Edward writes: Incredible weather promised for today and this was certainly a promise kept. The Thursday group met as usual at Greta's who, sadly, was unable to join us, and that is such a shame as this would be a day for her to enjoy. Leadership today was a sort of joint enterprise between myself and Mick C. Today was also a pleasure to welcome back Zhiqing who joined us last week and also Sarah back from her sauna (sorry, holiday), Stuart who had cycled up from Stevenage and also Lynn making an appearance with the Thursday ride.
We therefore had thirteen cyclists as we left Hauxton and took the familiar ride out Duxford via Whittlesford and the crossing of the A505. En route Bob Billingham joined us and after Duxford it was to Ickleton and the long climb up Coploe Hill and our regular re-grouping point at the top of the hill.
Coploe Hill Summit
Whilst climbing the hill two Buzzards were noticed circling overhead. After a short break we now had the pleasure of the downhill swoops to Catmere End followed by Chestnut Avenue which had the benefit of the following wind.
This soon brought us to The Temeraire in Saffron Walden for the coffee stop where Doug, Mike B, Ian W and Mike S were already waiting for us. Coffee was hugely enjoyable sitting out on the patio with now bright sunshine and some lively chatter.
After the break we went into Saffron Walden and took the road to Radwinter which meant a fairly long, but wind assisted, climb out of the town. This soon brought us to Radwinter and then followed an interesting, but not universally popular, loop which took us to the north of Hempstead. Unfortunately, the road was wet and fairly muddy and consequently the bikes finished up quite filthy - ride leaders not popular! Dry roads soon followed and we came south again to Great Sampford which was followed by another detour, but not followed by everyone, but did have the advantage of being more or less traffic free, and this took us into Thaxted and lunch at The Swan which is opposite the church.
Such a large group obviously tested the bar staff, but they coped very well and a good lunch was soon served, many choosing the two for £10 option. We left Thaxted at about 1.50pm by going down the hill and taking the road which would eventually lead us to Henham. This crosses some very nice undulating countryside, made even more special by the rising temperatures and brilliant sunshine. Shortly after leaving Henham, Sarah incurred a puncture but Mick C was on hand and after a few minutes we were back on our way again.
By now some people were starting to drop away to make their own way home but the remainder went into Newport by way of the climb up to Widdington and down again. Here we left Zhiqing, who was tiring but nobly persevering, and Richard, who decided to take the train back home. The last of the day's riders made their way back via Wendons Ambo, Littlebury Green and then back to Hauxton the way we came out over Coploe Hill. The ride finished in Hauxton at about 4.10pm having covered 58 miles. Edward Elmer
More photos below. Photos 1-4 by Edward Elmer, photos 5-12 by Lynn Brown.
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