Wednesday, 31 October 2012

31 Oct: Evening ride to Hemingford Abbots

Nigel writes: The last evening evening ride of the season took place on a dark and windy Hallowe'en. As I made my way to Brookside just after 6pm I passed large groups of excited young children roaming the streets in search of cheap confectionery, and on several occasions I had to stop to allow witches to cross the road.

Presumably other club members were also out trick'n'treating, because I was the only one at Brookside for the start of the ride. However Tony had offered to meet me part-way, so I set off on my own through Cambridge to the rendezvous point, which I had given as the junction of the busway with New Road Histon.

Unfortunately there are in fact two New Roads in Histon, one in the middle of the village by the old station, and another to the west where the road to Girton crosses, and whilst I waited at the latter, Tony waited at the former.

A quick mobile phone call resolved the confusion, and we were soon on our way together to St Ives. A strong tailwind made this a fast and effortless journey, though it began to drizzle heavily towards the end. At St Ives we crossed over the town bridge and rode through Hemingford Grey to Hemingford Abbots, where we stopped for drinks and food at The Axe and Compasses.

An hour later we set off back to Cambridge. The rain had stopped and we had a dry journey back. However we were now riding straight into the wind, and the ride back was a wearing but otherwise straightforward journey. I arrived back home at 1020pm feeling rather wind-blown, but having cycled a satisfying 37 miles.

St Andrew's Church, Chesterton

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Sunday, 28 October 2012

28 Oct: Afternoon ride to Waresley

John writes: Nine riders met at Brookside for the 1.20pm start. (They were all males: where were the ladies?) We cycled westwards along the Barton Road cycle path into a westerly breeze. There was heavy cloud cover and rain threatened. We rode through the villages of Barton, Comberton and Toft to Bourn, where we turned north and crossed the A428 into Knapwell. So far we had made good time, and since there was hardly any traffic I made the fateful decision to continue up to Conington and the edge of Fenstanton where we turned left into the teeth of the stiff breeze.

By now a steady drizzle had come on. Conscious of the café closing-time of 4.30pm we pressed on quickly through Hilton to Graveley where we turned left. Stopping to re-cross the A428 at Toseland we lacked two riders, John E and another whose name no-one seemed to know. John was used to riding on his own, but I was concerned about the other rider. I returned almost to Graveley but could find no trace of him. I offer my sincere apologies to him through this report which I hope he sees.

Time was now very short so the remaining six of us (Steve had left us at Bourn from where he made a beeline to Waresley), so we turned left at the south end of the Croxton Road and arrived at Waresley Garden Centre at 4.15 p.m. Steve was there: in fact he was the only customer.

After a splendid tea in the refurbished and expanded café we returned to Cambridge by the direct route through Caxton, Great Gransden, Bourn and Toft. The sun had set whilst we were having tea and the cloud obscured the nearly full moon. We all had lights and sped back to Cambridge aided by the tailwind. There was a brief stop between Caxton and Bourn while Mike Sleep fixed a new front light to his recumbent.

The two lessons for me were (1) with a large group, appoint a back-marker and (2) if time is liable to be tight, get near the tea-stop before putting in loops.

According to my GPS the distance was 41 miles. John Ferguson

Christmas lunch - book now!

The annual CTC Cambridge Christmas Lunch will be on Sunday 16th December 2012 at the George and Dragon, Elsworth. This is a new venue which club has visited several times recently; we are sure of a fine meal and a most enjoyable time. Three courses are £19.00, two courses are £16.00. The club will pay the service charge which is additional to this. To book your place please print the menu here, make your selections and send it with a cheque to the address given by 25th Nov

28 Oct: All-day ride to St Ives, West Perry and Waresley

Ian writes: Today's ride was officially leaderless, and as I waited at the start I was wondering whether it would be just me and John, an ex-Cambridge DA visitor from Glasgow. However before long, seven more members turned up, all clearly hoping that the weather forecast was pessimistic, and we were soon on our way to Nuts Bistro in St Ives.

