Thursday, 12 January 2012

12 Jan: Thursday ride to Ickleton and Barley

Edward writes: Today normal service was resumed with the regular Thursday ride. The fair weather cyclists were out in force and shortly after leaving Hauxton we had eleven in the group. With Greta away the baton was handed to a band of volunteers to look after things in her absence. Today I was the ride leader.

We set off in reasonable weather, a bit breezy from the west but with the promise of a sunlit afternoon but accompanied by a drop in temperature, and so it turned out, but with the addition of one or two unpleasant showers, which would have meant nothing to those who braved last week's conditions. We took a fairly short route to Ickleton, going via Little Shelford, then Newton and back down into Whittlesford before turning to go over the A505. On reaching Duxford we took a route through the village and its back ways which took us by Duxford's second parish church, and the not often seen, St. John's, but sadly, few seemed to notice. We then went through the former Ciba-Geigy factory site, over the ford and into Hinxton and thence to Ickleton and the Riverside Barns. This is always a popular stop with its friendly and courteous service.

Here we were joined by Mike S and Tina, who unfortunately arrived with a puncture which, as ever, Mike C fixed in a time which was probably a little outside his record. In other words very quickly.

We left Ickleton and started the journey in earnest by taking the short cut across the fields to Coploe Road and the climb to the top and here we felt the full benefit of the stiff westerly wind coming across at right angles. After Catmere End we turned towards Littlebury Green but turning off just before the village to make another climb followed by the long descent to the Saffron Walden to Royston road.

We turned right here and into the wind and more climbs to arrive in Arkesden where we regrouped as the hills and the wind had spread the group out. Our next village was Clavering and this was followed by the least pleasant bit of the course - stiff head wind, hills and the threatening black sky finally produced the inevitable rain. Nevertheless, the group pressed on with fortitude and we finally reached Brent Pelham and the first hint that the skies might break and give us the sunshine predicted in the forecast.

We now took a slightly circuitous route through Meesden and Anstey and, as we turned, the wind was at last not dead set against us. After Anstey, we then headed for Nuthamstead where the countryside started to have a different look with sunshine and colour in contrast to the rather bleak outlook in the previous hour. After Nuthamstead it was but a little distance to Shaftenhoe End and Barley and the Chequers where many sighs of relief were heard.

We were rejoined by Mike S who had taken a shorter route and he was just finishing his lunch when we all arrived. Ironically the best of the sunshine was while we were inside the pub. Following a good lunch the group dispersed a few a time but six of us then headed home the quick way down the A1368. This gave us time for one more puncture, this time to Brian M, and once again Mike C was on hand to effect a quick repair. This happened in Fowlmere and after this we detoured round Thriplow, on to Newton, Little Shelford and Great Shelford where the trip ended, having completed 42 miles. Thanks to everyone who attended. Edward Elmer.

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  1. Thanks to Edward for leading a very enjoyable & scenic ride and to Mike for his legendary puncture repair skills!


  2. This, my first all day ride of 2012 after a rather lazy start to the year, was a challenge but exhilarating and combined with the great company to ride with, through beautiful countryside, has made me feel the better for it. After the best beer battered fish & chips I've had for a long time I look forward to further trips to the Chequers.
    Many thanks to Edwards and all my riding companions, especially Mike C., who is so often on hand with his amazingly fast mechanical repair skills.
    Michael B.