Edward writes: The continuing heatwave didn't deter a dozen riders who assembled for today's ride out to Much Hadham. Today was an experiment as Nick J had volunteered to lead an alternative to our usual fare by taking a group by train to London with the intention of cycling back and meeting the main party at Much Hadham for lunch and then for us all to ride back to Cambridge together. For the main group we were led by Dave Ms who was making his debut as a ride leader.
At 9.30 am we left Hauxton, into Little Shelford and then via Newton, Thriplow and Fowlmere to the A505. Unusually, this road wasn’t too busy and we were across in good time to make our way to Chrishall Grange and then the first of the day’s climbs up to the regular regrouping spot at the Heydon and Elmdon turning. We turned to go through Heydon and then on to Great Chishill and the first opportunity to appreciate the wonderful views of the countryside from these high points of the county.
Although we’ve had a couple of weeks of this current hot spell we now seem a million miles from the terrible weather we had to tolerate during that cold spring. It’s also sobering to note that in a week or so the harvest will have started in earnest and the fields will change again.
From Great Chishill we went along the undulating roads to Shaftenhoe End and this soon brought us to The Woodman in Nuthampstead for our first stop of the day. As the weather was so pleasant, not quite so sultry as yesterday, we were able to sit out in the garden along with Geoff and Greta who had made their own ways to Nuthamstead.
After coffee we continued on through to Anstey and then Meesden, Brent Pelham and Furneux Pelham before beginning what appears to be an extended downhill with a following wind through the tiny hamlets of Gravesend and Albury before reaching the A120 at Little Hadham and the regulation lengthy wait for the traffic lights to change - at least there is a sign warning of what to expect which is OK for cyclists wanting a breather, but maybe not so for some of the more impatient motorists.
Once over it was just a couple of miles down to Much Hadham and The Bull which was to be our lunch stop and 29 miles in our legs. The Bull has a very large garden and this was ideal for us and the food on offer was very good and promptly served which gave us a very nice lunch break. Unfortunately we had a message from the London riders that they did not expect to arrive for more than an hour which meant that we would not see them; however we were assured that if they arrived before 2.30pm they would get lunch. So let’s hope that was indeed the case.
On the return leg we retraced our steps back to the Stocking Pelham turning and this took us through Berden and then Clavering.
Although we were travelling into the breeze it was actually very welcome as it gave us a degree of cooling which was just as well because after Arkesden we took the steep climb up to Littlebury Green and then on to Coploe Hill.
Although requiring some effort the views at the top, especially at this time of year, are stunning. As we had made good time we decided that a cup of tea at Ickleton Barns would help finish off the day. After tea it just left us to go through Hinxton, over the ford, Duxford and Whittlesford and then into Great Shelford where we ended the ride after an extremely satisfying 57 miles. We thank David for a great ride and hope that there are more rides like this in his locker. Edward Elmer
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