Julia writes: This Saturday morning was rather cool for May, but at least it was dry, which seems to be a rare treat recently. So I was somewhat surprised that we were only five cyclists setting off from Brookside just after 10.00 am: new member Peter, guest riders Angela and Chris, Ian W. and myself.
Planning a route for this ride had not been difficult as are really only two options for getting to our coffee stop destination in Bourn - it would be either a clockwise loop going out along Barton Road, or anti clockwise and returning that way, which is what I had decided to do. The skies looked quite dark and threatening towards the west, which is where we headed along the Coton footpath after having negotiated the busy city centre, but it never actually started to rain. We crossed the M11, cycled through Coton village and then on to Madingley, passing the windmill on the way.
Opposite the entrance to Madingley Hall, we turned left up the hill to rejoin the cycle way along St Neots Road. This part of the route along the main road isn't really one of my favourites as I never find it that inspiring. But in our small group we made good progress, and the now plentiful dandelion flowers provided a welcome splash of colour.
We followed the road almost until Cambourne, turning off left onto Broadway. When we reached the downhill section just before Bourn, it was just after 11 o'clock and so I decided we would have time to do the extra little loop via Caxton End to inspect the fords. These are usually very minor streams crossing the road in two places, but I expected them to be somewhat more spectacular after all the rain we had over the past few weeks. Ian didn't fancy the idea of getting his feet wet, so he went straight on to meet us on the other side, while the rest of us turned right onto Caxton Road and then left onto Caxton End.
It wasn't long before we found the first bit of flooding: just after the turn onto Caxton End, there was a small hole in the road from which water emerged like from a spring. It formed just a narrow little stream running down the side of the road, so it wasn't a problem. At the ford itself, however, the water was quite a bit higher than usual, flooding stretches of the road either side which are normally dry. It looked quite deep in the middle, so we stopped and wondered whether to cross it or not. Peter and Chris eventually decided to go for it, and made quite a splash as they cycled through the almost hub-deep water - crossing safely, but reporting wet feet as they reached the other side.
This was enough to put me and Angela off the idea, so we decided to bypass the ford on the footpath. We arrived at Abantu Café around 11:30 am and sat outside to enjoy our coffee, tea and cakes. A family with two horses arrived soon after us, and being a horse lover myself, I had a brief chat with them.
Before we left, I decided to inspect the little boutique shop next to the café, which I had not noticed on previous visits. I found out that it had opened in October last year, is called Revelare and specialises in pre-loved vintage, designer and retro clothing and accessories. I managed to not be tempted by all the beautiful dresses, hats and jewellery (for now), but I did buy an almost new pair of summer shoes. With these stashed away in my pannier, we finally set off and rode back to Cambridge, along the usual route via Toft, Comberton and Barton. The weather had brightened up a bit during the course of the morning, and we even had a bit of sunshine on the final stretch.
We arrived back in Cambridge around 1.00pm, having cycled approximately 22 miles. Julia Hochbach