Nigel writes: Rather unusually given the recent spell of sunny weather, today started as a typical dull winter's day. Not especially cold, but with a chilly wind from the south. However this didn't prevent about nine members turning up at Brookside for today's all-day ride. Our leader today was Adrian. On midwinter days like today we arrange to have our planned stops relatively close to Cambridge, and our planned morning coffee stop in Malton was only ten miles away, so Adrian took us there via a rather longer roundabout route.
We set off from Brookside down Hills Road.
Just before the railway bridge we turned left towards the station and joined the busway cycleway to Addenbrooke's.
At Addenbrooke's we turned onto the DNA path to Great Shelford from where we continued on the familiar route through Little Shelford to Whittlesford.
Just north of Whittlesford we turned north towards Newton from where we continued, via a diversion round Thriplow and Fowlmere, to Foxton. Here we crossed the A10 and the railway.
We continued to Barrington and Orwell from where it was just a short distance further to our coffee stop at Malton Golf club. When we arrived we found about half a dozen more members already there. This is one of my favourite coffee stops: the staff always seem pleased to see us and in addition to tea and coffee a good range of cheap snacks are available. I ordered coffee and beans on toast and we spent about half an hour there drinking, eating and chatting.
Afterwards about half a dozen riders returned to Cambridge, leaving about ten to continue on to lunch at Clavering Lakes. I needed to warm myself up so went ahead of the group and arrived at the Fishing Lodge about fifteeen minutes before the rest.
The small restaurant here is in a very nice location, and the food is quite good, but some of the staff here always seem a bit stressed and are not as welcoming as you might expect when £100 of business walks through the door.
Since I had arrived first, I finished my food first, and so after checking the route with Adrian I set off for Ickleton on my own via Arkesden, Duddenhoe End, Littlebury Green and Catmere End. By now the sun had come out and the dull grey morning had turned into a warm golden afternoon.
It was only about ten miles to our planned afternoon stop and it was only 3.15pm when I arrived at Ickleton Barns cafe. This is another of my favourite coffee stops, with a nice location, welcoming staff and some very satisfactory cakes. I was just finishing my cake when Adrian arrived with the remnants of the all-day ride, and Julia arrived with the afternoon ride.
Afterwards we all set off back towards Cambridge with the exception of Tina who was heading west towards Royston. I decided to keep Tina company for part of the way so we headed west along Grange Road Ickleton to Chrishall Grange where we turned north for Fowlmere. By now it was getting quite dark so I was able to try out the new extra-bright front light I had bought a few days previously. At Fowlmere we parted company: Tina continued west towards Melbourn and Royston whilst I followed the B1368 through Newton to Harston. I rode along the A10 for a couple of miles to Trumpington P&R where I picked up the busway cycleway all the way back to Cambridge station. I was just approaching the station when, rather unexpectedly, it started to rain quite heavily. Fortunately I was only a mile from home, which I reached just after 5.30pm, having cycled 66 miles.
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