Sunday, 21 October 2012

21 Oct: All-day ride to Ickleton, Great Bardfield and West Wratting

Nigel writes: I had difficulty in getting up this morning (I blame jetlag from my recent trip), but I managed to get to Brookside by 9.30am only to find that no-one was there. I got out my phone to check the details of the ride (the calendar on my smartphone is synchronised automatically with the club's live calendar feeds) and discovered that the ride had started at 9am. Oops. Sunday rides don't change to 9.30am until next week, after the clocks go back. Fortunately the morning coffee stop today was in Ickleton, not very far away, so I set off to meet the ride there.

I took a direct route to Ickleton via Trumpington, Great Shelford, Little Shelford and Whittlesford. I reach Duxford after about half an hour so I allowed myself a slight detour via Hinxton before arriving at Ickleton at about 12.20am. The weather today was distinctly deary: dull and overcast, with rain forecast for late afternoon, but neither cold not windy.

I arrived at the Ickleton Barns cafe to find Mike S just arrived twoo, and the two of us went inside to order coffee and cakes. After a while other club members arrived, and before long the whole cafe was full of cyclists. After a while Conrad arrived with the official ride from Brookside.

After a long, convivial session at this excellent cafe Conrad indicated that it was time to start moving again. As is often the case, the majority of riders headed back to Cambridge, leaving just a handful to carry on to Lunch: Conrad, Zhiqing, Paul, Tony and me. In addition Mike S and Adrian set off separately to ride to lunch at their own pace.

We left the cafe and rode over Coploe Hill to Catmere End before dropping down along Chestnut Avenue to Audley End and Saffron Walden. There we turned onto the road to Debden. Along the way we passed the Debden radar station.

We continued on to Thaxted (below).

From Thaxted it was just a short distance to Great Bardfield, where we stopped for lunch at the Blue Egg. This is set in a rural location about a mile south of the village.

This was my first visit to the Blue Egg. This is a shop selling food and gifts with a large restaurant adjacent. A large group from Cambridge Cycling Club was just leaving as we arrived. The restaurant was very busy but we were served quickly and I can see why this place is so popular with passing cyclists.

After lunch Conrad took us for a short loop via Shalford to the south before turning back north again to Finchingfield. This took us along a series of very pretty wooded lanes.

Conrad had promised me a ford, but when we reached it it was more like a flood. It was clearly too deep to cycle through but fortunately it was possible to pass by using the verge and a small footbridge.

Also at the ford was a large group of horseriders. Most of the horses were happy to wade through, but one or two didn't fancy the prospect of being up to their knees in cold water and needed a lot of persuading....

After this little excitement we continued on north to Finchingfield where we turned onto the road to Great Sampford. From here we took the road to Ashdon and Bartlow. The final few miles from there to our planned tea stop in West Wratting was into the wind and alightly uphill so I was relieved when we eventually arrived at The Chestnut Tree. It was 4.05pm, and a large contingent from the afternoon ride was already there, tucking into excellent sandwiches and cakes.

After tea we set off back to Cambridge. Most of the group returned via Balsham, though I rode with Mike K, Tony and Tiia via Six Mile Bottom and Quy. It started to rain but we didn't have far to go. I arrived home just before 6pm, having cycled 73 miles.

View this GPS track on a larger map

1 comment:

  1. There were 10 riders in the morning. We cycled through the Shelfords, then turned right to Newton just before Whittelsford. At Newton. we turned left to Fowlmere and onto Chrishall Grange where we had to stop for Paul to mend his punctured inner tube. Adrian joined us at that point and we made our way to Chrishall Grange and then climbed to Elmdon before the descent into Ickleton.