Thursday, 22 November 2012

22 Nov: Thursday ride to Bourn and St Ives

Edward writes: This Thursday gave us day in total contrast to the fog and stillness of last week. This time it was clear skies and strong winds, but this didn’t deter sixteen cyclists who met in Haslingfield for our ride out to St.Ives. This should have been to Fen Drayton but the pub there was unable to take us so the lunch stop was changed to St. Ives.

Our ride leader was Rupert and amongst those cycling were Stuart who came over from Stevenage and Lynn who was visiting from her new home in Croatia.


We started with the climb up Chapel Hill and at the the top we had our first taste of how strong the wind was. In Barrington we stopped briefly to allow everybody to come together and we continued on through Shepreth and into Meldreth where we turned to go to Orwell via Malton.

Near Wimpole

This was a nice ride as the wind was firmly behind us. After Orwell we took the road past the Wimpole Estate and carried on up the hill where we reached the A1198 and stayed on this for about one and half miles when we turned off to go into Bourn and our coffee stop at the Abantu Cafe.

Abantu Cafe, Bourn

We overwhelmed this little cafe as, in addition to those who started from Haslingfield, we were joined by Bill, Peter W, Kenny and Sarah who responded to a request made earlier in the week by bringing one of her delicious home-made cakes. Cycling on Thursdays certainly has its perks.

When Rupert was finally able to round everybody up we left Bourn by way of Caxton and Great Gransden. As part of his ride leadership responsibilities Rupert produced a route list which he had passed round at the start. With the large numbers we are getting for these rides this could prove a useful tool in order to keep people who become separated on the correct route. On the approach to Abbotsley we turned right for ride through the now brown fields to Croxton. This was approaching mid-day and also the best part of the day with the sun making it a nice winter’s setting.

Near Abbotsley

For the most part the roads had coped well with the previous day’s rain, but now and then there was plenty of standing water and mud as the sugar beet harvest is still in progress. When we got to Graveley we turned to head up to both Offord D’Arcy and Offord Cluny. (The scene in Graveley is about to undergo a big change as the wind turbines are being delivered to the wind farm during this month and next.) After the Offords we had to use the main road before we reached Godmanchester and then to the Common beside the former railway line.

Hemingford Abbots

This took us through Hemingford Abbots and Hemingford Grey and then into St. Ives and our lunch stop arriving at 1.15pm having cycled 37 miles. Although Nuts Bistro was the stated lunch stop, in fact we split up with some using the Riverside Cafe and others choosing fish and chips.

St Ives

After the comings and goings at lunch it left eleven to make the journey back to Cambridge. During the morning ride the wind was mainly in our favour but this afternoon promised much harder work. We made our way over to Fenstanton and the underpass of the A14 before turning into the wind for the ride up to Connington. In the event, with the aid of the hedgerows, the riding wasn’t too bad, only being difficult on exposed stretches.

St Ives

After Connington it was the long gradual climb to Knapwell and again quite well protected from the wind. This finally bought us to the St Neots old road where some left to go back through Bourn and the Eversdens whilst the main group went back to Cambridge via Hardwick and then to Coton and the final leg down the cycleway into Cambridge City Centre beside King’s College and Great St Mary’s Church. This gave us a regulation Thursday ride of 54 miles and thanks to Rupert who had to devise two routes for this today because of the disappointment at Fen Drayton. Edward Elmer

View this route on a larger map

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