Thursday, 14 February 2013

14 Feb: Thursday ride to Swavesey and Fen Drayton

Edward writes: What a difference a day makes! Yesterday was cold and miserable, yet today, after the early morning rain, turned out to be sunny and moderately warm. Blue skies and sun, both very good ingredients for a long day in the saddle.

Thirteen cyclists assembled at Haslingfield Green for today’s excursion out to Fen Drayton by way of Swavesey. Amongst the thirteen we welcome Tony who was making his debut with us. Adrian was today’s leader and this can usually ensure a good trip round the lesser-known byways of Cambridgeshire.


After leaving Haslingfield we went out to Harlton where we turned in the middle of village for Comberton. By now the rain had stopped and the forecast for bright day had every prospect of being correct, with the sun making its first appearance. In Comberton we crossed over the High Street and went out on the long, steady climb up to Hardwick. Next on the list was Madingley where it was noticed that rabbits had stripped bark from some of trees. After crossing the A14 and on the road to Oakington we had our first puncture and, as usual. Mike was close at hand and before long we were on our way again.


There followed a stretch along the busway down to Longstanton before returning to the roads for the run into Swavesey and one of our favourite coffee stops at the Baptist Chapel.


Ringing a week in advance paid a good dividend as the ladies had been busy cake-making to ensure there were plenty of choices. This week was the turn of ladies of the Chapel to be in charge and, of course, they made us very welcome. On leaving Swavesey our numbers had increased by five and so we now had eighteen cyclists for the trip to Fen Drayton.


Although Fen Drayton and Swavesey are very close Adrian was able to find a route of about twelve miles which involved rejoining the busway to go into St Ives and along the main street and out through housing estates onto the main road leading to Houghton and Wyton. This part of the trip took us off-road (Adrian’s speciality) before arriving at Houghton Mill. On the way we saw a wonderful area of aconites and snowdrops, and at the Mill the water was very high and all the lock and sluice gates were open and there was still a lot of water on the meadows.


Once back on the roads we passed through Hemingford Grey before arriving back in St Ives. We exited St Ives along Low Road to Fenstanton and then to Fen Drayton and lunch at the Three Tuns.

This pub looked after us very well, especialy in view of the numbers which were quite a bit over the estimate we had given them. We left Fen Drayton at about 2.20pm and we made our way to Boxworth End where we turned toward the A14 which we crossed and then up to Boxworth. Here Adrian led a small breakaway group on an off-road jaunt and the rest carried on through Knapwell and we all met again at Childerley Gate where we stopped as Mike incurred the day’s second puncture. Before this Barbara, Sue, Tony and David took the turning for Bourn for their journey home. This left just a short trip through Hardwick, down past the American Cemetery and into Coton where Adrian left us and the day’s outing was at an end.


We thank Adrian for another good day out and let’s hope the weather continues to improve. We cycled 47 miles. Edward Elmer

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