Thursday, 30 August 2012

30 Aug:Thursday ride to Clavering Lakes and Green Tye

Edward writes: This Thursday ten cyclists met in Haslingfield under grey skies following a cool night. Today’s leader was Tony H and we left Haslingfield by way of Harston before going over the railway and the hill into Newton. The breeze was quite stiff from the west and slightly against us. Following Newton we went into Thriplow and went the long way round the village before reaching Fowlmere. Next followed the long run out to Flint Cross on the A505 and then the long climb up to Barley. In Barley we re-grouped, having become strung out climbing the hill into the village. By now the weather had deteriorated and the first of the day’s many showers was in progress.

In Barley we turned left and went via Shaftenhoe End to Little Chishill and then on the quiet and attractive route through Langley Lower Green and on to Clavering and the Lakes which was to be our coffee stop. At coffee we were joined by Doug, Peter W and Mike S and during our break the rain became more persistent.

Clavering Lakes

We left the Lakes after the rain had stopped and after the usual coming and going of personnel. Our route took us via Stocking Pelham and on to Clapgate and then to Little Hadham.

Little Hadham

After coffee there was a noticeable change in the wind direction and it seemed to be coming from just north of west hence our progress to Little Hadham was fairly fast. Needless to say we had a long wait at the traffic lights on the A120 in Little Hadham but they finally let us through and we travelled the short distance to Much Hadham where we turned off the main road and it was but a short distance to Green Tye and the Prince of Wales pub.

Green Tye

Despite the weather we all sat outside in the pub garden and some had sandwiches whilst others ordered food from the pub. When it was time to leave it was dry but this didn’t last long and we were forced to shelter from heavy rain. We retraced our steps back to Much Hadham and the B1004 but this time we branched off to the left and made for Sandon. During this period the weather was being particularly unpleasant and the temperature had dropped to 13 degrees to add to our woes with the rain. As the wind had changed with a bit more north in it the wind was mainly in our faces.

Sheltering from the rain

Despite all this we pressed on and arrived in Sandon which was quickly followed by Puckeridge and the B1368 and the road home. We followed the B1368 all the way back to Fowlmere where we said goodbye to Mike S and then Newton where David and Sarah left us to go back to Haslingfield and the rest of us went back to Great Shelford where the ride ended.

Little Shelford library

Despite all the weather threw at us we all enjoyed the day out and particular thanks to Tony for devising the route showing once again the value of researching the route beforehand. We did 57 miles. Edward Elmer

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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

29 Aug: Evening ride to Newton

Nigel writes: Today was dull and rainy, but at around 6pm the rain stopped and the sun came out, allowing this evening's ride to begin in bright sunshine. Also on the ride today was Mike K, John F, Paul, Neil and Rob, making six in total. We set off south along Trumpington Road before turning onto the busway cycleway to Addenbrooke's.

We continued on the DNA path to Great Shelford where we turned onto the road through Little Shelford to Whittlesford, Duxford and Ickleton. Although it was sunny and bright we were riding into a brisk and cold headwind. We climbed Coploe Hill and stopped for the usual photo.

After Coploe Hill we carried on to Catmere End and a loop via Littlebury Green and Chrishall before returning north - and with the wind behind us at last - to Chrishall Grange, Fowlmere and Newton. With the nights drawing in rapidly it was beginning to get quite dark for the final few miles. We arrived at the Queen's Head in Newton at about 8.35pm, where we were reunited with Paul and John who had left us in Ickleton to take slightly shorter routes to the pub.

After a pleasant half hour enjoying drinks and consuming the pub's famous brown soup we returned back to Cambridge via Harston, Trumpington P&R and the busway cycleway again. It was now quite dark, allowing those of us with extra-bright lights to get our money's worth. I arrived back home at 9.45pm, having cycled 34 miles.

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Thursday, 23 August 2012

23 Aug: Thursday ride to Linton and Stradishall

We have two reports today, one from Edward, our regular Thursday blogger and one from John, today's leader.

Edward writes: This Thursday fourteen riders assembled in Hauxton, many of whom arrived early enough to say hello to Greta as she looks forward to these Thursday mornings and a chance to see all her friends. Today we were in the care of John F who was to lead us on an extremely rural route with many twists and turns and taking many of us along roads we had not previously explored.

