Nigel writes: Today was mild but breezy, with rain forecast for the afternoon. I therefore set out for Brookside with the intention of riding to coffee and then returning back home. At Brookside I was joined by Averil. Neil, Rupert, Paul and Rupert, who in the absence of an official leader acted as our leader today.
Rupert suggested we ride directly to coffee along the busway. We set off through the city centre, up Castle Hill and along Huntingdon Road. When we reached Girton Corner we turned right to Girton.
Just beyond Girton we turned right onto New Road for a few hundred yards before turning left onto the busway cycleway.
Once on the busway it was about ten miles to St Ives, and always this passed pleasantly and sociably.
When we arrived at St Ives we stopped for coffee at the Riverside Tea Rooms. Already there were Mick and Edward, and we spent a pleasant half-hour chatting in a corner by the window, with the medieval bridge just outside (see photo).
Afterwards there was not much interest in continuing on to lunch at Grafham Water so we all returned back to Cambridge. However just as we were getting ready to depart Adrian arrived followed by Sarah and Andy, who I think were planning to carry on.
Whilst we were having coffee someone had mentioned that the Thicket Path to Houghton had been converted into a proper cycleway, so we went and tried it out. After a short unfinished section at the start this is complete and provides a lovely smooth surface, for now at least (since it will surely be gradually undermined over time by tree roots). The final section to Houghton is as bumpy and muddly as ever, and it was unclear whether there were any plans to improve it.
At Houghton Mill we turned south and crossed the Ouse meadows to Hemingford Abbots. There we turned back east to Hemingford Grey and Fenstanton. We used the subway at Fenstanton to cross under the A14 and rode south through Conington and Knapwell to the old A428, where we turned east once more for the final ten miles back through Hardwick and Coton to Cambridge. There was quite a headwind, which made cycling hard work but had the benefit of staving off the approaching rain from the west. It was still dry when I arrived home just after 1pm, having cycled 38 miles.
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