Thursday, 31 January 2013

31 Jan: Thursday ride to Toft and Gamlingay

Edward writes: At last, with the worst of the winter weather behind us (let’s hope), twelve cyclist met at Haslingfield Green for our trip out to Toft and Gamlingay, which today was led by Averil. Although the snows and intense cold had all gone there was however another element which made its unwelcome presence all too noticeable, and that was very stiff westerly wind. Also joining us today was Lynn, making one of her visits to the country and thus giving our ride an international flavour, and Jim who is a former member of the Cambridge branch but now living in the west country.

We left Haslingfield towards Barton, which was fortunate as this put the wind on our backs and so giving an easy start to the day’s outing. After Barton we turned towards Coton but Averil surprised us by turning off into the nature area and through to the cycleway which leads past the university’s new facilities all the way down to Wilberforce Road. Then on to Madingley Road past Churchill College and then joining Huntingdon Road for the run up to Girton. At this point the wind was more or less in our favour, although this wasn’t to last. From Girton we travelled into Oakington and then across the old airfield which is the projected Northstowe new town to come out in Longstanton opposite the parish church. As we turned west the head wind became a serious issue and slowed us down to single figure miles per hour. We had to travel down the B1050 which was a bit unpleasant owing to the volume of traffic, but we all made it to the roundabout at Bar Hill.

Bar Hill

Hardwick

We went over the A14 and on to what amounts to the Bar Hill ring road and out to a track which leads into Dry Drayton. In Dry Drayton we said goodbye to Lynn and we look forward to seeing her on her next visit. There followed a very hard couple of miles up to the roundabout over the A428 which brought us to Hardwick and the long downhill into Toft. Downhill maybe but into the strong wind so no time for freewheeling. In Toft we took our coffee break at the golf club a bit later than usual as the time was 11.30am.

Toft

Longstowe

At coffee, but about to head off, were Rupert, Brian M, and Richard M who had driven over from Bedford. The coffee break was welcome but of necessity it was curtailed as we knew the following 10 miles or so to Gamlingay would be head wind all the way and it didn’t disappoint. We left Toft at midday and made for Bourn followed by Longstowe and now the wind really did its stuff. Cycling was full on into the wind and at times the buffeting, especially after leaving the protection of the hedges, would take us into the middle of the road. We arrived at Little Gransden and turned to go to Gamlingay which for the last mile is downhill but this still required pedalling to keep going. At about 1.15pm we finally made it to The Cock for our lunch break.

Little Gransden

Little Gransden

After an hour’s rest and recuperation we now had the delightful prospect of cycling home with the wind behind us. We took the route through the Hatleys, down Croydon Hill and on through Croydon and Arrington.

Croydon

Of course, with the wind behind us progress was rapid and we were soon in front of the Wimpole Estate. Averil had one last little test for us as, rather than go through the estate as some of the front riders did, she took us up the steep hill on the B1198 to the Wimpole turning, thus we went right round the estate before coming to the turn for Orwell. From here it was just a short run through to Barrington and over the hill into Haslingfield and journey’s end at 3.45pm and 49 miles under our belts. We must thank Averil for a particularly good route, and an enjoyable and exhilarating day out. Although much mention has been of the wind mention must be made that it was very nice to finally ride on dry roads. Edward Elmer


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