Sunday, 6 October 2013

6 Oct: Afternoon ride to Royston

Graham writes: With the promise of Tina's home baking and a gloriously sunny Sunday we had 12 riders for this afternoon ride.

I was not sure what the group pace would be like so I had the rough idea of heading west then south and adjusting the plan depending on how we got on. Once out of Cambridge by Barton Road we proceeded to said village and then made a left turn towards Haslingfield.

The riders await 'the off' from Brookside

The wind was not strong and so the pace was good. Along this road there was a strange smell in the air which made us wonder what the fields could have been treated with. We turned right in the village and made the routine climb up to the top of Chapel Hill.

Regrouping on Chapel Hill

After a brisk descent to Barrington we turned left to Foxton. Before we got there we encountered some malfunctioning traffic lights. Confusingly they were stuck on red for our side of the road, and not working at all at the other end of the roadworks around the corner! We safely negotiated this and then quickly crossed the railway line and A10 at Foxton Station.

We then cycled via Fowlmere and Flint Cross to Barley where we paused to decide what to do next. We had kept up a very good pace and reached the turn to Royston with half an hour to spare. Therefore we started on an extra loop.

I had thought about attempting to get across to Therfield and then make our descent but the next climb to Barkway had taken a little longer than expected. Simon's local knowledge proved invaluable at this point and he recommended a route north along Royston Road which would then meet up again with the B1039. This was a really good suggestion and with the hard work done climbing to the radio mast we enjoyed some very good scenery and the staggered drop to Royston and to Tina's house.

The day riders had beaten us to the 4 o'clock stop (again!) but tea was just being served and fortunately Tina had embargoed the cakes! There was plenty to go around and we spent the best part of an hour enjoying the hospitality and conversation.

Tea at Tina's

The sun was still shining at this point and I really wanted to make the most of the afternoon. The majority of the riders were all content with making their way up the Old North Road to Bassingbourn and then to head north east to Cambridge. I had hatched another plan during tea and felt my legs could just about handle some more hills. In essence my plan was to cycle north east and then north.

The sun was on my back and the roads were very quiet so I made good progress back to Barley and then on to Great Chishill where the windmill was in full illumination and deserved a stop to take a photograph.

Great Chishill windmill in the early-evening light

From here I continued quickly to Heydon and then turned right before Chrishall Grange to bring me to Ickleton. From here it was a simple matter of heading through Hinxton and Sawston before the off-road route past Addenbrookes Hospital and into Cambridge again. I had cycled a very enjoyable 47 miles. Graham Hughes


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