Nigel writes: We're now over two weeks into what is apparently the longest period of hot and dry weather that we've had since 2006. Whatever the statistics, today was yet another searingly hot day, with the temperature in Cambridge reaching 29.6C at 3.30pm this afternoon. As I rode to Brookside for the 6.30pm start of tonight's evening ride the temperature had fallen to 26.1C, still uncomfortably hot for a bike ride. When I arrived at the meeting point I found John E already waiting and we were soon joined by Neil and Jim, making five in all.
Tonight's ride was a simple anti-clockwise loop. We set off south-west out of Cambridge along the Barton Road cycleway to Barton, where we turned south onto the road to Haslingfield. We then climbed Chapel Hill and dropped down the other side to Barrington. It really was uncomfortably hot, though it was better to keep moving and enjoy a cooling breeze than to stop and bake in the still air. It was also quite humid, and as we continued through Shepreth to Fowlmere we encountered large puddles on the road caused by a localised downpour earlier.
We crossed the A505 to Chrishall Grange and turned onto Royston Lane for the very quiet but rather bumpy switchback road towards Coploe Hill. In several places we noticed that the tarmac had melted and been torn off by a passing tractor, whilst in others the melting of the surface had made it smoother than it was previously.
After climbing Coploe Hill and dropping down to Ickleton it was just a few further miles through Hinxton and Sawston to Stapleford, where we stopped for drinks at The Three Horseshoes.
This pub has a new name and a landlord (it was previously a somewhat disreputable pub called The Longbow, which we visited on an evening ride in June 2010). In its new incarnation it seems well suited for our needs: good beer, a decent menu of light meals for under £10, and most importantly bowls of chips for £3. We agreed to come here again in the autumn, when its proximity to Cambridge will prove useful.
Afterwards we returned to Cambridge via Great Shelford, the DNA path and the guided busway to the station. By now it had cooled down to about 23C, cool enough to be comfortable. In any case we didn't have far to go and I arrived home just before 10pm, having cycled 31 miles.
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