Thursday, 14 March 2013

14 Mar: Thursday ride to Swavesey and St Neots

Edward writes: This Thursday started with overnight temperatures dropping to as low as minus 5 degrees centigrade. By the time nine riders met at 9.30 on Haslingfield Green the temperature had lifted to about zero degrees. The forecast promised a good amount of sun and a lot less wind than we’ve had recently, so all in all a fairly promising day ahead.

David W was the leader for today and he took us out of Haslingfield to Harlton where we crossed the A603 and out to the Eversdens and Kingston. In this direction we were riding into the little breeze there was, and coming from the north, it still felt very cold. After Kingston we joined the uphill and narrow road through Caldecote and here, as the road is very well shaded by the trees, we met frozen snow and ice. Throughout the village there are many speed bumps making it an uncomfortable ride. Once out of Caldecote we joined the St Neots old road beside the A428, and still into the cold breeze, before turning off to go through Knapwell and Boxworth and then to the flyover on the A14. This left us with a couple of miles into Swavesey and the Baptist Chapel and, of course, one of our favourite coffee stops. Already in residence must have been a further nine or ten cyclists thus justifying our ringing in advance so that the ladies of the church, whose turn it was to be the volunteers, a chance to make enough cakes. They certainly did their stuff as there was a fine selection of cakes from which to choose.

Swavesey

Needless to say there was no particular rush to move on, but eventually we left the chapel at about 11.30 for the next leg of our journey to St. Neots. Our next village was Fen Drayton followed by our second crossing of the A14 at the Fenstanton flyover and then on to Hilton. Still into the cold wind we pressed on through to Graveley where we turned towards Croxton and went past the eight new wind turbines installed just outside Graveley.


Near Toseland

By now the sun was having the desired effect and we were all grateful for its warmth as well as no longer riding directly into the wind. From Croxton we were now heading south before arriving in Abbotsley and then, finally, St. Neots where we arrived at 1.20pm with 35 miles to our credit.

Abbotsley

Abbotsley

We stopped for lunch at the Ambience Cafe, although Jacob and Rupert rode just up the road to their favourite fish and chip shop!

St Neots

When we set off again at 2.20pm we retraced our route out of the town before heading for Gamlingay which we entered through the Cinques. By now, of course, the wind was entirely in our favour and we had a pleasant ride from Gamlingay, through the Hatleys to Croydon Hill. Along here we saw a green woodpecker in the fields outside Hatley St George and, although some daffodils are out, it looks like it’s going to be slow progress into Spring. After sailing down Croydon Hill we turned into the village itself and then through Arrington and followed by the Wimpole Estate. This just left us with Orwell and Barrington (Chapel Hill) and the completion of the day’s efforts back at Haslingfield, and this gave us a regulation Thursday ride of 58 miles. Our thanks to David for a good trip round, making yet another enjoyable day out. Edward Elmer


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