Sunday, 24 February 2013

24 Feb: Sunday all-day ride to Horseheath, Finchingfield and Ickleton

Nigel writes: Just in case last Sunday's warm weather had made us forget what month it was, today's weather plunged us back into the depths of winter. With heavy cloud cover hiding the sun, temperatures that rose barely above freezing all day, and a bitterly cold breeze, today was probably my coldest ride of the winter so far.

Despite the unpromising conditions, there were still about eight riders at Brookside for today's ride. Phil was our leader today, and led us east out of Cambridge to Fen Ditton and Quy.

Although it was bitterly cold, there was no prospect of rain, and the roads were dry and free of ice. After a diversion through Quy and the outskirts of Bottisham we turned towards Little Wilbraham and the long road to Six Mile Bottom.

At Six Mile Bottom we turned right onto the A1034 for a few hundred yards before turning onto the quiet lane that leads up the hill past Wadlow Farm (and the wind turbines, turning in the breeze) to West Wratting.

At West Wratting we turned south and down the hill again towards Streetley End and Horseheath, where we stopped for coffee at The Old Red Lion. Already sitting in the warmth watching the football on TV were half a dozen more members.

As always, we were well-looked after at The Old Red Lion, with coffee and excellent cakes served at a very reasonable price. This is with justification one of our favourite coffee stops.

Afterwards most of the combined group decided to head back to Cambridge, leaving five of us to continue on to lunch. The planned lunch stop was in Great Bardfield, but Rupert and Phil decided that was too far for such a cold day and that we would go to Finchingfield instead.

We reached Finchingfield at about 12.45pm. This pretty village is normally busy with motor cyclists and other visitors but today it was very quiet. Instead of going to Bosworths as usual I suggested we try somewhere different, and so we had lunch at Zafra "pasta bar and grill". We were the only customers and the proprietor, who was clearly pleased to see us, made us very welcome. I chose the £11 fixed-price menu and selected soup followed by pasta, and I have to say that it was absolutely delicious; one of the most tasty and delicately flavoured meals I have had for some time: perfect food for a freezing cold day. I think we were all very impressed, and I can happily recommend it. Zafra is a few yards south of the bridge, and we were able to store our bikes round the back (through an archway a couple of doors to the left).

After lunch we set off back towards Cambridge. Phil chose a direct route along the B1053 to Saffron Walden followed by the B1383 to Great Chesterford. We arrived at the cafe at Ickleton Barns at about 2.45pm.

After half an hour we were joined by Mike K and the afternoon ride. Afterwards we all returned back to Cambridge. The wind was still freezing cold and the temperature was dropping below zero, but it was flat and not very far. I arrived back home at 5.15pm, having cycled 61 miles.

View this route on a larger map

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