The beginning, of course, could only be out of Hauxton and along to Whittlesford and then to the cycle ways through Sawston and then to Babraham where we took the track through the farm and up to cycle bridge. This gave us an opportunity to regroup and telephone to Joseph who had kindly agreed to provide teas and coffee for us.

Footbridge between Babraham and Abington

From the cycle bridge we turned into a quiet Gt. Abington, over the A1307 and via Hildersham and thence into Linton where we found Joseph poised with his kettles. By now the temperature had risen and it was very warm in Joseph’s garden. Not only did we get drinks but Joseph had made a cake for us and so we had a very enjoyable half-hour of good hospitality.

Coffee at Joseph's

It was soon time to move on and by now, just like the Pied Piper, our numbers had increased to eighteen. On leaving Linton we crossed the A1307 to gain the road to Bartlow followed by the long, but not too steep, ride up to Castle Camps. After the Camps we soon found ourselves in Helions Bumpstead and here John introduced the first of his loops to take us on quiet rides, which the Thursday group at least, haven’t very often ventured. This certainly made for a very enjoyable morning’s ride, especially as the south west wind was predominately in our favour. After negotiating some farm traffic we got through to Sturmer, followed by Kedington. At this time of the year it’s not unexpected to see so much farm traffic on the roads and when one looks at the fields to see how quickly the harvest is coming in we realise how fast the season is changing. Already some fields are being prepared for their next crop.

In the country

Farm traffic

From Kedington it was more rural exploration as we went via Brockley Green and Hundon and then over the A143 to Farley Green and a loop round back to Stardishall and Tubby T’s for our lunch stop.

Lunch at Tubby T’s, Stradishall

As usual lunch was a mixture of people eating sandwiches, others bought from Tubby T and some others went to the next door fish and chip shop. These weren’t the only treats on offer as Sarah had made us a Victoria plumb sponge crumble cake which she had carried round with her and of course it was all eaten. The Thursday group certainly know how to live high.

Sadly it was time to move on and we left Tubby Ts and went via Cowlinge, Mill End and up to Kirkling, again through a maze of country lanes. After Kirkling it was Woodditton and Stetchworth and now it was all downhill and once again into familiar territory. Next was Dullingham followed by the sweep down past the Polo Club, over the A1304 and and the A11 into Swaffham Bulbeck where we took the road into Bottisham. This enabled us to join the cycle path alongside Newmarket Road where we carried along to the turning to Fen Ditton. At this point the group split, the Cambridge going through Fen Ditton and along the river and the South Cambridgeshire group going via Cherry Hinton. In central cambridge this made a ride of 62 miles and our thanks are due to John for devising such a good route, made possible by a good deal of research. This was certainly a ride for the Thursday scrapbook. Edward Elmer

John adds: Fourteen cyclists met in Greta's immaculate garden for le grand départ. We were all pleased to see Greta becoming increasingly mobile. In perfect cycling weather we set off to Joseph's house at Linton for coffee, tea and scrumptious home-made cakes in his sun-trap garden. Thence, numbers having increased to about 18, we re-crossed the deadly A1307 to Bartlow, into Essex through the Bumpsteads and crossed the A1017 at Sturmer into Suffolk and on to Stradishall via Keddington and Hundon. The route crosses and re-crosses the splendid Stour valley through magnificent countryside now showing its Autumn face with many cornfields in stubble. Having crossed the A143 we reached Tubby's passing "the Old Bakehouse" at Farley Green. Who were its customers in such an isolated spot?

Tubby's, eerily devoid of its usual leather-clad bikers, was bathed in glorious sunshine where we enjoyed an al fresco lunch including a special treat of Sara's home-made crumble. Shouldn't the CTC have a prize for home-cooking? We returned to Cambridge through the weirdly pronounced Cowlinge and the horsey villages of Stetchworth, Dullingham and Swaffham Prior. My home-to-home distance was about 69 miles. John Ferguson

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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

22 Aug: Evening ride to Quy

Nigel writes: I felt a few drops of rain as I made my way to Brookside for this evening's ride, but the sun soon came back out and we were treated to yet another warm, sunny evening. At Brookside I found Gareth, Swidbert, Steve, Mike K, Tiia, Rob and Paul. After the usual route discussion we decided to head east for a loop via Six Mile Bottom and Dullingham.

We set off south-east out of Cambridge along Hills Road to Addenbrooke's where we turned off onto Wort's Causeway for the ride over the Gogs to Fulbourn.

