturday riders and a few more guests. Ian, our leader for today, asked non-members to fill out the guest entry forms and I took a group photo before we set off just after 10 o'clock.

We went south on Brookside, crossed over Trumpington Road and went on to Newnham via the little green called the New Bit. Ian had planned a clockwise mini circuit to the west and north of Cambridge, avoiding the popular tow path by the river near Chesterton, which was very busy with walkers, cyclists, dogs and spectators as a rowing race was taking place this morning. As we went on along the cycle path on Barton Road and then took a right turn into Grange Road, people were happily chatting, and nobody noticed that suddenly the last three riders of the group had stopped as Rob from Linton had a problem with his rear wheel. I stayed with him while he readjusted things, not least because I had volunteered to be the "back marker" of our group. Having a person at the back who makes sure that nobody gets left behind is a good idea in a large group. The general rule is: If you can see your back marker, everything is OK. If you can't, there may be a problem and somebody may have been left behind, so slow down or stop. Of course this means that ideally the person at the back should be easily visible amongst the crowd, so that the leader can spot them with a quick glance back over his or her shoulder. I was quite the opposite in my inconspicuous grey and brown outfit, so it is no surprise that Ian did not notice that I had gone missing. It took a little while for Rob to get his wheel sorted out, by which time the group had gone out of sight and I wasn't sure which way to go as we tried to catch them up. A quick phone call with the leader brought the main group to a halt and us back on track, and before long we had caught them up just off the Coton footpath, on the way up to Madingley road. After this little incidence we decided that Kathy in her bright yellow coat would be a far better back marker, and everything went smoothly after that.

We crossed over the main road and continued on the secluded little paths through the observatory up to Huntington Road, then via Girton towards Oakington. We turned right on to Park Lane where we picked up the guided busway.

We followed the smooth tarmac path along the busway as far as the old railway station in Histon and from there went on to Impington and over the A10 bridge which comes out in Butt Lane in Milton. We turned right off Milton High Street and went along Fen Road to the river path, then right again and to Baits Bite Lock. Kathy went straight home from there, leaving 13 of us to carry or push our bikes over the bridge by the lock, and continue our way on the path up to Horningsea Road.

I had used the stop at the lock to nick Peter's Super Galaxy for a test ride, leaving him to carry on with my Kingpin. Both bikes are made by Dawes, but could hardly be more different from each other. A nearly 30-year-old, heavy little folding bike on 20 inch wheels with 3-speed hub gears vs. a modern, high-spec and lightweight touring bike. Even though the Super Galaxy wasn't quite the right size for me (I felt a bit too stretched out on it), I certainly enjoyed the quick and smooth ride that the light and stiff frame delivered, as well as the neat gear shifters, which are integrated with the brake levers. If I ever wondered why people would spend well over £1000.00 on a bicycle, here was my answer. The last few minutes of the ride flew by, and we soon arrived at Green End in Fen Ditton where we stopped at our home for the usual coffee, tea and cakes. This was the first time I served tea in the fabulous giant tea pot which my house mates had given me as a birthday present earlier this year. It holds about 12 cups of tea and is hand painted with the names of a selection of classic British bicycle brands - perfect for CTC occasions! I was so busy eating and chatting that I completely forgot to take a picture of the crowd in our kitchen and dining room, so here is just a still life, featuring some flowers, left over cake and said tea pot.

Soon most people were on their way back to Cambridge, making a total distance of 16.5 miles. Meanwhile Ian carried out some impromptu repairs on Annie's bike in our back yard - another Kingpin, dating back to 1969, which once belonged to Annie's mum and has been well used over the past 40 years. It always makes me happy to see vintage bikes like this still used and loved by their owners.

It seems like the Saturday rides remain popular, so could well continue for a bit longer! Watch this space. Julia Hochbach

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John Lumbers 1929 - 2011

Cambridge CTC is very sad to hear of the death of John Lumbers. The funeral will be on Thursday 24th November. More information can be found here.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

17 Nov: Thursday ride to Newport and Clavering

Edward writes: This Thursday we met at the green in Hauxton rather than at Greta's. Today we left Hauxton with twelve riders, including Greta, who led the ride to Newport and then Mike took over from there. We were also joined by Edward who was visiting from Worcester DA. This is his second visit to us, the first time during the summer, and we extend a welcome to him. The day was overcast, not cold and with the prospect of some sunshine by the middle of day. Also, and importantly, hardly any wind.

We left Hauxton and followed the road through Little Shelford, to Whittlesford where we crossed the A505 which, unusually, was not in the least bit busy. This brought us into Duxford and then to Ickleton for the climb up Coploe Hill and our regular regrouping spot at the top of the hill.

By now we had some sunshine and the views across the surrounding countryside were really good, so long if you ignore the motorway. When we got going again we were able to enjoy the fast downhill before the final climb up to Catmere End. After this, and a bit more climbing we descended to Wendons Ambo and the nice little road through the village, over the railway to briefly join the B1383 for the run into Newport and our coffee stop. Some went to the nursery at R & R Saggers whilst others went to Dorrington's on the main road.

