Ian writes: This afternoon's ride was to the Riverside Barns Cafe at Ickleton. The weather had been so atrocious in the morning that the day ride had to be cancelled. With the forecast set to improve, I was still happy to take a ride out tentatively. It just meant planning a route that was not too far away from Cambridge if it did turn out to be miserable.
Four other riders were intrepidly awaiting todays adventur'e at Brookside. After some fettling of waterproofs and overshoes, we headed off towards Barton in persistent but not especially heavy rain. The wind was mercifully calming down also.
From Barton we took the left to Haslingfield, turning left down New Road to the southern end of Harston (chance to bail and go home point no. 1). As it turned out, the rain was now down to a drizzle and the skies were looking brighter out towards Newton. So, we headed for the hills via Newton and Duxford.
At the far end of Duxford, we turned off down Grange Road and left again for the climb to Elmdon. By this time the rain had stopped. Small rivers were formed at the side of the road and at one point you could almost call the outflow from the fields a waterfall. The sheep and lambs seemed indifferent to the conditions, happily munching away at the nice green grass.
From Elmdon, we descended to tea to find the Riverside café somewhat more riverside than usual. The garden centre by the entrance was pumping flood water back into the river which was nearly bursting its banks. In spite of this, there was now blue sky visible and it was pleasant enough to sit outside with cake and coffee.
The high water levels left us with only one reasonable choice of route back to Cambridge: v the ford at Hinxton of course. There was 5 to 0 unanimous vote. The ford was in its full glory, with the water flooding the road and parts of the footpath for a couple of hundred yards either side of the river. One part appeared blocked. The first brave soul, Peter, made it through with just one soggy foot down. The second volunteer, Paul D, was not so lucky. His front wheel went down a hole, causing him to perform something that looked like a cross between triple toe loop and a Fosbury flop and end up sitting in ten inches of water. However by bow the remaining three of us could now see the best line to ride through the flood and so made it across without problem, though I can recommend Shimano gore-tex winter boots for their ability to remain dry inside despite being fully submerged.
It was now a simple journey via the Shelfords back to town. Mike K had a visit from the Punc**re fairy, so I waited with him while he repaired it, arriving back at Cambridge at about 6.30pm. In total, I had 37 miles on the clock. Ian Driver