Today was yet another hot and sunny day, but a strong wind from the south-west kept temperatures comfortable. We were heading east, so this also gave us a tailwind for most of the morning. The first stage of today's ride was to Tubby T's cafe on the A143 near Stradishall in Suffolk. Gareth's route took us east by the usual route to Quy, Little Wilbraham and Six Mile Bottom and then up the hill towards Brinkley. I was expecting Gareth to take us the usual route via Brinkley, Carlton and Little Thurlow but when we reached the cross-roads by the woodland cemetery below Brinkley, Gareth unexpectedly took us left to Dullingham and from there through Woodditton, Kirtling and Cowlinge, a very welcome change along rather less familiar roads.
The high speeds and the small size of the group meant there were few opportunities for photographs, but at one point I managed to get ahead to take this one:
We arrived at the cafe to discover that it had changed hands and was now called simply Adam's. The service seemed slightly more efficient than before, but otherwise it remained the same as before, with the same menu of hearty fried food, the same very reasonable prices, and the same clientele of motor-cyclists. With a long day in prospect I ordered beans on toast and had a late breakfast.
Afterwards we set off again and continued east towards our planned lunch stop in Lavenham. We ride through Denston and Hawkedon to Hartest, where we ascended Hartest Hill. When we reached the top, Gareth suggested might be the steepest hill in Suffolk. (Subsequent
We continued east through Shrimpling Street to Cockfield. This is only about five miles from Lavenham and since it was still only about 11.30am we decided to make a big loop to the north-east through Felsham and Rattlesden before turning south to Lavenham.
When we reached Lavenham we purchased sandwiches at the co-op and sat in the sunshine in the main square (outside the historic Guildhall) to enjoy them.
After lunch we turned west towards our planned tea stop at West Wratting. We were now riding into the wind so we decided to ride directly there via Long Melford, Clare and Kedington. In the event the wind was not as bad as expected and we made good progress, arriving at Peter and Lesley's house at 3.15pm. We were 45 minutes early for this home tea but we were made very welcome and sat in their lovely garden with cups of tea whilst we waited for the others. At this point I had 81 miles on my Garmin.
Over the following hour or so we were joined by the main all-day ride, the afternoon ride, and several other members and friends, making today's home tea something of a general club social.
Gareth, Sarah and I were the first to arrive and we were probably the first to leave. Gareth and I took a rather roundabout route home via Dullingham, Swaffham Bulbeck and Quy, which added 19 more miles to my mileage so when I arrived home at about 6.15pm I had cycled a very satisfying 100 miles.
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