We set off west out of Cambridge taking the familiar route along the old Bedford road. Most of the group soon decided it wasn't actually as cold as they thought, though no doubt the climb up Madingley hill had something to do with that. When we reached the turn for Knapwell turn it was then downhill all the way to St Ives - with a tailwind which helped us speed us along to reach our coffee stop by 11am.

At Nuts Bistro in St Ives we were joined by Lynn, Eva, Vic, Adrian, Brian and Martin, though when the time came for departure there was the usual reshuffle with ten proceeding to lunch, boosted in part by the weather actually looking quite promising, and the others returning home.

The route west towards Grafham Water was a bit of a struggle into the wind, though once we were beyond Brampton the hedges that lined the road meant we weren't completely exposed and made this section of the ride quite pleasurable with glimmers of sunshine and some attractive autumnal colour. Time was getting on so when we reached Grafham village we rode directly to Perry on the road rather than using the off-road cycle track. We passed the visitor centre along the way, not realising that we would be returning back there once we discovered (from Doug who caught up with us at Plummer car park) that the Harbour View cafe at West Perry was no longer in business.

After various combinations of soup, jacket potatoes, sandwiches and cake, and appetites satiated, we prepared to set off back towards Cambridge. However it was apparent that the weather was deteriorating and that the rain that had been forecast was indeed on its way.

The general consensus was therefore to strike direct for Cambridge via Buckden, the Offords, Hilton and the busway cycleway. However Doug, John and myself diverted at Graveley for a more southerly route via Abbotsley. When we reached the Waresley turn it was still little after 3pm so in order to make the most of the remaining daylight we decided that a visit to the garden centre cafe would have to wait for another day and we headed straight home. My arrival back in Fen Ditton coincided more or less with dusk with 67 miles clocked up. Ian Wright

Thursday, 25 October 2012

25 Oct: Thursday ride to Elsworth and Gamlingay

Edward writes: After three misty and murky days and no sign of the sun it was good to see fifteen cyclists at our Haslingfield start point. The sun wasn’t out but at least the day was reasonably clear, if a little cooler than the previous days. Among the the fifteen were six women including Barbara who was riding with us for the first time and we extend her a warm welcome.

Haslingfield Green

Tony H was our leader today and we set off in two groups towards Harlton and the A603 which then took us through both Eversdens, Kingston and into Bourn. On leaving Bourn we made the gentle climb up to the A428 and not without comment at the ever expanding Cambourne which is rapidly approaching the road we were on which is the boundary to the former Bourn airfield. After crossing the A428 we had a following breeze to take us into Knapwell and then on to Elsworth and the George and Dragon which is the pub hosting our Christmas lunch on Sunday December 16th. This is another favourite coffee stop - good service and comfortable surroundings.

Towards Knapwell

After coffee we again divided into two groups and our route took us down to the B1040 which we travelled on for about a mile into Hilton and the turning for Graveley. In Graveley we turned again so that we were now going round in a large circle and heading south towards Croxton and another crossing of the A428. This is an interesting time of the year - we no longer have the wild flowers to admire but in their place we have the stunning colours of the autumn leaves. It just needed the sun to give it the final flourish. The trip through from Croxton to Abbotsley and then on to Gamlingay Cinques is a good example of this autumn setting. Thus we arrived at The Cock in Gamlingay for our lunch break.


Following lunch we still had nine or ten riders and our route home was through both the Hatleys and then the rapid descent of Croydon Hill only reluctantly having to apply the breaks for the sharp turn into Croydon and Arrington. This road also gives fine views over the low lying land to the high ground of Chrishall in the far distance. This took us into the grounds of the Wimpole estate and then into Orwell where we waited to regroup.


The last section of our tour took us through Barrington, up and over the hill and down into Haslingfield where the ride ended. This gave us 43 miles and thanks to Tony for his leadership role. Edward Elmer

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

24 Oct: Evening ride to Fen Ditton

Nigel writes: Now that these evening rides are entirely in the dark, the numbers on these rides has fallen, and after next week's ride they become monthly. Today at Brookside there was only me and John E, though Tony had offered to meet us half-way-round in Dullingham.

