Nigel writes: Today was sunny and very mild. Perfect weather for a December bike ride. There were seven of us at Brookside: Jeremy, Mike CC, Ian W, Rupert, Zhiqing, Conrad and me. Conrad was our leader today, and he led us south out of Cambridge along the busway and DNA path to Great Shelford where we turned onto the road to Little Shelford.
The direct route to our coffee stop in Ickleton would have got us there far too early so when we reached Little Shelford we turned right and rode west through the village until we reached the junction with B1368.
We followed the B1368 south to Newton and then turned off for the loop through Thriplow before rejoining the B1368 at Fowlmere.
Just beyond Fowlmere we turned left off the B1368 and ride south across the A505 to Chrishall Grange. From here a long climb took us up to Elmdon from where we had a fast descent to Ickleton. We reached the cafe at Ickleton Barns at 11am, where we enjoyed coffee and slices of cake with several other members who had cycled there directly.
After coffee we rode on south over Coploe Hill to Catmere End.
From Catmere End we continued south to the edge of Littlebury Green where we turned onto the narrow lane which climbs the hill past the transmitting masts before descending to the B1039 near Wendens Ambo.
We continued south through Arkesden and Clavering to Berden, where we turned west towards the Pelhams, Hare Street and Buntingford. It was a lovely morning but our route was relatively hilly and we also had a slight headwind to contend with. Nevertheless we made good progress and arrived at the Buntingford Coffee Shop where a reserved table was waiting for us.
This was my first visit to Buntingford Coffee Shop and I was most impressed with the quality of the food. I ordered a baked potato with goats cheese and roasted vegetables and it was delicious. After a while we were joined by Mike S who had been enjoying lunch in another cafe nearby and now joined us for coffee, and a few minutes later Adrian arrived with two others.
After lunch we left the cafe to find the sun still shining brightly and the temperature still very mild. Our route took us north-east to Wyddial and then to Nuthampstead. Refreshed from our meal, and with the wind behind us at last, we flew along these beautiful lanes. The morning had been surprisingly hilly, but this afternoon we only had one significant hill, from Shaftenhoe End up to Great Chishill. From there a long descent took us down to Flint Cross from where we had a flat (and wind-assisted) run along the B1368 to Fowlmere. We turned left towards Shepreth and arrived at Teacake Cafe at 3.30pm exactly. Perfect timing from our leader, Conrad.
As usual, Teacake Cafe gave us a warm welcome. Already at the cafe there were three members who had made their own way there and after a few minutes we were joined by John F and the afternoon ride.
Whilst we were having tea the sun set, and when we stepped outside afterwards the eastern sky was a glorious blaze of orange. We turned on our lights and set off for Cambridge via Barrington, Haslingfield and Barton. By the time we reached Cambridge it was completely dark. I reached home just after 5pm, having cycled 67 miles.
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