Edward writes: This morning, somewhat against expectations, we woke to a crisp, dry and sunny day which later was to prove a superb day for cycling. This encouraged sixteen members out for the ride led by Tony out to Barley via the recently refurbished Dorrington’s. As usual with a large group we tried, but without too much success, to cycle in two groups. That notwithstanding we left Hauxton and rode facing a very low sun through Little Shelford and on to Newton where we turned to complete the loop back to Whittlesford.
We crossed the busy A505 and took the back road at the end of the airfield down to Duxford and then on to Ickleton where we began the two mile plus traverse of Coploe Hill. As is the custom we reassembled at the top and took a short breather. On the way up we came across Mike B who was having a recurring puncture problem and was making his way home. The only time we felt the wind to any extent was the downhills from the top of Coploe Hill and this gave a distinct chill factor, but with the bright sunny day visibility gave vast clear views whichever way we looked.
We reached Catmere End and turned towards Littlebury Green and branched off for another climb before the fast descent to Wendons Ambo. This left us with a mile or so along the A1383 into Newport and coffee at Dorrington's.
This is a much improved coffee stop and has very nice and comfortable seating making this a very pleasant stop, and in cold weather makes it very difficult to get reluctant riders going again. At coffee we found Greta, who had cycled out on her own, Peter W, Vic F and Doug. Eventually it was time to go again and we rode out through Wicken Bonhunt and then to Clavering.
Unfortunately the six back riders lost sight of the leading group and took a wrong turning in Clavering and went via Langley Lower Green, Little Chishill and Shaftenhoe End for our journey to Barley and the Chequers pub. The main group went via Brent Pelham, Anstey and Nuthampstead to reach Barley. Those in the main group had a slightly longer route and consequently arrived about fifteen minutes after we arrived.
For both of our rides we all enjoyed brilliant sunshine and despite being winter the countryside looked its seasonal best. At least we were all together again and were very well looked after by the landlady who appeared to be working on her own; in fact she did a very good job and this pub should certainly be borne in mind for future rides.
At 2 pm we left the pub and took the direct route home down the B1368 from Barley to Flint Cross, which is all downhill, everybody seemed to have the bit between their teeth and let rip and we all enjoyed nice long stretches at 25 plus mph. We soon reached Flint Cross and crossed the A505 before heading for Fowlmere, Thriplow, Newton, Little Shelford and finally Great Shelford where the ride ended. Those who did the shorter ride via Langley did 39 miles and those who followed the correct route did 41 miles. We thank Tony for another great day out with fabulous weather and a great note to finish this year of Thursday rides. Next time we meet the days will have started to lengthen - but possibly colder! Edward Elmer
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