Thursday, 31 October 2013

31 Oct: Thursday ride to Croydon and Biggleswade

Edward writes: Last Thursday when we had such fabulous weather we thought our luck would soon run out. Not this Thursday, though. Certainly we didn't see the sun all day, but this first ride after the clocks had gone back proved to be another outstanding day's cycling. The day was mild and virtually windless and the early morning rain didn't deter anybody. In fact when we left Haslingfield we had twenty riders in attendance. Adrian was today's leader and by necessity we split into two groups as we made our way out of the village towards Harlton.

Haslingfield

The early morning rain, combined with the mud from the farm vehicles, made for some very dirty roads in this early part of the ride. We soon arrived at the A603 and then through both Little and Great Eversden before reaching Bourn, where we turned for Longstowe.

Kingston

Our coffee stop today was in Croydon which is fairly close to Haslingfield, so Adrian introduced a loop via Little Gransden and up to Gamlingay before turning back to reach Croydon by way of Hatley St George and East Hatley and descending Croydon Hill and the turning into Croydon to arrive at the Queen Adelaide at exactly 11 am.

Croydon

Needless to say there were other members already there and one count gave a total of twenty six, but the pub coped very well with the extra demands which were way over the estimate given when we booked the venue, and even a revised figure given en route. This is a very nice coffee stop which we have used once or twice recently but, sadly, the pub is up for sale and in fact it was being sold in London this very morning. We hope very much that the new owners will keep it as a going concern rather than convert it to housing. After a pleasant half hour it was time to leave and, with the usual comings and goings, there were still more than twenty as we moved off, again in two groups. We returned to Croydon Hill and finished the descent down to the A603 and used the little link road, which must be the worst-maintained road in Cambridgeshire, to join the road to Guilden Morden by way of Shingay.

Little Gransden

Little Gransden

We wended our way through Guilden and Steeple Morden before joining the open road to Ashwell and then through the farm roads to Loves Lane and on to Hinxworth where we crossed the A1 and the long descent into Langford, passing on the way 10 new wind turbines in the course of construction. Once in Langford it was just a short ride into Broom and Jordan's Mill for our lunch stop.

Guilden Morden

The restaurant here only opened this summer and is already proving very popular and, of course, being half-term week, was already very busy when we arrived at 1pm. Even so we didn't have to wait long and our only problem was finding somewhere to sit. After a good lunch we prepared to leave at 2pm and, as we had several riders from the Meldreth area, they formed their own group to make their own way home; this still left about seventeen to head back to Cambridge. Adrian took us through to Old Warden and through the delightful villages of Southill and Northill before turning to climb up to Moggerhanger to join the former Bedford to Cambridge railway and headed into Sandy.

Broom

With Adrian leading a little off-road work was inevitable and here was his opportunity, albeit only a fairly short stretch as we made our way into and through Sandy's industrial estate. This avoided the town centre and took us over the east coast rail line as we left the town and through the woods into Everton. Now we were back into familiar territory as crossed Gamlingay Heath and on to Waresley and then followed a frequently ridden ride back though Great Gransden, Caxton and Bourn.

Sandy

Sandy

A few more miles took us to through Toft and into Comberton where we effectively finished the ride as Adrian took a group back to Haslingfield whilst the rest of us continued through to Barton and the Coton roundabout to make our separate ways home. Those who went back to Haslingfield would have completed 67 miles and as with all of us lights were needed as our finishing time was just before 5pm. Our thanks to Adrian for another great ride and, as with last week's, one for the scrapbook. Edward Elmer


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