Wednesday, 25 July 2012

25 Jul: Evening ride to St Ives

Nigel writes: Today was probably the second-hottest of the year so far, with temperatures of up to 28 C in the afternoon. Fortunately the evening brought more comfortable weather and a pleasing cool breeze. This evening's riders were Paul, Neil, Gareth, Tiia, John E, Steve, James and me, with a promise from Simon P that he would join us at Orchard Park. Our destination this evening was St Ives, which we would ride to along the busway cycleway.

The worst part of any ride along the busway cycleway is the ride across northern Cambridge to get onto it. The route we took from Brookside this evening took us through the City Centre, up Castle Hill and along Histon Road to Orchard Park. We rode along the cyclepaths around the edge of the estate until we reached the busway, where Simon was waiting.

I think next time I might be tempted to skip the diversion around Orchard Park and join the cycleway at Histon (which Steve did this eveing).

We followed the busway cycleway all the way to St Ives. As usual this was smooth, fast and uneventful. It was sunny and very warm, and the cycleway was quite busy with other cyclists. A slight headwind slowed our progress slightly, but I was grateful for its cooling effect.

We reached St Ives at almost exactly 7.30pm. This gave us ample time for a loop to Houghton Mill and back before stopping for a drink. We took the Thicket Path to Houghton (picture below), crossed the River Ouse at the mill and then returned through Hemingford Abbots and Hemingford Gray to St Ives.

We were back in St Ives at 8.25pm. It was now time to stop for a drink at The Golden Lion, a large pub in the middle of the town.

The pub had a good menu and several of us ordered food. The menu including two types of chips: twice cooked hand-cut chips for £3.50 (left) or skinny fries for £2.50 (right).

Although this pub is a bit characterless it is comfortable and efficient and I think just fine for a quick refreshment stop on a ride like this. After we had finished our drinks and snacks we all returned back to Cambridge the same way we had come, along the busway cycleway. The pace on the return journey was fast (these evening rides seem to be getting faster in recent weeks). Tiia was at the front for the first few miles but then Simon and Gareth made a breakaway and sped past, I decided to join them and hang on behind. Simon was on a fixed-gear so we rode at a constant 22mph almost all the way back to Cambridge (except when crossing side roads, of course). I arrived home at 9.50pm, having cycled 37 miles - an excellent distance for an evening ride.

View this GPS track on a larger map

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