After coffee Mike took over leadership and we headed for Wicken Bonhunt and the next village was Clavering and our lunch stop at the lakes.

We decided on an early lunch so that we had options in the afternoon. In fact we left the lakes at 1pm and as we were leaving we met Bob and Myrtle who were eating their lunch on the grass verge at the entrance to the lakes. At this point those that wanted to get back early left us and took a more direct route back. The remaining five then took the road to Langley Lower Green and followed the quiet and narrow roads through Little Chishill and then making a right turn so as to climb up to Gt Chishill. Next up was Heydon and Elmdon from where we able to enjoy the descent down into Ickleton.

Once again we went through Duxford, over the A505 and back into Whittlesford. As we were a bit early we looped round Newton and Little Shelford before arriving back in Gt Shelford at 3.15 after covering 43 miles. Our thanks are due to Greta and to Mike for leading this ride. Edward Elmer

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Monday, 14 November 2011

John Lumbers 1929 - 2011

Cambridge CTC is very sad to hear of the death of John Lumbers. John was one of our leading members who had been associated with our club for as long as most of us can remember. John was a lifelong touring cyclist. He helped run the club for many years and led countless cycle rides both locally and all over the world. He led local rides for Cambridge CTC as recently as 2009. Our thoughts are with his family and particularly his wife Greta.

Funeral information

The funeral will be on Thursday 24th November at 11am at Hauxton Church.

The committal will take place at the church. Only the funeral directors will
accompany the coffin to the crematorium.

After the funeral, everyone is invited to a tea and coffee gathering at the
Red Lion pub in Grantchester.

Family flowers only. We understand there will be a collection for charity.

Greta has specifically asked for people to attend in cycling gear, so club members will be riding from Cambridge as follows:

Depart from Brookside at 10:00 am.
Pass front of railway station at 10:10am.
Ride via the busway cycleway, DNA path, Great and Little Shelfords, arriving at Hauxton at approx 10.45am.
After the funeral we will ride on to Grantchester.
If you plan to go to the Grantchester Red Lion gathering afterwards, it would be helpful if you let Rupert know (contact details here) so he can pass an estimate of numbers to the family.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

13 Nov: Afternoon ride to Waresley

Nigel writes: I hasn't been planning to go for a ride today, but the weather today looked absolutely gorgeous and I knew I just had to get on the bike to enjoy it. So I cancelled my plans to spend the day at home and turned up at Brookside at 1.30pm to find eight others already waiting. Jacob was our leader this afternoon. He led us south down Trumpington Road to Trumpington where we turned off to Grantchester.

The weather was clear, sunny and very mild. With just a light breeze it was as good a November day as you could hope for, with the low sun picking out the autumn colours and casting long shadows on the ground.

From Grantchester we took the road through Canteloupe Farm to Haslingfield.

As we passed Haslingfield Village Green we paused to to inspect the Joan Wooldridge Memorial Seat, since not all members had seen it yet.

From Haslingfield we set off west through Harlton and the Eversdens to Kingston. Just beyond Kingston we joined the B1046, but only for a few hundred yards before turning off south onto an unsurfaced byway which we followed for about two miles before rejoining the same road just south of Longstowe.

Photo: Gareth Rees

This was a beautiful route, though rather bumpy and muddy in places and I think we were relieved to reach tarmac once more.

From here onwards the group fragmented somewhat, though I suspect we all took the same route to Waresley. Gareth was in the front group who had time to visit the windmill at Great Gransden.

Photo: Gareth Rees

I reached Great Gransden at about 4.15pm. We were only 1 mile from our planned tea stop. Since this closes at 4pm so there was time for a loop via Abbotsley and Lily Hill first. I found myself riding on my own during this section, with one group ahead and one group behind. Lily Hill was, as always, lovely in the late afternoon sunshine. Although I'm not the greatest fan of the countryside west of Cambridge, the immediate vicinity of Waresley stands out as a little oasis with its undulating landscape, pretty lanes and the village itself hidden in trees.

The other reason I like Waresley is the Waresley Park Garden Centre, which I reached at about 3.45pm. The advance group was already there, and Jacob's rear group joined us about ten minutes later. There was also quite a large group from the all-day ride, plus one or two who had ridden there directly.

After tea we all rode back to Cambridge, with the exception of Tina who was heading south to Royston. Gareth offered to keep her company for the first part of the ride and I decided to come too. So whilst the main group headed back the direct route, which I expect was via Great Gransden, Caxton and Bourn., Tina, Gareth and I headed off in the opposite direction towards Gamlingay.

At Gamlingay the three of us turned left onto the road to Hatley St George. The light was now fading fast and the temperature was dropping rapidly. All three of us were wearing shorts, which demonstrated how mild the weather had been, so I think we were glad we didn't have very far to go.

