Monday, 8 October 2012

7 Oct: Afternoon ride to Royston

John writes: Seven riders met at Brookside in perfect cycling weather.  Afternoon starts in the rapidly foreshortening days of Autumn give little scope for innovative routes.  Hitherto I had not realised how awkward a place Royston is to reach by cycle from Cambridge.  Planners seem to think (in so far as they think at all) that everyone travels by car with public transport being the only alternative. 

We sped down to the A505 via the DNA path, the Shelfords,  and Whittlesford.  Thence we followed the quiet road through Duxford, Hinxton, Ickleton, climbed the hill to Elmdon with splendid views to the North, descended to Heydon and another climb to Great Chishill, and thence the up-and-down route to Barkway via  Shaftenhoe End. The quiet roads and good weather had tempted several family groups out cycling.  Royston  was approached from the South with the long descent of Whitely Hill.  A quick detour in Royston to pass the house where the Gunpowder Plot was foiled brought us to Tina’s house at 4:32 p.m.  The day-riders arrived a few minutes later.  The distance according to my Garmin was 37.3 k.  I reckoned we passed  11 pubs:

Plough; Square & Compass (Gt.Shelford): Bees in the Wall; Tickell Arms (Whittlesford); John Barleycorn (Duxford, who was he?); Red Lion (Hinxton); Lion (Ickleton); Elmdon Dial (unsurprisingly Elmdon); William IV (Heydon);  Pheasant (Gt. Ghishill); Chequers (Royston).

Tina had laid on a magnificent tea with splendid sandwiches and an abundance of delicious cakes.  I needed no dinner on reaching home.  She must have been baking all week-end!   After tea most of the riders combined into one group as there was a consensus to return to Cambridge quickly.  I therefore abandoned my intended route of going via Barley, Fowlmere and Newton.  We sped along the A1198 (like wildebeest assuming safety in numbers) to Bassingbourn and returned to Cambridge via Meldreth, Barrington and  Haslingfield.  I was home by 6:35 p.m. I switched off the Garmin for the homeward route but guess it was  20 to 25 km, making a total of 60 km (37 miles) or so in total John Ferguson

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