The route today was a familar one: down to Addenbrooke's, over the Gogs to Fulbourn, through the Wilbrahams to Six Mile Bottom, up the hill to the woodland cemetery crossroads, and north to Dullingham. I reached Dullingham at 7.45pm to find Tony waiting in the dark. We rode on together to Swaffham Bulbeck and then via Bottisham and Quy to Fen Ditton, where we stopped for a pint and a burger at The Plough. After a short time we were joined by John, from whom I had separated earlier on the ride.

Afterwards we all returned home: for me this involved a short ride across the commons to Riverside. I arrived home at about 10pm, having cycled about 31 miles.

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Sunday, 21 October 2012

21 Oct: Afternoon ride to West Wratting

Peter writes: It was a gloomy, overcast day, mild but with rain forecast for later in the afternoon, so it was a pleasant surprise to find nine other riders ready to leave from Brookside. We avoided the chaos in Hills Road by heading down Trumpington Road, and on to the guided busway by the cycle path from Long Road, which I had never used before!

A quick circuit of Addenbrookes brought us on to Worts Causeway and up into the Gog Magog Hills on the way to Fulbourn and the Wilbrahams. From here we turned towards Six Mile Bottom and found the road very busy with people loading vintage tractors on to lorries. We had to wait for a while and one rider got a bit too close to a reversing lorry for comfort but no harm done. After that we headed on up towards Brinkley and stopped for a photo. Leaden skies!

Time was moving on so I decided to turn right from here past the Woodland Cemetery, to allow time for a short loop through Weston Colville on the way to the Chestnut Tree in West Wratting, where we were welcomed with an excellent tea, and when the day ride arrived there were a total of 15 of us. Good turnout!

On the way home the rain started in earnest though it never got heavy enough to be unpleasant. The daylight was fading as we came across Stourbridge Common in the gloom and some local lads were very complimentary about my headlamp (along the lines of "your lights are ****ing bright mate!") Certainly brighter than their (non-existent) lights.

I arrived home just after 6pm having cycled a leisurely 34 miles. It was pretty much dark - winter is coming and with the clocks going back next weekend we'll be needing lights consistently for afternoon rides now. Peter Hutchison

21 Oct: All-day ride to Ickleton, Great Bardfield and West Wratting

Nigel writes: I had difficulty in getting up this morning (I blame jetlag from my recent trip), but I managed to get to Brookside by 9.30am only to find that no-one was there. I got out my phone to check the details of the ride (the calendar on my smartphone is synchronised automatically with the club's live calendar feeds) and discovered that the ride had started at 9am. Oops. Sunday rides don't change to 9.30am until next week, after the clocks go back. Fortunately the morning coffee stop today was in Ickleton, not very far away, so I set off to meet the ride there.

I took a direct route to Ickleton via Trumpington, Great Shelford, Little Shelford and Whittlesford. I reach Duxford after about half an hour so I allowed myself a slight detour via Hinxton before arriving at Ickleton at about 12.20am. The weather today was distinctly deary: dull and overcast, with rain forecast for late afternoon, but neither cold not windy.

I arrived at the Ickleton Barns cafe to find Mike S just arrived twoo, and the two of us went inside to order coffee and cakes. After a while other club members arrived, and before long the whole cafe was full of cyclists. After a while Conrad arrived with the official ride from Brookside.

After a long, convivial session at this excellent cafe Conrad indicated that it was time to start moving again. As is often the case, the majority of riders headed back to Cambridge, leaving just a handful to carry on to Lunch: Conrad, Zhiqing, Paul, Tony and me. In addition Mike S and Adrian set off separately to ride to lunch at their own pace.

We left the cafe and rode over Coploe Hill to Catmere End before dropping down along Chestnut Avenue to Audley End and Saffron Walden. There we turned onto the road to Debden. Along the way we passed the Debden radar station.

We continued on to Thaxted (below).

From Thaxted it was just a short distance to Great Bardfield, where we stopped for lunch at the Blue Egg. This is set in a rural location about a mile south of the village.

