Sunday, 18 August 2013

18 Aug: All-day ride to St Neots, Thurleigh and Over

Gareth writes: The BBC forecasted rain showers from mid-afternoon (which did not transpire) and a strong westerly wind (which did). Accordingly, the ride westwards to coffee in St Neots was pretty slow: we all got our heads down and stuck together for shelter. A kestrel looking for prey near the Papworth bypass was struggling to make westward progress, and the wind turbines at Cotton Farm near Toseland were turning briskly. We picked up several riders at morning coffee, and it was a group of ten that I led out of St Neots through Duloe.

Conrad punctured near Staploe, and since I planned to do a loop to Ravensden in the south, I split the ride, leaving Adrian and David to go with Conrad direct to lunch, and taking the remaining seven by a roundabout route through Wilden, Ravensden and Thurleigh. As we approached Thurleigh, we saw a group of riders heading south towards Robin's Folly. This was, we think, the St Neots Sustrans Rangers.

It's only the second time we've been to the Thurleigh Farm Centre. This farm café is well worth visiting, with bike stands, freshly made sandwiches, and a salad bar.

Near Bedford Aerodrome

After lunch, I took the group north on the perimeter road round the end of Bedford Aerodrome. This was formerly a research site of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, but now much of it is a motor racing circuit. Along this road, Conrad punctured again, poor chap, and this time we waited for him.

Off-road near Grafham Water

I led the group north through Keysoe, Kimbolton, Stonely, and along the off-road path around the north side of Grafham Water. With the wind now behind us, we made good progress through Buckden, Offord Cluny, Godmanchester, the Hemingfords, and St Ives. We took the busway cyclepath to Swavesey, passing many other cyclists, and arrived at Mike's house in Over at 16:30.

Grafham Water

Bridge over the Great Ouse at Offord Cluny

Mike and his wife prepared a most enjoyable tea, and we ate it in their garden in the afternoon sunshine. Many thanks.

View CTC ride to St Neots, Thurleigh and Over, 2013-08-18 in a larger map

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