Edward writes: This is springtime and this is England so it should surprise no one that the weather is going to change on an almost daily basis. For those who were out on Tuesday they would have cycled in glorious weather, but today, although not cold, was dreary and damp following overnight rain and with more in the forecast. Twelve assembled at the start in Hauxton for our ride out to Braughing by way of Nuthampstead, and this under the leadership of Mick C. Just before we left the local vicar arrived to see Greta, and who knows, give us a blessing for the day ahead.
There was virtually no wind as we set out through Little Shelford and on to Newton and then to Thriplow (only a week to go before the daffodil weekend and plenty of work for the flowers to do), and then on through Fowlmere and up to Flint Cross on the A505. There was not much traffic and we all quickly crossed over onto the road for Barley. However we took a left turning and climbed for two miles before arriving in Little Chishill where we waited for everyone to come together again.
This left us with the normally pleasant cross-country route via Shaftenhoe End and then to Nuthampstead. On a sunny day this can be a great ride through some of the highest parts of the county, but not today as the cloud cover became lower and rain didn’t seem far away. It’s noticeable, too, the amount of work the farmers have done in recent weeks, finally being able to get on to their fields and make spring sowings. At Nuthampstead we turned into the The Woodman for coffee and the comfort of a real log fire.
After a comfortable and lengthy coffee break we set off again but the rain had started and only eight went on to Braughing with the remainder turning away at Anstey. The core of eight went on to Great Hormead, Little Hormead and Furneaux Pelham, all delightful country roads, before running downhill into Braughing and lunch at the Brown Bear. We had a pleasant break but afterwards half went home directly along the B1368 whilst the other half turned off this road at Hare Street and went back into the hills again for the climb up to Brent Pelham. By now the rain had that set-in feeling and showed no signs of stopping.
From Brent Pelham it was an easy ride, although into a bit of a breeze and the rain, before arriving at Clavering. We turned at The Cricketers towards Wicken Bonhunt and then into Arkesden. This route is still undulating and with a particularly stiff climb from Wendons Ambo to Littlebury Green and then Catmere End. This left our old friend Coploe Hill before arriving in Ickleton where a refreshment break was called for and a stop at Riverside Barns. Here we were greeted by the sad news that, owing to a rent increase, this favourite cafe is to close. Therefore this cafe will be closed in two weeks’ time. We spent about three-quarters of an hour here before leaving to find the rain a bit heavier, so we rapidly made our way home via Hinxton, Duxford, Whittlesford and finally Great Shelford. In all we covered 52 miles, and of course we thank Mike for a good ride despite the weather. Edward Elmer
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