This was my first visit to the Blue Egg. This is a shop selling food and gifts with a large restaurant adjacent. A large group from Cambridge Cycling Club was just leaving as we arrived. The restaurant was very busy but we were served quickly and I can see why this place is so popular with passing cyclists.

After lunch Conrad took us for a short loop via Shalford to the south before turning back north again to Finchingfield. This took us along a series of very pretty wooded lanes.

Conrad had promised me a ford, but when we reached it it was more like a flood. It was clearly too deep to cycle through but fortunately it was possible to pass by using the verge and a small footbridge.

Also at the ford was a large group of horseriders. Most of the horses were happy to wade through, but one or two didn't fancy the prospect of being up to their knees in cold water and needed a lot of persuading....

After this little excitement we continued on north to Finchingfield where we turned onto the road to Great Sampford. From here we took the road to Ashdon and Bartlow. The final few miles from there to our planned tea stop in West Wratting was into the wind and alightly uphill so I was relieved when we eventually arrived at The Chestnut Tree. It was 4.05pm, and a large contingent from the afternoon ride was already there, tucking into excellent sandwiches and cakes.

After tea we set off back to Cambridge. Most of the group returned via Balsham, though I rode with Mike K, Tony and Tiia via Six Mile Bottom and Quy. It started to rain but we didn't have far to go. I arrived home just before 6pm, having cycled 73 miles.

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Saturday, 20 October 2012

20 Oct: Saturday morning ride to Coton

Tina writes: It was a foggy start to the morning, but undeterred by the chill in the air, five riders gathered at Brookside - Liz, Angela, Phil, Michael and leader Tina. We headed off down Fen Causeway, cutting through to the Barton Road cycle path and westward out of Cambridge alongside the A603.

Just past the M11 and rifle ranges, we turned up past Burwash Manor Barns and using cycle paths where available, followed the B1046 through Comberton and Toft, detouring left down Church Lane to enjoy a brief interlude from the main road. Trees along the hedgerows were looking ever more autumnal with butter yellow limes, coppery beeches and the occasional maple a colourful medley of red, gold and brown.

Michael was due to leave us at the Kingston turn and I slowed down intending to say our goodbyes before the junction, but hadn't clearly communicated and a mini pile-up ensued - sorry Phil and Liz. Phil sustained a cut knee and bruises, but gamely decided to continue on. We took the next right to Caldecote and pedalled determinedly up the long hill, until the road flattened out through Highfields village to join St Neots Road. After negotiating two large but luckily quiet roundabouts, we were soon on the downward run to Madingley, past the American Cemetery and reaching the Coton road around 11.45am.

Polhill garden centre was fairly quiet and we sat inside 'spending' our 240 calorie allowance (according to Phil's computer!) and enjoying our coffee and cakes. After a pleasant half hour chatting, we set off back along the Coton path and on into Cambridge, dodging the crowds of tourists mingling with gowned graduates along the way. Total distance: approx 18 miles. Tina Filby

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Thursday, 18 October 2012

18 Oct: Thursday ride to Horseheath and Kedington

Edward writes: With the arrival of autumn numbers arriving for the rides are naturally smaller than the eighteen and twenty we had during the late summer. Nevertheless nine riders gathered at Greta’s house in Hauxton for our trip to Horseheath and Kedington and with the usual changes of personnel during the day this number would rise. Today’s ride leader was Adrian, thus guaranteeing and interesting ride as he would be able to draw on his vast knowledge of all the byways in East Anglia.


We set off in a single group and rode through to Whittlesford before joining the cycle paths over to Sawston, through the village and on to Babraham and then to join the farm track over to Gt. Abington.

Great Abington

When we turned into Bourn Bridge Road which leads into Gt. Abington the fields on both sides were showing a second flowering of poppies - quite a sight. We quickly came to the A1307 and then on to Hildersham where we turned left for the climb up to Balsham and our first sight of the wind turbines. At the top of the hill Adrian had a puncture but insisted we should all carry on through to our coffee break in Horseheath, which we achieved via West Wickham and Streetley End. The Old Red Lion Inn is an extremely popular stop and with good reason. Already waiting for us were three plates of cakes, and tea and coffee waiting to be served; in fact more was provided than we could possibly eat. It was good to see everybody willing to put in more money than the normal charge.

