Conrad writes: At 8.15am I was getting ready to leave for Brookside to join the all-day ride when the heavens opened and a heavy downpour got me thinking that I would be better off staying at home until the rain stopped and then making my own way to coffee.
As anyone who has waited at Brookside for the start of an all-day ride would know, what I just wrote was half a lie. I am chronically incapable of leaving the house before 8.35 am which would see me at Brookside with enough time to talk to the other club-riders.
As it happened, my tardiness in getting ready was rewarded because the rain stopped at 8.30 am, leaving me enough time to throw a packed lunch together, pump the tires and sprint to Brookside where I found Eva, Ian, Lynn, Li and Neil S. Steve G and Graham joined us soon after and Eva led us down the usual way to Stow Cum Quy, Bottisham and the Swaffhams.
Somewhere along the way, Mike Cousins and Ed caught up with us so it was quite a large group by now but thankfully, there was even less traffic than usual along the Fen roads. Credit must be given to Eva for leading us on a route to Wicken Fen that minimised mud splatter but I suspect most of us will be spending some part of the next few days before Christmas cleaning our bikes.
At coffee, we were joined by Cheryl and her son Johnny, Vic, Mike CC and Adrian. By this time, the sun was out and it looked like it was going to be a glorious day weather-wise. Eva led us through Soham and the delightfully-named Prickwillow to enter Ely from the west. I had never been on this route before so I was quite surprised to find three level crossings in quick succession at Queen Adelaide just outside Ely. Anyone know why this is the case?
At Ely, we had lunch at the Cutter's Inn while Li joined Cheryl and Johnny for some home-made sandwiches at Cheryl's house. We regrouped at 2pm and Eva led us out of Ely but northwards to Little Downham. I have to thank Eva for leading us via the path next to the Cathedral - I had never noticed this path before even though I have cycled past the Cathedral many times before.
From Little Downham we turned westwards directly into the wind and made slow progress through Coveney and then south towards Wilburton. We left Twenty Pence Road to take the quieter Long Drove into Cottenham, and from there it was straightforward to get to Histon where Neil and Sue were hosting home tea.
The wind had slowed us down considerably so we arrived 30 minutes late, just behind the afternoon ride. I didn't count but I am quite sure this was one of the best attended home teas in the short time I have been riding with the club. Many thanks to Neil and Sue for being so unflappable in the face of the cycling horde that had descended on their house.
I left early to visit my daughter's godparents and returned to Cambridge via the B1049. As I passed Brookside, my odometer read 63 miles. Conrad Chua
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