Edward writes: This Thursday was our day to leave from Hauxton. This gave an opportunity for Greta to share the good news that she is back on her bike, so maybe when we get some warmer, dryer weather she will be able to join us for at least part of our tour round the countryside. Today, however, was definitely not one of the days as it was very cold and murky. In fact it was a raw cold which seemed to penetrate far into the body. Anyway, this didn’t deter about sixteen from arriving at the start for our journey out to Barley via Ickleton. David M volunteered to be leader, thus making his debut in this job.
We left Hauxton, through Little Shelford and then into Newton, and giving ourselves a hill to climb and a chance to warm up before going on to Fowlmere and up to the A505. We crossed this main road and went to Chrishall Grange and then the long climb up to Elmdon, through the village and downhill all the way into Ickleton and our coffee break at the Riverside Barns. The numbers here were counted at sixteen and a long break ensued whilst the staff coped with our orders. It was warm inside and it was a slow job encouraging everybody out to face the cold again. On leaving the Barns we took the farm track over to the motorway bridge which is the start of the climb up Coploe Hill. At the top, habit took over and we stopped briefly at our usual regrouping lay-by at the top of the hill. By now the fog had further enclosed and the usual views went by unseen.
This didn’t take any pleasure away from the long downhill swoops and up to Catmere End and then turning to Littlebury Green. Downhill again and out to the Royston to Saffron Walden road for a few hundred yards where we turned to climb up to Duddenhoe End. This was quickly followed by Langley Upper Green which gave us an opportunity to once again re-group. We turned towards Clavering but after a couple of miles we turned away to go through Meesden and on to Anstey. In the summer these would be delightful roads to ride along, but this was winter riding.
After Anstey we turned for another favourite road which twists its way to Nuthamstead and then via Shaftenhoe End to our lunch stop at the Chequers at Barley arriving at 1.20pm. After about twenty minutes and some concern the remainder of the group arrived. Sadly they had been delayed by a puncture, but luckily Mike C and Adrian were on hand to put things right.
Langley Upper Green
During the lunch break people started to drift away but when the main group left at 2.30pm there were still about ten riders who left to go the direct way home via the B1368. Usually, the run down from Barley is a fun ride but today the cold really penetrated from a day when temperatures reached only about 1 or 2 degrees at maximum. Once into Fowlmere it was back to Newton via Thriplow, Little Shelford and finally Hauxton. This gave a total of 44 miles and we must record our thanks to David who prepared a great ride. More to come, we hope! Edward Elmer
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