Sunday, 4 March 2012

4 Mar: Morning ride to Horseheath

Nigel writes: The recent spell of fine weather seems to have ended, and today the forecast was for a day of steady rain. However at 9am this morning it was no more than light drizzle, which I decided would allow me to have a short ride to coffee and back. I arrived at Brookside to find four other riders waiting: Mick, our leader for today, Pete, Lynn and Zhiqing.

We set off south down Trumpington Road to Long Road and from there to Addenbrooke's. I had wondered whether Mick had been heading for the DNA path but no, we continued along Robinson Way to Red Cross Lane, crossed over Hills Road, and set off up Wort's Causeway to Fulbourn.

When we reached Fulbourn Mick apologetically announced that we would be taking the road to Fulbourn. This is a long straight road which is level as far as the A11 junction and then climbs steadily to Balsham. This isn't the most interesting of roads, but today the main issue was the steady headwind which made today's ascent a relatively slow one.

After a short while we reached Balsham, where we paused briefly before continuing. It was still raining, but it was still light drizzle rather than anything worse.

From Balsham we dropped down the hill and then climbed back up to West Wickham. From here it was downhill all the way to Horseheath, where we stopped for coffee at The Old Red Lion.

We are always made welcome here and well-catered for, and today was no exception, with tea, coffee and a tray of cakes waiting for us. Brian M was already there, and when we mentioned to the landlord that there was only half a dozen of us he didn't seem to mind.

Whilst drinking our coffee we discussed what to do next. There was general agreement that with the rain expected to continue all day we would all head back to Cambridge. Mick suggested taking a roundabout way home via Saffron Walden and, with the rain still little more than drizzle, four of us agreed to join him, leaving Brian to make his own way back.

We crossed over the A1307 and continued through Cardinal's Green, Mill Green and Shudy Camps to Bartlow.

At Bartlow we turned south to Ashdon and Saffron Walden. I briefly contemplated suggesting we stop for lunch in Saffron Walden but sensed that everyone was keen to get home before the weather deteriorated. From Saffron Walden our route took us Audley End, where I went ahead to capture photos of today's intrepid riders.

From Audley End we climbed Chestnut Avenue to Catmere End and the long switchback descent to Ickleton. This is one of my favourite descents, but today the pleasure was somewhat offset by the facts that it had now started to rain quite heavily and a cold headwind had picked up.

The way home from Ickleton was easy enough, through Duxford, Whittlesford and the Shelfords, but it was now raining quite hard and we were all beginning to get wet and, in consequence, cold.

The final miles were rather uncomfortable - my gloves are not waterproof and became soaking wet and my fingers were beginning to tingle with the cold. So it was with some relief that we didn't have far to go. I arrived home at 2.40pm, wet and cold, having cycled 47 miles in some of the most uncomfortable weather conditions I had experienced on a club ride for quite a few years. (It could have been worse: within about an hour of my arrival home it began to snow).

View this GPS track on a larger map


  1. Yes, it was wet, but I thoroughly enjoyed all but the last few miles when the rain got to my toes and they started to get cold! I arrived home with a big grin on my face. Thanks for leading Mick!


  2. Oh yes, it was a good ride: I never get back home from a ride and think "I wish I'd stayed at home today".

  3. Well done brave souls. Reminds me of many rides i have done when i lived up north.


    1. Due to a homework / HP printer issue I left home very late and went straight to Finchingfield. There via Camps and Spains Hall was damp, but OK. I was "Johnny No Mates" in the cafe watching the rains build. On the way back it was rain like a car wash in Radwinter, then sleet in Linton and snow in Sawston. Hands and feet frozen numb. You made the right call by missing lunch! John S who will show up as anonymous as he is not configured.