Nigel writes: With eighteen club members away in Wales this week, the turnout for today's all-day ride was quite small: Tony, John, recent joiner Mike, leader Gareth and me.
Gareth led us west out of Cambridge along the Barton Road cycleway to Barton, where we turned onto the B1046. This took us through Comberton and Toft to Longstowe.
It was dull and overcast and there was a persistent south-westerly headwind which made progress quite tiring, and as we approached Longstowe, John and Mike informed Gareth that they would make their own way and they left the group. This left Tony, Gareth and me to continue west for a loop through the Hatleys, Croydon and Arrington to our planned coffee stop at Wimpole Hall. Here we found Bob and Myrtle and after a short while Brian arrived. We went into the stable block and waited a few minutes for the cafe to open before ordering our drinks and relaxing for a convivial half hour.
Coffee at Wimpole Hall
After coffee Tony, Gareth and I carried on to lunch. This involved riding south, almost directly into the wind. There was a brief spell of drizzle but it soon disappeared and after a while the sun came out. We rode through Wendy, Steeple Morden and Ashwell, crossed the A505 and continued south in an almost straight line through Redhill, Rushden, Cromer and Walkern.
We reached our lunch stop in Aston a little before 1pm. Tony announced he was heading straight back leaving just Gareth and me at lunch.
This was my second visit to this pub (we were here in March) and I quite like it: it is friendly, the menu is inexpensive, with good options such as baked potatoes for visiting cyclists, and there were large bowls of complimentary snacks on the bar.
We emerged from the pub after lunch to discover that the clouds had disappeated and we were going to have a gorgeous warm and sunny afternoon. And with the wind mostly behind us at last the ride to our tea stop was a delightful journey through lovely wooded lanes with the sun casting leafy shadows across the road. As an additional bonus, Gareth's route gave us an opportunity to enjoy three separate fords.
Much Hadham Ford
We reached Braughing Village Hall at 3.30pm. This was a little early but we were both still a bit drained by the morning's wind and were ready for a rest. As always, there was a good spread of cakes and Gareth and I stayed here for 45 minutes before setting off back for Cambridge at 4.15pm. We had hoped to see the afternoon ride but they weren't due to arrive before 4.30pm so we missed them.
The final leg home was via all three Pelhams, Langley, Elmdon and Ickleton and the usual route from there. Progress was generally quite fast due to the tailwind but I began to flag on the hills and towards the end. Today had turned into a lovely day, however, and the sky was now completely clear. When I arrived back home at 6.20pm it was still warm and the sun was still shining brightly. I hadn't been expecting a long ride today, but I had cycled an excellent 94 miles.
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