We continued through the Wilbrahams to Six Mile Bottom. The pace was fast, with Gareth and Swidbert leading a small peloton at a speed that was just slightly too rapid for several of us. After Six Mile Bottom Gareth went on ahead at his own speed and for the rest of us the pace moderated somewhat.

We climbed Chilly Hill to Wadlow Farm where we turned left and then left again onto the lovely undulating lane that runs north-east to Dullingham.

At Dullingham we turned left towards Swaffham Bulbeck, though when we reached the level crossing at Dullingham Station we were forced to wait for five minutes for the 1959 to Harwich International to arrive, decant passengers, and depart. Also waiting was a large group from Cambridge Triathlon Club.

We arrived at the White Swan at Quy at 8.30pm exactly. Gareth was already sitting outside with his drink: he had reached the pub five minutes earlier. We ordered beers and crisps and sat outside for half an hour, drinking and chatting. The sun had set at 8.08pm so it rapidly became dark.

Afterwards we returned to Cambridge. Perhaps for the first time this summer the ride back from the pub was on total darkness. However we didn't have far to go, and I arrived back home at 9.40pm, having cycled 34 miles.

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Sunday, 19 August 2012

19 Aug: All-day ride to Ickleton, Clavering Lakes and Braughing

Paul writes: I arrived at Brookside on a slightly hazy but hot day at 8.55 to find Freya, a new prospective member sitting alone. Freya had done one Saturday ride accompanied by her father but wished to ride faster and further than he did. As no one else had arrived by 9.05 we set off to the appointed stops via Barton, Haslingfield, Newton, Thriplow, Fowlmere, Chrishall Grange and Ickleton to the Riverside café for coffee. During this part of the journey we met several cycling clubs as well as solo and pairs of cyclists.

John B also called for coffee but photography was his calling for the rest of the day. We also had coffee with three other cyclists from villages south west of Cambridge who were keen to learn more about our club and hopefully will join us in the near future. Still the two of us Freya and I tackled familiar hills against a moderate southerly breeze going via Coploe to Catmere End, Littlebury Green past Clanverend Farm to Arkesden, bypassing Wicken Bonhunt to Rickling before turning south to Clavering and the Clavering Lakes lunch stop. Still no more members on bikes but one who was having a days fishing! The morning had been hot but not oppressive due to the breeze. We even had a brief moderate shower during lunch, enough to encourage us to move inside but not enough to stop the combine cutting wheat across the lake.

We then had a navigational conundrum as my PDA stopped and I was short of the Luton map needed to find Braughing for tea. Fortunately my intuition got us to tea via Roast Green, Meesden Bury, Brent Pelham. From here we tried to go via Hartham Common and a white road to Furneux Pelham via ford. This proved impassable even on foot with water filling the road to indeterminable depth. Backtracking via Stocking Pelham we per chance passed a finger board to Braughing and so learned we were going in the right direction. A local lady pointed us to the village hall for tea arriving at 3.15, 42 miles from Brookside and 75 minutes early, time we used to relax and enjoy the abundance of cakes and pots of tea.

About 4 pm we were joined by Stuart who had soloed from Cambourne and eventually, almost on time, Mike led his team of 3 from the pm ride into a welcome break.

All 6 returned together with the benefit of a tail wind via Hare Street, Brent Pelham (having missed the narrow lane in Great Hormead to Ansty), Langley, Duddenhoe End, Elmdon, Ickleton, Duxford and Shelford. A total distance Oakington- Oakington of 85 miles.

The membership of the group was interesting with only two currently regular active members, two members active ca. 20 years ago and two teenagers, Callum and Freya. Hopefully we will have the pleasure of their company again in the near future. Paul Dover

19 Aug: Ride from Rutland Water (car-assisted)

Joseph writes: 11 cyclists made the journey to Rutland water for today's car-assisted ride. It takes about an hour and a half to get to Rutland, depending on your speed. It is an easy drive, up the A14 and A1. Rutland water is the largest, by area, man-made reservoir in the UK. It was completed in 1975 by damming and flooding part of the Gwash valley. Two small villages were lost, whilst Upper Hambleton survived. It lies on a peninsula on the western side of the lake. There is a 25 mile track, for walkers and cyclists, that circumnavigates the lake. There are several visitor centres with a variety of facilities, so you can choose where you start your ride. The track itself is reasonably flat with gentle rises all the way round. The area around Rutland, however, is very hilly and a good challenge if you are used to the flat lands of Cambridge.

