Thursday, 14 November 2013

14 Nov: Thursday ride to Swavesey and Houghton

Edward writes: Another Thursday and this time some fairly typical autumn weather. This morning broke with a brisk wind rushing in from a cold north west and this was always going to make the morning’s effort out to Houghton a stiff test as we would be riding into the wind. Nevertheless, thirteen riders found their way out to Haslingfield for today’s ride which was to be led by David W.


We left Haslingfield into the stiff wind by way of Harlton which brought us to the A604 where we crossed over into the Eversdens and then on to Bourn and Kingston. The road between these two villages is undulating and quite exposed and the wind when it came across us made control of the bike at times quite hazardous. From Kingston we went down to the B1046 before turning to go through Caldecote and this road has a large number of humps, so certainly they mean to restrict speeding motorists in this village.


Once through this village, at Adrian’s suggestion, we went through Childerley Gate and for half of its length the road is tarmac and the remainder, despite all the recent rain, is still a fairly reasonable riding surface. This brought us out in Boxworth and then we crossed over the A14 which left us with the mile or so into Swavesey and the Baptist Chapel for our coffee break.


At the chapel we found another six or seven riders already there enjoying the fare on offer. This time the cakes were provided by the Women's Institute and who can resist home-made cakes made by the ladies of the WI! This remains one of our favourite coffee stops.


After coffee it was time to go out in the cold and we split into two groups with one group taking a shorter route to Houghton whilst the main group went along to Fen Drayton and Fenstanton. Once or twice Adrian diverted from the main course to enjoy a couple of his off-road tracks and left us finally in Hilton to make his own way to Houghton. The main group went from Hilton to Graveley which meant a long stint into the wind and a final climb up the hill into Graveley where the wind turbines were earning their keep. Although it was a cold wind this didn’t detract from the spectacular autumn colours which are there for all to enjoy.


We climbed out of Graveley and again we felt the wind at its strongest as we descended into Offord Darcy followed by Offord Cluny. We now ran parallel to the railway and even in the short time we rode alongside it three inter-city expresses hurtled by. After the climb from Offord Cluny we descended into Godmanchester which is a busy town and still has some fine medieval buildings. As we left the town beside the former Cambride-Huntindon railway we entered Hemingford Abbots and then turned to cross the meadows, past Houghton Mill and finally The Three Horseshoes for our lunch stop.

Inside the pub we were welcomed by an extremely hot log fire making those closest to it feel pretty toasty. We all enjoyed a good lunch and rest for an hour before starting for home at about 2.15pm. We left Houghton along the recently surfaced cycleway into St Ives where some headed for Cambridge down the busway whilst we left to go through Fenstanton and then took a leisurely ride through Conington and Knapwell. With the wind on our backs, even at our leisurely pace, we soon got back to the St Neots old road where we turned into Bourn. This left us to ride through Toft, Comberton and Barton before finishing the ride at the Coton roundabout after a ride of 54 miles. Our thanks to David for another successful Thursday ride. Edward Elmer

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