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.

View this GPS track on a larger map


  1. Huge thanks to 'knights' Gareth & Nigel, both for their company and for practical help repairing punctures in both wheels :-) Made it home safely without further mishap, but won't be thinking of riding home on my own again along unlit country roads until lighter evenings return!

  2. No problem! It is a bit miserable when you puncture both wheels at the same time (this happened to me this summer on the busway near St Ives).