Nigel writes: Today was overcast and cool: unpromising weather for my full first day's cycling for a couple of months. Perhaps as a result there were only seven of us at Brookside, including Phil our leader for today, ably accompanied by Linda. Phil led us swiftly out of Cambridge down Mill Road, along the Tins path, through Cherry Hinton and on to Fulbourn. Here we started the long climb east up to Balsham.
From Balsham we dropped down and climbed back up to West Wickham before turning north to Carlton Green where we turned east once more for the lovely lane that leads to Little Thurlow.
From Little Thurlow a further narrow lane took us to the A143 which we followed for a short distance past the prisons before stopping for morning coffee at Tubby T's cafe. Here we found Adrian and after a few minutes were joined by Vic.
Tubby T's is a popular motorcyclists' cafe, serving hearty fried meals. Outside in the car park was a police information stall promoting safe motorcycling. I mentioned to someone that if they were really interested in the welfare of motorcyclists they should also be warning them of the perils of eating too many full English breakfasts...
After coffee we continued on towards our Lunch stop. We continued east along the A143 for a further mile or so before turning right towards Denston.
We passed through Denston and turned south towards Poslingfield and a series of quiet country roads that took us eventually to Clare.
We rode through Clare and continued through Ovington and Tilbury Juxta Clare to Great Yeldingham. Here we joined the A1017 south for three miles to Sible Hedingham, where we stopped for a rather early lunch at the Corner Cafe.
I always enjoy havng lunch here: the food is cheap. the portions are very large, and the proprietor always seems pleased to see us. Whilst we were eating we were joined by John S.
It was only just after 1.30pm when we set off again. Phil's route took us west along yet more tiny little lanes to Toppesfield.
We continued west through Stambourne towards Steeple Bumpstead.
We continued to Helions Bumpstead and the loop via Olmstead Green to Ashdon, where we arrived a little after 3pm for a rather early tea at the Ashdon Village Museum. The cafe here is always a club favourite, with good-value cakes of very high quality. I sat outside with the others and enjoyed a very fine spicy apple cake. I has just finished eating when Pete H arrived with a large group of cyclists on the afternoon ride. In addition Doug and David W turned up, apparently doing their own ride today. With so many people arriving it seemed rude to depart so I ordered a second cake and joined them.
After tea we returned back to Cambridge. As usual we split into various groups for the final leg home. Jacob suggested a direct but off-road route along the Roman Road which appealed to several people, whilst Pete and I suggested a leisurely loop via Saffron Walden and had half a dozen takers. The remainder set off in ones and twos in various directions.
My group climbed out of Ashdon before dropping back down into Saffron Walden. We continued past Audley End House to the B1363 before turning onto Chestnut Avenue, the long, gentle and attractive climb to Catmere End and the long descent over Coploe Hill to Ickleton.
At Ickleton Pete suggested we go via Hinxton to see whether the flooding that he had encountered on our Sunday afternoon ride on 29th April had gone down. When we reached the ford there was no longer any flooding but the river was still in full spate. As usual we rode over the footbridge rather than risk slipping over in the green slimy ford.
From here it was just a case of riding the familar last few miles through Duxford, Whittlesford and the Shelfords back to Cambridge. There was a bit of headwind and I was beginning to flag, but there wasn't far to go now and I arrived home at 6.45pm, having cycled 82 miles.
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