Thursday, 5 January 2012

5 Jan: Thursday ride to Saffron Walden

Rupert writes: Today was the sort of day that sorts the men from the boys (& girls). A rather strong and gusting wind and a threat of rain led to a mass "stay-at-home" today. Only three of the tougher nuts - David, Rupert and Mick - turned up at Haslingfield Green for today's ride. I won't embarrass the other regular Thursday riders by mentioning them by name...

Now three people is a bit of an awkward number. Just one and you can go home and nobody needs to know. Two requires a bit of collaboration. Three means you have a critical mass and a decision takes a bit longer. So we retired to David's house for a quick coffee to plan a new bad-weather route. We decided to head off to Saffron Walden, hoping to avoid too much of a battle with the westerly wind. It turned out to be a reasonably good decision: the sun came out and the roads were mostly OK. There were a few fallen branches and some big puddles but no major problems.

We took a fairly direct route via Newton, Whittlesford and Hinxton hoping for a second coffee at Ickleton, but were disappointed to find the cafe still closed (it reopens tomorrow). So we took the farm track over to the Coploe Hill road: this section was one of our few hard battles with the wind. But once on the road we had an easier ride and the usual great views as we headed through Catmere End and down into Saffron Walden. Here we were caught out by one of the unwritten club rules ("never visit the same lunch stop two weeks in a row") so we had to re-locate from the Temeraire to the Mocha cafe for a pleasant brunch. It seemed that our good luck was holding: we were inside during one of the few heavy showers.

Then back on the bikes to head back via Little Walden, Hadstock, Linton and Abingdon. The footpath across from Abingdon to Babraham gave us one of our few problems. The path was wet and slippery which made for difficult riding with the strong cross wind. David got caught out and slipped off taking a suitably dramatic tumble. So dramatic that I half-expected him to put his hand up and demand a penalty kick (thinking premier-league footballers here). But thankfully, no serious damage to man or bike.

Overall, I cycled a respectable 47 miles. Given the wind it felt like a bit more. But a good ride: well worth staying out to enjoy the best of an unpromising day. Rupert Goodings


  1. Glad you were all able to enjoy a ride - sorry, wind was too much for me to join you and still feeling weak & bloated from Christmas excesses. Only managed an extremely feeble ride on my own today as compensation, hardly ten miles, despite lovely sunshine. Hopefully back to strength next week. To Edward E.- if you read this, Ed, do hope you are recovered from your debilitating illness.
    Michael B.

  2. As one of the other fairly regular Thursday riders I congratulate Rupert, Mike and David for braving the elements. Unfortunately my priority was knocking a small wall down at our new house, otherwise I would have been there of course.
    Bill P.