The day began misty as we left Cambridge, but that quickly cleared and gave way to a gorgeous early morning with the promise of another very hot day in store. We parked at the Whitwell centre, where the main shop of Rutland Cycling is sited. Everyone assembled for a 9:30 start. As always, some made their own way and some car-shared. We started by following the cycle track in a clockwise direction. There are great views of the lake from the start. We cycled over the dam at the Eastern end of the lake and then stopped to look to have a look at the Normanton church museum. Originally a private estate church, it was deconsecrated in 1970 and threatened with demolition when the valley was flooded. However, after a public outcry, it was saved by filling the lower half with rubble and raising the floor to window level. It now houses a museum recording the history of Rutland water.

After another mile we stopped for our first coffee stop of the day at Edith Weston, having cycled four miles! There is never any hurry on these rides, and lots of cafe stops.

After coffee, we continued along the cycle track for two miles before leaving the track and heading south through Lyndon down a long steep hill to Wing.

At Wing there is a turf maze, said to date from medieval times. It is very similar to the Hilton maze. By now the terrain had become quite hilly and the lower gears could be put to use. We rode from wing to Preston and Ridlington. At Ridlington we took our first bit of off-road. Having slipped to the back we came down another hill to find that David S had had a tumble on a partially obscured speed bump. Having picked himself up and inspected the damage, the bike was fine, we carried on to Braunston-in-Rutland.

By now we were feeling the full heat of the day, and it was hot work climbing up the hills. Adrian had warned the pub we were coming, so we carried on to Knossington and Owston before finally reaching our lunch stop at Burrough on the hill. As it turned out it didn't matter that we were late, the pub was open all day. Many drinks were purchased, and everyone sat down with some relief. Food consisted of pork cobs and cheesy chips! The food was very good, and very reasonably priced. The staff were very friendly and the pub was a very nice venue indeed, well done Adrian.

We took our time, while we cooled down, and finally left shortly after 3 O'clock. Despite a few rumbles of thunder and some dark clouds during lunch, the weather stayed dry and the clouds soon cleared. We started with a nice bit of downhill and then rode past Burrough hill fort, a well preserved iron age hill fort, a significant landmark in the area. We also passed a group of people in a field making music. We weren't quite sure what was going on, but speculated that it was some kind of pagan ritual! We carried on to Little Dalby and then over the A606. Next we reached the rail line from Melton Mowbray to Oakham, and had to wait at a rare manned crossing whilst the wooden gates were opened for us.

We carried on to Wymondham and arrived at our next stop. Here there is a disused windmill, tearooms, craft centre and Bike shop! We found out about the place because Mick C had visited recently to try out Bianchi bikes. We had afternoon tea and scones in the afternoon sunshine. It was still warm, but bearable.

It was now time to make our way back to Rutland. We rode through Edmondthorpe, Teigh and Barrow and on to Cottesmore. Nearby are Barnsdale gardens, home to Gardener's world and Geoff Hamilton for many years. Next we rode a short bit of off-road to Exton and then back to Whitwell where we had to wait a while to cross the busy A606.

We got back to the visitor centre at about 6 O'clock and found John and Vic taking it easy in the sunshine. It was still very hot and we took our time to purchase drinks and cool down before the drive back to Cambridge. The drive back was uneventful and I got back to Linton at about 8'Oclock. Many thanks to Adrian for organising another great day out, and thanks to everyone who came for providing good company. Total mileage on bike: 48 miles. Joseph Sugg

Photos by Adrian Lee

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

15 Aug: Evening ride to Barton

Nigel writes: This evening's ride to Barton attracted four riders: Rob, Steve, John E and me. Perhaps the others thought the dark sky at 6pm heralded rain. if they did they were mistaken: the clouds soon disappeared and we enjoyed a warm, and sunny, if breezy, evening.

We set off south out of Cambridge along the busway cycleway and DNA path to Great Shelford. From here we continued south through Stapleford to Sawston, where we turned west onto the new cycleway to Whittlesford.

At Whittlesford we turned north-west to Newston and Harston. Part-way along this road we stopped and turned into a field. Steve led us to a small concrete structure with a metal hatch on top.

Steve lifted up the hatch - to my surprise it wasn't locked - and we peered in: a metal ladder led down to an underground chamber below.

Apparently this is a Royal Observer Corps Monitoring Post from the Cold War. It would have been easy to climb down, but cycling in the sunshine was a more attractive prospect and we were soon back on our way.