West Wickham


After coffee it was back over the A1307 through Mill Green and down through both Shudy and Castle Camps and on to Helions Bumpstead and finally Steeple Bumpstead. Now errors started to creep in as the leading group of three overshot the turning to Steeple Bumpstead and carried on towards Sturmer. The main group carried on and unbelievably Adrian took us on a minor road which only led to a farm and we had to go back before taking the road to Birdbrook. The navigational error was well worth it as we cycled on roads that we hadn’t seen before and no doubt will be used again. The rest of the trip into Kedington via Baythorn End and Boynton End was uneventful and we arrived for lunch shortly after 1 pm.


After lunch Adrian led us on more minor roads via Brockley Green and Hundon before bringing us back to Gt. Wratting. The combination of recent wet weather and the sugar beet harvest made the roads were very muddy; everyone will be cleaning their bikes tonight or in the morning, won't they! From Great Wratting it was into Withersfield, over Wratting Common into West Wratting. The last part of the journey took us close to the wind turbines as we sped downhill towards Six Mile Bottom. This just left the two mile run up to Little Wilbraham where we ended the ride as this is where the city group headed off towards the river whilst those going south of the city went home via Fulbourn and Cherry Hinton.

Helions Bumpstead

This gave a mileage from Hauxton of 51 miles although most people, by the time they got home, would have done over 60 miles. Thanks to Adrian for a great day out and who once again demonstrated his vast knowledge of our local area.
Edward Elmer

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Friday, 12 October 2012

11 Oct: Thursday ride to Reed and Hinxworth

Edward writes: This Thursday the weather had taken another step into its autumnal phase. Gone were the sunshine and blue skies and in their place we had overcast skies and a weather forecast predicting a fine morning but with rain moving in for the afternoon. Consequently numbers were down on previous weeks when we met in Haslingfield with nine riders ready for the day’s outing. However, we had the opportunity to welcome Dave who was making his first ride with us and of course we look forward to seeing him again.

Near Heydon
In order to get proceedings underway we started off with the climb up Chapel Hill into Barrington where we turned left to go to Foxton via the railway and the A10. After a wait for a train we went through the village and out on the road to Fowlmere and then the other main road, the A505. This took us to Chrishall Grange and the climb up to the Elmdon turning where we did the usual regrouping. We went through Heydon and Gt Chishill in the highest points in Cambridgeshire and now followed the fast downhill via Shaftenhoe End to join the B1368 just outside Barkway.

Near Barkway

This left us with the steep climb into the village where we turned right and took the road where the views over the countryside are magnificent and makes us value our hobby. We were soon into Reed and our coffee stop at the Silver Ball transport cafe. Already there were Tina, Brian B, Doug and Mike S and Adrian who had left from Haslingfield slightly earlier.

Near Barkway

After coffee there were the usual comings and goings but those going on turned down to Reed End followed by the quiet roads into Sandon, almost to Wallington before turning off to head down to the A10 followed by the undulating road into Ashwell. (In Sandon we saw a Kite and nearby were two Buzzards circling overhead.) Once again, a lovely stretch of road and already we notice the new crops in the fields creating a green sheen, another sign of just how rapid the changes in the countryside are. After Ashwell it was only about three miles before we reached Hinxworth and the mile or so run out to Farrowby Farm for our lunch stop.

Crossing the A505

Following the usual pattern some had brought sandwiches and others bought lunch at the farm. During lunch we were joined by Bob who had cycled over from Sandy. After lunch we said goodbye to Doug and Brian B and the rest returned to Ashwell. The weather started to have a very damp feel about it and the forecast rain didn’t seem far away. We pressed on through Steeple Morden, Littlington and into Bassingbourn. We crossed the A1198 for the last bit of our journey, but by the time we reached Meldreth the rain started and became heavier the further we went. In fact the remaining few miles were really unpleasant, a far cry from our more recent rides. Next up was Shepreth and Barrington and another climb over Chapel Hill and finally Haslingfield. Our day out gave us 49 miles. Edward Elmer

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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

7 Oct: A ride in the Santa Cruz mountains

Nigel writes: A work trip to "Silicon Valley" in California meant I was unable to join the club's usual Sunday rides, but with the region experiencing unusually hot and sunny weather I knew I just had to go for a bike ride.

