Thursday, 15 November 2012

15 Nov: Thursday ride to Nuthampstead and Braughing

Edward writes: This morning was in sharp contrast to yesterday morning. Then it was nice and sunny, today was very misty, typical sort of weather to expect in November. This didn’t deter eight riders from meeting in Hauxton for our ride out to Nuthampstead and then on to Braughing. After calling in on Greta and getting an update on her recovery we left Hauxton by way of Little Shelford and then on to Newton. On the approach to the Thriplow turning we considered it safer to go through Thriplow as the two mile stretch up to Fowlmere is often a speed track for some motorists and who may not be as observant as they should be. When we did reach Fowlmere we turned for the two mile run out to the A505 at Flint Cross. Unexpectedly the road was quiet and we were able to cross quickly and safely. This gave us the road for Barley but we left it for the two mile climb up to Great Chishill where we waited for everybody to come together. We headed out of the village towards Shaftenhoe End but took the turning to Little Chishill and then on to Langley Lower Green.

Towards Langley

After the initial climb these three miles to Langley were on the flat and riding was easy. If only the sun could have broken through as this is nice countryside, but even so, it felt quite atmospheric as it was very quiet peering into the gloom and of course no wind.

Anstey

Once at Lower Green we left the village on the road to Meesden and then on to Anstey and this brought us to the Woodman in Nuthampstead and a very welcoming fire, coffee and biscuits. Fortunately we had booked ahead so there were no surprises. For us, though, we found another six cyclists, thus bringing our numbers up to fourteen, which represents a very creditable turn out on such an unpromising day.

Nuthampstead

We should report at this stage that this was to be a day of punctures - in fact five in all. Before he got to the Woodman Dave, who had made his own way there, had already had a puncture but on leaving the Woodman his tyre was again flat but our usual puncture repairmen, Mick C and Adrian, were soon in action to get the bike back on the road. Adrian, with typical ingenuity, made very good use of the puddles in the car park to locate the puncture.

Puncture repair

We left the pub and headed down to the golf course near Barkway and then turned back to Anstey. Decision making became committee work and we finally decided on the route through Great Hormead and Little Hormead where we encountered a flooded road, and then on to Furneux Pelham. Here we checked with the Brewery Tap that they were still willing for us to call on them for coffee and lunch and they confirmed that this was OK. Just outside Furneux Pelham Mick had a puncture, the third for the day, and Mick and Adrian soon got the bike back on the road for the final three miles into Braughing and lunch at the Brown Bear. On arrival, it was no surprise that puncture number four had occurred and the unlucky one was Barbara. As this was our lunch stop this wasn’t much of a problem and it was soon repaired. This was probably the best time of the day as the sun had made an effort to get out and brighten things up.

Near Little Hormead

After we had finished lunch it was about 2.15pm with barely a couple of hours before it got dark. Going home all the way along the B1368 didn’t really appeal: the day had already darkened and the traffic on this road can be very fast. We did do three or four miles on it as far as the turning for Great Hormead and we joined this morning’s road for the ride back to Anstey and Nuthampstead and then on through Shaftenhoe End and up to Great Chishill. Barbara’s tyre seemed to be going down again but we felt with more air in the tyre she should be able to get home, so she left us to go into Barley and take the B1368 downhill all the way to Flint Cross.

Another puncture repair

Towards Nuthampstead

Towards Nuthampstead

Shortly after this it was Adrian’s turn for a puncture - Mick and Averil stayed with him whilst the rest went on through Great Chishill, Heydon and down to Chrishall Grange, Fowlmere, and Newton, where we said goodbye to Brian M and then on to Great Shelford where the ride ended as most people separated here for their routes home. This gave a journey of 55 miles. Despite the weather and the number of punctures everybody pitched in and we all had an enjoyable day. Edward Elmer


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