Thursday, 1 March 2012

1 Mar: Thursday ride to Lode and Newmarket

Edward wrotes: Well, what a day. A day for superlatives as we had huge numbers, gorgeous sunshine, little or no wind and for good measure beautiful Suffolk countryside. As we left Hauxton we had sixteen riders and during the day it was reckoned that at one time we had twenty-nine riders. It's not possible to say when each joined or when each left but it gives an indication of the popularity of the Thursday ride when perfect weather is added to the mix.


When we left Hauxton we headed out through Gt. Shelford and on to the DNA path to the hospital and then to Worts Causeway, past the beech-woods for the climb up to the Roman Road and down into Fulbourn. At the beginning the day had started cool and misty, but now the sun had broken through and that's how it stayed for the rest of the day. After Fulbourn we went through Gt and Lt Wilbraham before crossing the A1103 followed by the road into Bottisham and thence to Lode and Anglesey Abbey and our coffee stop.

Anglesey Abbey

At the Abbey our numbers grew considerably necessitating a two-group ride. This more or less sorted itself out as Eva had a puncture as we left the Abbey and Adrian was soon on hand to change the tube. This left us with the two groups, the first of about a dozen set off leaving the remainder to await the puncture repairs. We now reached Swaffham Bulbeck and took the quiet and safer route round the village thus avoiding the sharp bends in the village itself. Next up was Swaffham Prior where we turned left and took the road across the fen until we arrived in Reach and then Burwell.

Swaffham Prior

By now the temperature was nearly at its maximum for the day (16 degrees) and for cycling the conditions were almost perfect. We left Burwell on Heath Road but turned off to take an off-road stretch originally discovered by Jacob and has the added bonus of both a tree-lined bit plus great views as we approached Exning. This just left the way through Exning, into Newmarket via the racecourse and our lunch stop at the horse racing museum.

In view of our large numbers we thought we should split up, so some went to the museum for lunch and others went to a nearby cafe. At lunch there were more comings and goings, but as we were about to leave Jim had a puncture. It was therefore decided that one group should stay with Mick C and Jim whilst the puncture was repaired and the others would press on. Although this was the plan the events didn't quite match the plan, i.e. the two groups took separate routes home.

Swaffham Fen

The first group left Newmarket by going up to the clock tower followed by a seemingly endless climb on the road that leads to Saxon St and Kirkling. Although it was a steady climb, it hardly mattered as the views and the weather made for such a beautiful day. At times we had to stop and consult the map and we followed the route into Gt Bradley and then into Carlton followed by Brinkley.

Great Bradley

After all the climbs it was a relief to leave Brinkley followed by the fast descent into Six Mile Bottom and then Gt. Wilbraham. Some left us here to go back to Cambridge while the remainder went back to Hauxton on the same route as we had gone out in the morning. This gave a total of 59 miles. I understand that the second group came home by way of Woodditton, Balsham, Abington and Sawston and they, too, finished up with 59 miles.

On a more serious note it is difficult to organise such a large group and maybe we should, as Rupert suggests, look for an on-the-day volunteer to help the official leader by leading half of the group. Edward Elmer

Photo 4 by Lynn Brown

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1 comment:

  1. Yeay, super ride for most of day for me, but on leaving Lunch venue,discovered broken rear spoke,so went directly back home with wobbly wheel.Shelford cycle shop sold me spoke(3.15pm) but I found it slightly too short when I got home, so took wheel & spoke back(4.15pm)& the guy helpfully found & installed correct size free of charge! Home, spoke fully tightened & wheel reinstalled on bike(5.15pm).Michael B.