Thursday, 1 November 2012

1 Nov: Thursday ride to reed and Buntingford

Edward writes: Earlier in the week the weather forecast for Thursday was for wind and rain but as the week went on Thursday’s forecast improved and in the event the morning was fine, a smattering of sunshine, but above all, dry. This encouraged thirteen riders out when we met at Greta’s and today we were being led by Jacob. Jacob led us out into Little Shelford and then up to Newton, Fowlmere and out to the A505.

Conditions were still good even though the wind, which felt cold, hit us a bit as we made our way out of Fowlmere. After crossing the A505 this took us to Chrishall Grange and the long climb up to the Elmdon turning where we stopped briefly to allow the group to come together again. Now at the higher part of the county we began the exhilarating undulating ride through Heydon, Great Chishill, Shaftenhoe End and finally bringing us out at Barkway on the B1368.

Towards Barkway

Towards Barkway

Fortunately the road brings us out after the worst of the hill into Barkway and we soon reached the village and the turning up to Reed and the high vantage point which gives splendid views over the surrounding countryside. We arrived at the Silver Ball for coffee at 11.15am and after eighteen miles.

Reed

During coffee our numbers increased to seventeen. When we started again we went down hill to Reed End and then, by turning left, through Dane End and floods. This road runs through high ground and with the heavy overnight rain there was a huge run-off of water on to the road. This was inches deep for probably four hundred yards; no time to take the foot off the pedal, or stop as it was easily ankle deep.

Dane End

After we got through the water we had the first of the day’s three punctures, this time for Sue. Luckily Mick C and Adrian were on hand and the puncture, caused by a large flint, was soon fixed.

Puncture No 1

Away we went again and it was noticeable that the weather was starting to deteriorate and rain looked likely. Now followed the delightfully rural route through Green End and Mill End down to the A10 and the turning for Buntingford. At coffee we had tried to contact the pub in Furneux Pelham without success and it was agreed to change the route and take lunch in Buntingford. At this point we noticed Doug was not with us and Mick and Adrian went back to investigate, but happily, Doug was already on his way having repaired a puncture. Eventually we all arrived in Buntingford, but by this time the rain had now turned into prolonged and heavy showers, but at least we were able to take refuge in a couple of the town's cafes.

After Dane End

Not only was there rain but the temperature had dropped to six degrees and it seemed most people wanted to get home as cycling had become distinctly unpleasant. Thus some left early and followed a little later by the remainder out to Wyddial and back to the B1368. The temptation was to take this road as the quickest route home but this wouldn’t have been very nice as there would have been a lot of water on it plus the fast moving traffic. So we crossed the B1368 and went up to Nuthamstead and fortunately the worst of the weather seemed to be over and we were at least dry, if a little cold. Puncture No 3 occurred just before Shaftenhoe End and Barbara was the unlucky one. Once again Mick, with Jim’s help, was on hand to get her on the road again.

Puncture No 3

We had now become separated from the main group so we took the most direct route home through Barley and downhill on the B1368 to Flint Cross and Fowlmere, Newton and Great Shelford. Our thanks to Jacob for undertaking the ride leader’s job in difficult conditions. From Hauxton to Great Shelford was 45 miles. Edward Elmer


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