Before long it was completely dark, and we were almost at the top of Croydon Hill when I heard a loud bang followed by a loud hissing. Tina had hit a pothole in the dark. Remarkably both tyres were flat almost immediately. Roadside repairs took about fifteen minutes: Gareth fixed the front wheel whilst Tina fixed the back, and we were soon on the move again.

Just a little further, at the junction half-way down Croydon Hill, our ways parted. Tina continued down the hill towards Wendy whilst Gareth and I turned left towards Croydon. (It was fortunate that Tina hadn't had that puncture a little later, since mending two punctures on one's own in the dark would be distinctly dispiriting for anyone).

Gareth and I rode back through Croydon and Arrington to the junction with the A1198, where we turned through the back gate of the Wimpole Estate. We rode through the grounds of Wimpole Hall, past the front of the house, and out on the other side. Our route then took us through Orwell, where Gareth stopped to take off his hat and I took the opportunity to take a photo of the floodlit church.

The final part of our ride home took us through Barrington, over Chapel Hill to Haslingfield, north to Barton and then into Cambridge along the A603. I was at home by 6.45pm, having cycled 46 miles.

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13 Nov: All-day ride to Biggleswade, Old Warden and Waresley

Paul has sent in two photos of today's all-day ride. These were taken during the afternoon between Cardington and Old Warden. The stationary one shows the group that did the outbound loop via Priory Country Park, Bedford: others took a short cut via Copple and Northill en route to the Shuttleworth Museum at Old Warden for a late lunch.

Photos: Paul Dover

Saturday, 12 November 2011

12 Nov: "The Norfolk Nips - 1" 100km Audax

Nigel writes: Today was the first of three 100km Audax rides that start and end in Hellesdon, a northern suburb of Norwich. Ian D rode this event last year in thick fog, and was keen to ride it again - if only to see what the route looked like under normal conditions. He kindly offered Gareth and me spaces in his car to get there.

Our rendezvous point was at 7am at Brookside in Cambridge, where we loaded our bikes and ourselves into Ian's car for the drive to Norwich. We arrived at about 8.30am, in good time to collect our brevet cards and route sheets and enjoy a cup of tea before the start of the ride at 9am.

Today's event was organised by Keith Harrison and Sue Gatehouse in the name of an organisation called "NorfolknGood Audax", which despite the mischevous name provided an exceedingly well-run event from beginning to end.

Since there were well over 100 riders we were sent off in small batches a few minutes apart. I left in the first batch, with Gareth and Ian in later batches.

The weather was dull and cloudy, with the sun not making much of an appearance all day. It was very mild, however, and completely dry, and with hardly any wind it was nevertheless a pretty good day for a cycle ride in November.

The first part of the ride took us north to the coast. We were almost immediately out of the city and onto empty lanes, and although we were climbing gently I kept up a good pace from the start. In fact I was overtaken by only a dozen or so other riders during the first hour or so. However after the first info control at Weybourne I heard voices behind me, and a large peloton swept by.

I spotted Gareth somewhere in the middle and decided to catch them up and catch a ride at the back. It took me about five minutes to catch them up (I had stopped to take photos) but once I had done so I was able to relax. I had forgotten just how much shelter from the wind a peloton gives you, and as the group sped along the coast road towards Sheringham it was easy to keep up and enjoy the exhilarating ride.

The speed didn't slacken as we continued through Cromer and a succession of small seaside villages: Overstrand, Sidestrand and Trimingham. In fact the pace got even faster for the final mile or two before we reached Mundesley, and the first staffed control point of the ride. It was 1.10pm and we had cycled 61km (37 miles). As we relaxed with a cup of tea in the Jonet Cafe opposite, I recorded that my moving average speed was 28.8km/s (17.9mph) which for me is very fast indeed.

Gareth was keen to get moving again, though before we set off there was time to admire the beach behind the cafe and watch the waves.

After Mundesley the peloton separated into smaller groups and Gareth and I found ourselves riding as a group of two. We continued along the coast road, past the gas terminal at Bacton and the surfers' beaches at Walcot to arrive at a further staffed control point in a community hall in Happisburgh. It was 11.59am and we had covered 72km (45 miles). There were free refreshments available, but as we had left the cafe less than half an hour earlier we didn't stay for long and were soon on our way.

Our route now turned inland, back towards Norwich. I had only 34km (21 miles) to go back to Hellesdon, but Gareth was planning to ride all the way back to Cambridge as a "DIY Audax" so had not yet reached the half-way point of the day. Despite this, Gareth continued to set a brisk pace and as I began to tire I probably spent a less than my fair share of time at the front.

We arrived back in Hellesdon at 1.24pm. That's 106km (66 miles) in less than 4.5 hours, which Gareth thought was his fastest 100km ever. It certainly was mine.

After getting our Brevet cards stamped we collected cups of tea and bowls of soup and sat down for a rest.

After about an hour Ian arrived - he had taken the ride at a normal pace and had stopped for lunch in Sheringham. At about the same time Gareth set off with a companion for the long ride to Cambridge, with an expected arrival time of 9pm.

Ian dropped me off at home in Cambridge just after 5pm. I had ridden 66 miles.

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