Thursday, 11 April 2013

11 Apr: Thursday ride to Hemingford Grey and Grafham

Edward writes: The weather for today’s ride out to Grafham Water in this two steps forward one step back spring was definitely of the one step back variety. Yesterday was gloriously spring like, but today it was overcast with drizzle hanging in the air, never amounting to much, but always there. Today Rupert was our leader and, well organised as he is, gave us a print-out of our route, a useful tool in the event of people losing contact.

Departure from Haslingfield Green

With thirteen riders we left Haslingfield Green by going out to Harlton and then over the A603 through the Eversdens to Kingston. Although it was dull and overcast there was very little, if any, wind and so progress was quite quick. We joined the Caldecote road which is all uphill and at the top there are all the speed bumps to contend with, so not a very comfortable ride. Along here David M had a puncture and there were many hands available to help him get underway again. Once through Caldecote some of our number went through Childerley Gate to Boxworth which provided some off-road cycling, whilst the remainder went along the old St Neots old road as far as the Knapwell turning and we all regrouped at the cross roads for Conington and Elsworth.

Puncture in Caldecote

We went along through Conington and then into Fenstanton and the underpass of the A14. This just left three or four miles to go past St. Ives and finally to Hemingford Grey and our coffee stop at the Garden Room. This is a new stop for the Thursday group and it was a great success with a friendly staff of volunteers and cakes also baked by more of their volunteers. Earlier in the week we had called them to say that we were coming and this was much appreciated; it's certainly an establishment we should be visiting in the future.

Boxworth to Knapwell

After coffee, with our numbers at about fifteen, we set off again to go through Hemingford Abbots, over the Common which runs parallel to the old railway, and into Godmanchester and the busy roads of Huntingdon before emerging on the Brampton road away from the hurly-burly and once more quiet country roads. There then followed a pleasant ride from Brampton to Grafham. It’s nice to report that at last all the daffodils seem to be in full flower, and now that forsythia is also coming out there was some colour to brighten up an otherwise dreary day. What a pity the sun didn’t shine and give that final flourish.

Brampton to Grafham

When we arrived at Grafham the group split into two with one group going the half mile or so to our lunch stop at the visitor centre and the other group opting for an eight mile trip round the reservoir before arriving back at the visitor centre. When, finally, we were all together it was nearly 2 pm and it looked very much like a late finish was in the offing. After lunch and the obligatory visit to the bike shop we began our journey home. Now we started to face the little wind there was and for the first mile or two felt decidedly cold. We soon warmed-up and we passed through Buckden over the railway and into Offord Cluny where the group split again.

Offord Cluny

Rupert led a mini group back to St Ives and back home via the busway whilst the remaining eleven chose to return via Graveley. In Graveley the wind turbines looked a little mysterious as they whirled slowly in the misty drizzle. From Graveley we headed up to Croxley where we crossed the busy A428 and then it was Great Gransden followed by Caxton and Bourn. This soon brought us back to Barton and the Coton roundabout where we separated and the ride was at an end giving us 63 miles with the time at 5.15 pm. Thanks to Rupert for another good Thursday ride. Edward Elmer

View this approximate route on a larger map

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