Peter writes: This was the first time I had done a full "day ride" with the group. About a dozen of us were at Brookside on a bright and sunny morning. Averil led us out along the guided busway, then turned west out of Shelford to bring us down to Chrishall Grange and along the back lanes into Ickleton. We arrived at the Riverside Café at around 10.20, and a steady stream of riders joined us over the next half hour to enjoy a drink and snack by the water in real summer weather (I even wore my sun hat!)
After coffee several independent groups set off either back to Cambridge or onwards. I joined the main group with Averil going to lunch at Thaxted. As we came into the village we passed the church where there was a fete with morris dancers in full swing. Lunch was at Poppy’s Tea Rooms.
After lunch it had clouded over and cooled off a bit, which made it very pleasant cycling conditions as we threaded our way through single track lanes over farmland towards Braughing. By this time the pace had increased and our moving average on this leg was well over 13mph. We arrived at Braughing village hall at a little after 3pm, knowing that we still 25 miles plus to get home. Sunday afternoon tea was in full swing with the ladies from the church serving drinks and home baked cakes. We all agreed that the lemon cake in particular was excellent. There were second hand books and stuff on sale and some of us left with rather heavier bags than we arrived!
Outside I realised my bike was parked "illegally", but thankfully nobody had taken exception. We took the direct B road back towards Cambridge, which was very pleasant as there was little traffic, and the pace heated up yet again – the 13 miles to Fowlmere went by in less than 45 minutes. As we passed Fowlmere I started to feel rather tired (approaching the longest day ride of my life) and my knee was a little uncomfortable, so when Phil went to the front of group and raised the speed yet again I decided that I wouldn’t try to keep up. I stopped for a snack and drink at Newton, and then finished the journey back into Cambridge at a more leisurely speed (with no more knee problems), enjoying the surroundings. The poppies on the DNA path were magnificent, and the field on the busway south of Long Road even more so.
As I rode through the back streets from the Fort St George bridge to home, my computer ticked over onto 80 miles, and I finally drew up outside the house at 5.55pm. Longest ride I have ever recorded for a day. Average moving speed on the computer was 13.8mph, so also pretty fast. Great day out – weather, scenery, company. I’ll do it again sometime. Peter Hutchison