Sunday, 21 July 2013

21 Jun: Sunday afternoon ride to Ashwell

Tina writes: Ten riders gathered at Brookside, including new riders Leon and Roger, on a warm summer afternoon, though a light cloud cover made the heat feel less intense than the last two weekends.

Tina led the group down Trumpington Road, turning along Porson Road and Long Road to access the guided busway. There seemed to be a lot of cyclists out today both individuals and small groups, perhaps encouraged by the sunny weather or inspired by the prospect of a 2nd British TdF winner tonight!

We rode along the DNA path to Shelford and then on to Newton, doubling back to avoid a lengthy stretch of busy A10 to reach the turn to Haslingfield. The planned route continued through Haslingfield and over Chapel Hill, but there was ‘dissent in the ranks’, so in true democratic style we rode down the flat cycle path alongside the A10 to Barrington. We turned here towards Orwell, enjoying clear views across ripening wheatfields and grass verges liberally sown with blue scabious and purple knapweed.

From Orwell, we crossed the A603 and turned up the familiar entrance drive to Wimpole Hall. By now it was 3.15pm and becoming increasingly clear that we wouldn’t reach Ashwell for tea at 4pm, but as the cloud cleared and we enjoyed the sunshine, 4.30pm seemed a more realistic aim. Several riders called into the stable block for water refills and then as we were setting off again, Neil discovered a puncture.

Mike CC decided to ride up to the Hall for a close-up shot of some classic cars and hitched a lift back (with his bike!) on a golf buggy.

On the road again, we cycled across the estate to Arrington, then through Croydon and a quick freewheel downhill to the B1042. A pot-holed lane brought us out in Wendy, where theoretically it was a straightish road through to Ashwell. However we still had 7 miles to go so had to up the pace, just when the hot sun and mileage already ridden were taking their toll. Once through Guilden Morden, it was just 3 miles to Ashwell and we arrived as the day riders were preparing to leave, but received a warm welcome inside from the tea volunteers serving tea/coffee, cakes and scones. We lingered for at least half an hour, recharging legs and fuelling up on home-made goodies, finally making a move around 5.20pm.

On the way back through Guilden Morden, Mike CC, Jim and John sailed past our turning and we had to wait for them further down the road, but all continued to Shingay and onwards to Bassingbourn. Leon decided to catch the train home and he and Tina rode back to Royston, while the other riders continued on to Meldreth, Barrington and finally over Chapel Hill to Barton and cycleway into Cambridge.

This was my first ride as leader, so if there is a next time, I’ll modify my over-optimistic timings and try to avoid the sprint finish to tea! Total mileage: 48 miles. Tina Filby

Photos 2,3,5 by Roger Fowle

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