Sunday, 2 December 2012

2 Dec: All-day ride to Saffron Walden and Thaxted

Nigel writes: This was the fourth Sunday in succession with clear skies and bright sunshine all day - but also the second Sunday in succession where we had to cut the ride short due to adverse weather conditions. It was a bright, crisp morning. The temperature had fallen to -4C in Cambridge overnight, and there was still a bit of frost on the pavements, but with a sunny day in prospect I didn't expect it to amount to anything.

There were ten riders at Brookside for today's ride including Gareth who offered to be our leader today. We set off south down Trumpington Road to Long Road, where we joined the guided busway cycleway.

on the busway cycleway

We took the branch to Addenbrooke's and turned onto the DNA path to Great Shelford.

on the DNA path

From Great Shelford we took the road to Little Shelford and followed the club's usual route to Whittlesford and Duxford.

Crossing the A505 Duxford

We took the direct route from Duxford to Ickleton, which left me wondering whether the route via Hinxton Ford was still flooded as it was last week. From Ickleton we continued south over Coploe Hill to Catmere End. Apart from a short section of slushy ice approaching Catmere End, the entire route was dry and free of ice.

Coploe Hill

The final leg of our ride to Saffron Walden was a long descent along Chestnut Avenue to Audley End House.

Chestnut Avenue

We arrived at The Temeraire in Saffron Walden at about 10.45. Doug and Edward were already there, and I ordered a large coffee and a mince pie.

After coffee most of the group turned back to Cambridge, leaving six of us to continue on to lunch in Thaxted. We took the road to Debden and at Debden Green we turned west for a loop via Henham. This particular road, however, was covered in ice, and within a couple of minutes three of us had slipped over. I think we picked up a few bruises but no great damage was done to riders or bikes. However it became apparent that we should stick to busier roads and cut short the ride to avoid cycling in the dark. Andy, Sarah and Z turned north to Saffron Walden, whilst Gareth, the other Sarah and me carried on to Thaxted, which was only three miles away.

In Thaxted the three of us stopped for lunch at Parrishes Restaurant (rather than the pub mentioned in the runs list). This restaurant is one of my favourites, serving a good variety of light meals of the type that passing cyclists like to eat (I ordered a baked potato and a large pot of tea).

Afterwards we returned directly back to Cambridge, skipping the planned afternoon tea stop at West Wratting. This took us back to Saffron Walden and then north to Littlebury, Great Chesterford, Ickleton and the reverse of our outward trip. We had bright sunshine all the way back, and encountered no further ice. I arrived back home at about 3.20pm, half an hour before sunset, having cycled a modest 51 miles.

Romsey "beach"

View this GPS track on a larger map

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