Thursday, 11 July 2013

11 Jul: Thursday ride to Ashwell and Sandy

Edward writes: Altogether twelve cyclists met at Haslingfield Green for today’s expedition out to Sandy under the guidance of Jacob. This being Jacob’s ride anyone in the know would expect some off-road work and so it proved. The weather was surprisingly chilly and overcast with a light northerly breeze but this was expected to change as the morning wore on. Not surprisingly we started with a climb up Chapel Hill and this was followed by the descent into Barrington.

From Barrington we did a loop through Orwell and back past Malton Golf Club to bring us back to Meldreth before turning for the climb up to Kneesworth. We were soon passing through Bassingbourn and another loop, this time round Abington Piggots, before rejoining the main road in Litlington. We now moved into more undulating countryside as we made our way through Steeple Morden and lastly Ashwell for our coffee stop.

Ashwell

Ashwell

Ashwell

In Ashwell we raided Day’s for our coffee and cake and took them down to the little green and either sat there or in the beautiful little public garden just opposite. Already on the green were Greta, Mike S, Brian M, Peter W and Mike B. By now it was sunny and it was very pleasant to sit outside basking in the warmth of the sun. As ever it was time to move on and the usual departures took place but still about a dozen carried on to Sandy. Very shortly after leaving Ashwell we were joined by Rupert and Sarah who had been attending a meeting with the Deputy Police Commissioner to discuss CTC’s road justice campaign. We were now on the four mile cross country route to Edworth and needless to say all around was looking splendid; the wild flowers on the verges are now decorated with scabious and knapweed and mignonette.

Eyeworth

As we approached Sutton expectation was that we would be due some off-road work and sure enough we were soon going through the woods which are between the B1042 and the Everton to Sandy road. Once on this road, which is only a mile or so outside Sandy, we turned right for Everton followed by the exhilarating Tempsford Hill where speeds of approaching 40 mph can be achieved. This brought us to the East Coast Main Line where we only had to wait for one high speed train to pass before heading off over the A1 and into Blunham. Here Jacob had plotted off-road number two but this time he didn’t have so many followers, so he took about half the group through whilst the others went into Blunham and took the former railway back into Sandy for our lunch stop with a very pleasant 35 miles on the clock.

Croydon

East Hatley

After lunch our route home was fairly direct which meant going back to Everton and then into Gamlingay. Going into the slight northerly breeze we left Gamlingay and went through Hatley St George and East Hatley before the descent of Croydon Hill and then Arrington before reaching the grounds of Wimpole Hall. We rode through the grounds and then came face to face with off-road number three. This took us out of the grounds of Wimpole into a very nice ride on a tree-lined track which took about 15 minutes to negotiate and came out on the A603 as it passes Orwell. It was only Orwell, Barrington, another climb of the hill, and back into Haslingfield where the ride ended after an extremely pleasant 55 miles. Thanks to Jacob for his work in designing the route and even the off-roads were enjoyable! Edward Elmer


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