We continued north-west through Haslingfield, Harlton and the Eversdens to Kingston where we turned back east for the final few miles to Barton where we stopped at the White Horse. It now 8.20pm and still light, though the sun was just about to set. We sat outside in the gathering gloom consuming beer and chips before returning back in the dark to Cambridge. I arrived home at 9.30pm, having cycled 30 miles.

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Rides in September and October

The September and October rides lists are now available. September started with very successful day of Audax rides on 2nd September.

After all that excitement our normal Sunday rides continue, with a good selection of tea stops including two home teas to brighten those autumn evenings. We must surely be due for a nice dry autumn this year so we can enjoy their garden teas!

Thursday rides continue as normal, with the replacement leader service doing a great job of exploring new routes to old destinations. And Wednesday evening rides and Saturday morning rides continue until the clocks change at the end of October.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

12 Aug: All-day ride to Debden, Long Melford and West Wratting

Nigel writes: Today was what August days are meant to be like: hot, dry and sunny. The prospect of a lovely day's cycling - and no doubt the expectation of a lovely tea afterwards - brought more than a dozen riders to Brookside for the start of today's all-day ride. Mick was our leader today, and he led us south out of Cambridge, first along the busway cycleway to Addenbrooke's and then along the DNA path to Great Shelford.

We continued along the familar route south through Little Shelford, Whittlesford, Duxford, Ickleton and over Coploe Hill to Catmere End. But I suspect few of us noticed these places: as always, the first couple of hours of today's ride was a very sociable affair, with everyone chatting to everyone else and catching up with each others' news as we rode along.

After Catmere End we dropped down along Chestnut Avenue (below) to Audley End House before climbing back up into Saffron Walden.

In Saffron Walden we turned south once more onto the road to Debden. Just before we reached Debden we turned east to Carver Barracks where we stopped for coffee at the Mace supermarket.

The shop at Carver Barracks has been a regular club coffee stop for some years but today was the first time I had visited it myself. The barracks itself is a small army base and immediately adjacent to it, but outside the security fence, is a cluster of army-related community buildings around a rather bleak paved square. One of these is a Mace supermarket with a coffee machine. We bought coffee and confectionery which we consumed outside in the square. Several other members were already there, including Adrian and Mike S.

This isn't the prettiest of places but it was pleasant and friendly and well-located for a brief rest stop before continuing on our way.

Normally after coffee most of the group return to Cambridge, leaving just a small group to continue on to lunch. However today almost everyone carried on, perhaps sixteen in all, though we soon divided into faster and slower groups .

From Carver Barracks our route took us east to Radwinter and along the B1054 to Steeple Bumpstead. Here we turned off towards Stambourne and along a series of quiet lanes through Ashen, Ovington, Belchamp St Paul and Foxearth to Long Melford. The planned lunch stop was Wally's Cafe in Acton, a mile further east, but I decided to eat at Tiffin's Tea Emporium in Long Melford (which we had visited last month). A few others joined me whilst Mick and the main group continued on to Acton.

After lunch my group rode half a mile north and waited outside Long Melford Hall to wait for the others.

After a few minutes the others arrived and the combined group continued on north. We passed Long Melford Church (below) and turned onto the A1092 which we followed west for half a mile before turning north onto the B1066.

Just beyond Boxted we turned west to Hawkedon (below).

We continued through Denston to the A143 at Stradishall. We rode past Tubby T's cafe and the prisons before turning onto the narrow lane to Little Thurlow.

After Little Thurlow we continued to Carlton Green and Weston Green, arriving a few minutes later in West Wratting. Here we stopped at Peter and Lesley's house for a home tea. It was 4pm.

We sat in the garden drinking squash and tea whilst we waited for Mike K to arrive with the afternoon ride. Several others also arrived having cycled there directly, including George and David S.

After a lovely relaxing tea, with excellent sandwiches, snacks and cakes, we all returned to Cambridge. Most people returned via Wadlow Farm and Six Mile Bottom but I was up for a slightly longer ride so returned on my own via Dullingham and Swaffham Bulbeck. With the wind behind me this extra loop didn't take very long and I arrived back in Cambridge in time to overtake George and David near the airport and catch up with some of the newcomers from the afternoon ride at Hyde Park Corner. After a short loop around Cambridge to push up the total mileage a little more, I arrived home just before 7pm, having cycled 94 miles.

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