For my ride today I rented a lightweight road bike from The Bike Connection, an excellent bike shop in Palo Alto, very close to Stanford University. A day's rental was $37.93 (about £24), and given the quality of the bike I received I think that was good value, and I'd happily recommend it.

The area known as Silicon Valley is a dull, flat, sprawl of suburbia about 30-40 miles south of San Francisco. On the western side, however, the Santa Cruz mountains offer some very quiet and peaceful roads for short but very strenuous bike rides. On a Sunday afternoon I was far from the only cyclist on these roads today: I passed hundreds of riders in the course of the afternoon.

After picking up the bike (and, rather incongruously, showing my driving licence) I started my ride with a gentle tour of the campus of Stanford University. This seemed a pretty cycle-friendly place, and there were plenty of "ordinary" cyclists riding around the campus. The architectural focus of the campus is the Hoover Tower (below), where a passing student obligingly took my photo.

After crossing the campus I turned onto Sand Hill Road towards the mountains and was soon in open country. The popularity of this road for sporting cyclists meant that there were cycle lanes all the way. This first few miles was fairly level, but the view ahead showed that I wouldn't be on the flat for long.

After about half an hour I reached the turn for Old La Honda Road, and the start of a long climb. According to my research on the web, this road has an iconic status as a classic hill climb, and the local cycling club even categorise its riders on the basis of how long it takes to climb it. So I was very much looking forward to trying it out.

The climb is about 3.5 miles long and gains about 1290 feet. It passes through redwood forest and is almost completely shaded, a relief on a day where the temperature in the sun was over 25C. I paused before the climb to mentally prepare myself.

The climb itself was delightful. My bike was clearly geared for a climb such as this, and it was simply a case of settling into bottom gear and winching my way up. The road surface was exceptionally smooth, and the road itself almost completely traffic free apart from a few local residents and a succession of cyclists coming the other way. It was never so steep that I had to struggle, and at this point in the ride I was warmed up but not yet tired. Perfect. The climb took took 40 minutes (which places me in the middle of the Western Wheelers Bicycle Club's rider gradings).

At the top I turned onto a bigger two-lane road, Skyline Boulevard (route 35), which runs along the ridge of the Santa Cruz mountains. It wasn't very busy and a very wide shoulder acted as a adequate cycle lane. A couple of miles north took me to Sky Londa, a road junction with a few stores and cafes, a few cyclists and a large number of motor cyclists. The elevation here was 463m. I stopped briefly to buy a drink before continuing.

From here I dropped down on the western side of the ridge, losing height at an alarming rate as I knew I would have to regain it later. This was route 84, which continues all the way to the Ocean about ten miles away. A passing rider stopped to chat and advised me on a route. He was heading for the Pacific, but that would be too far for me so after a few miles, at a tiny settlement called La Honda, I turned back east onto a road he had recommended called Alpine Road.

Alpine Road. The name is appropriate, since this was a very long climb back up to the top of the ridge, ending up at about 600m. This was a long and tough climb - much harder than the earlier ride up Old La Honda Road. Not particularly steep, but relentless. The views, however, were lovely, and the trees sheltered me from sunburn almost all the way.

This road was higher than the earlier climb, and short sections were in the open sun, but fortunately not for long.

Eventually I reached the top of the ridge and the junction with Route 35.

I crossed over onto Page Mill Road and - at last! - a long, winding, six-mile descent back to sea level.

This was a fast and exhilarating descent, mostly in the trees, but occasionally offering glimpses of Palo Alto and the adjacent urban areas below.

Once at the bottom a few final miles brought me back to Palo Alto and the bike shop. I arrived back at 5.30pm, having cycled just over 40 miles over about four hours. Not a bad distance for an afternoon ride, and very satisfying for such a hilly one.

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