Conrad writes: Three other cyclists (Richard, Li and James) joined me at Cambridge Rail Station at the earlier time of 0840 hours to catch the 0905 train to King's Lynn for this morning's train-assisted all day ride. The weather was ominous with dark clouds and strong southerly winds, so I was not surprised to find a smaller than usual turnout. As it happened, the group was an ideal size as we could make use of the very generous group discount of 50% for a party of four.
We arrived at King's Lynn just before 10am. Instead of having coffee at the train station, I had planned to lead the ride to Castle Rising to the north-west where I had found a charming tea room during my recce ride a few weeks earlier. Then, I had taken the intuitive route to Castle Rising which involved following the main A148 road, but Richard pointed out that there was a quieter cycle route that started in the opposite direction but would eventually lead to Castle Rising through several pleasant parks.
We were about a mile away from Castle Rising when the heavens opened and I experienced one of the heaviest downpours in my short time riding with the CTC. Thankfully, the Unique tea room was close by and we had cake, coffee, and some bacon sandwiches while waiting for the rain to stop.
We also had time to walk around part of the castle grounds, or at least the part that afforded us some view of the castle without us having to pay the admission fee.
From Castle Rising, we retraced our route back to King's Lynn. From there, it was a matter of cycling through the relatively quiet side streets, using the cycle path to negotiate a very large roundabout and then joining the NCR 1 route just before the Power Station. From here, it was just a case of following the blue cycle signs. We made good progress through Watlington and Downham Market, where we went through a very narrow off-road section to reach a cycle-bridge that got us across the main road into Denver.
At Denver, we passed the still-functioning windmill (if you are ever there, stop to try out their bread), the giant sluice before reaching the lunch stop at Jenyn's Arms where we found Brian M and Daniel waiting for us.
After lunch, we cycled to Ten Mile Bank, where we left NCR11 and went to Ely via Littleport instead. At Ely, we rejoined the NCR11 along the river and reached Wicken just before 4. We were soon joined by a large contingent of veteran cyclists and the afternoon ride. After 30 minutes, we returned to Cambridge via the well-trodden and, in this case, very muddy route through Wicken Nature reserve and the fens.
We covered 65 miles, making this one of the shorter all-day rides of the year. I recommend this ride to anyone, like myself, who is leading an all-day ride for the first time, or anyone looking to make the transition from the afternoon ride to the all-day ride. Conrad Chua
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