Edward writes: After Jim’s entertaining and erudite report of last week’s ride, this week it’s back to more mundane reporting. Also in contrast to last week when only five riders braved the conditions this week fifteen were at the start in Haslingfield. Not really surprising as the weather this week had temperatures in double figures, if a little breezy. Ian W was our leader today and luckily he had checked with the coffee and lunch venues to find that the scheduled stop for lunch in Hemingford Grey was not yet open after the new year, so he had already changed our lunch stop to the Three Horseshoes in Houghton.
When we got going we started with the climb up Chapel Hill to be rewarded with the usual fine views over the land below. We followed this with Shepreth, Meldreth and Orwell, out on to the A603 and immediately turned towards the Wimpole Estate but passed the entrance and took the climb up to the A1198. This gave us about one and a half miles on this road which, fortunately wasn’t too busy, and this brought us into Longstowe followed by the short trip into Bourn and our coffee stop. Already there were Bill and Sarah, and also Sue and Tony. With nineteen cyclists this showed the value of ringing ahead to forewarn the venue so that they are not taken by surprise and overwhelmed when we arrive.
After coffee, Sue and Tony left us and the remainder headed for Caxton where we crossed the ford by way of the little bridge and out again onto the A1198 as far as the Cambourne turning. We threaded our way through Cambourne and out onto the road leading to Elsworth where we stopped and regrouped. The countryside is particularly bare at this time of the year with little to report on except for fields with water still on them. After Elsworth we went through Connington, to Fenstanton, the underpass of the A14 and through to St Ives which is slowly coming back to normal following all the rain. This left us with the two Hemingfords, across the Common, Houghton Mill and finally our lunch stop at the Three Horseshoes.
The pub looked after us very well and about 2 pm we began the journey home. As usual some made their own way home, whilst the remainder left Houghton by way of the Thicket which, not surprisingly, was wet and muddy (but see Rupert’s email), but soon brought us back into St Ives. We went back into Fenstanton and then on to Fen Drayton and now, of course, the breeze was on our backs and riding was easy and pleasant.
We had a little mishap in Fen Drayton when an plate on Peter W’s chain cracked, but this took Mike C no more more than five minutes to take the link out and replace with a quick link and we were on our way again. Our route home was via Longstanton, Oakington, and Girton and along Huntingdon Road the ride ended as we went our separate routes home. Our thanks to Ian for a splendid ride and the weather man for sparing us the rain. We did 47 miles. Edward Elmer
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