Sunday, 22 December 2013
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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Thursday, 19 December 2013
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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Tuesday, 17 December 2013
Making the most of the sunny and almost windless weather eleven went on for the extended ride, heading for the newly discovered Woodland café at Moggerhanger, a great addition to the list of worthy stopping places. The cycling routes around this area are excellent, with quiet roads, many cycle paths and lovely wooded scenery. Bowls of hot soup and door-step sandwiches prepared everyone for the ride home, via the grounds of Wimpole Hall.David Marsh
Nigel adds: Club members meet most Tuesdays at Waresley Park Garden Centre for coffee and cakes. These informal events are not formally organised by the club (and so are not shown in our rides list) and are addition to the regular Tuesday Senior Cyclists group gatherings shown in the rides list.
Sunday, 15 December 2013
I was the leader for today's short ride. We set off west out of Cambridge along Fen Causeway, across Lammas Land and then along the Barton Road cycleway to Barton. The weather was excellent: dry, mild and sunny.
On the way to Barton, Terry decided that he would be more comfortable riding at his own pace and left the group, making his own way to Bourn. This left the remainder of the group to continue to Haslingfield and then climb Chapel Hill to Barrington. The pace was gentle to accommodate the spread of capabilities within the group and, as always, we stopped periodically to make sure that no-one was left behind.
At Barrington we turned right for Orwell, crossed over the A603 and continued to the gates of Wimpole Hall, where the trees were wrapped in festive red wrapping. We paused briefly and had a short discussion of where we should go next. I had originally planned to ride west through the grounds of Wimpole Hall and on through Croydon to the Hatleys but we were going a bit slower than I had planned and I decided to shorten the ride. Our revised route took us north, along a lovely narrow lane that climbs up past the Wimpole Estate before turning west to meet the A1198.
We turned right onto the A1198 and followed it for two miles to Longstowe. I normally try to avoid this road but the traffic was light and we had no problems. At Longstowe we turned right onto the B1046 and a couple of miles later arrived at Bourn Golf Club. It was 11.50am and we settled down in the bar to enjoy some pre-lunch drinks and wait for everyone else to arrive before the meal itself was served at 12.30pm.
The Christmas Lunch itself was excellent. There were 38 members present in total, making this the largest club event for some time, and I think the strong turnout reflected the popularity of the venue which we were returning to after a year away.
Towards the end of the meal our Chairman and President stood up and announced the award of the Len Nice Memorial Trophy to Ian Wright and Julia Hochbach. This trophy is presented in recognition of service to the club, and there was general assent that Ian and Julia were worthy winners.
After the meal we returned to Cambridge along the B1046 through Toft, Comberton and Barton. I arrived home at about 3.30pm, having cycled a modest 28 miles.
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Thursday, 12 December 2013
Today’s ride leader was Averil and she led our group of ten out of Haslingfield and into Harston. Luckily we had only to cross the busy A10 which runs through the village to get on to the road into Newton. Before reaching Newton we were joined by Ian W and David Ms, who was none the worse for being toppled off his bike in last week's wind. Newton was followed by the trip round Thriplow to bring us to Fowlmere and the route past the RSPB reserve and out on to the road into Melbourn. We soon negotiated our way through this busy village and crossed into Meldreth where Mike CC incurred a puncture but none other than Mike C was hand to do the necessary. He despatched the rest of us to carry on; however, when we arrived at the turning for Malton Golf Club we were a little early so Avril put an extra loop in by going on into Shepreth and Barrington and then turning in Orwell to get back to the golf club where we arrived at 11 am. Already in residence were Doug, Greta and Mike S thereby bringing the number out to fifteen.
We had to wait a little while for the rather strange-flavoured coffee to arrive to the accompaniment of some quite loud music. After coffee we had to go back to Orwell where the back light fell of Sarah’s bike but plenty of help was on hand to put things right.
As we went past Wimpole the Shire horses were occupying the field making a lovely sight. The road along here and elsewhere, especially past the farm entrances, was very muddy as the farmers work to clear away the large piles of sugar beet still remaining in the fields.
This loop round Wimpole took us up to the B1198 where we turned south to head for the turning to Arrington and Croydon and of course the short, but very steep, climb up Croydon hill. This just left us with the five miles through both of the Hatleys to arrive at The Cock in Gamlingay at 1pm for our lunch stop.
The Cock is a very busy pub but we were made very welcome and the friendly staff dealt with our orders very efficiently. We also met Tony and Sue C, John F and also Richard M who incidentally had recommend to us the Woodland Cafe in Moggerhanger which appears on our runs list in January. We all enjoyed lunch, particularly Mike CC who treated himself to an all-day breakfast.
When we set off for the afternoon session at 2pm there was still a group of ten which made its way through Waresley and then for the relatively straight forward route home via Great Gransden, Caxton and Bourn. When we arrived in Barton five of us, Averil, Sarah, Craig, Mike C and me finished off the ride by going back to Haslingfield where we arrived at 3.10pm and a very pleasant 48 miles under our belts. Our thanks to Averilfor a splendid ride, the weather for being kind this week, and it was also nice to finish in daylight. Edward Elmer
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Sunday, 8 December 2013
At the Duxford War Memorial Howard and Jacob decided to take a low level route via Hinxton and Chrishall Grange whilst the rest of us went directly to Ickleton and then took the long climb to Elmdon into a strong head wind. After a brief pause by Elmdon Church as the clock struck three we headed downhill with a following wind to Shepreth via Chrishall Grange and Fowlmere arriving at the same time (3.45pm) as Jacob and Howard.
The day riders were comfortably seated already: we joined them for splendid cakes and tea/coffee. We were treated to a glorious sunset on the descent from Elmdon which was even more spectacular when we came out of the cafe at 4.15pm. Having been rather slow to get started and after fiddling with the lights I was cut off from the rest of the riders by the level crossing barrier and so had a solitary ride home. I could see the flashing rear lights on the ascent of Chapel Hill. I reached home at 5.15pm having cycled about 25 miles.
This was winter cycling at its best and Sunday afternoons have the benefit of very light traffic. I cannot be the only member to be disappointed that the Sunday afternoon rides are not continuing in January and February. John Ferguson
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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Saturday, 7 December 2013
Baby Florian was with us as usual, and I managed to capture a little smile on camera as we were about to set off.
Ian led us down Trumpington Road, past the Botanic Gardens and on to Long Road and the busway, which we followed as far as the turn to Addenbrooke's hospital.
The forecast had got it right this time: The weather was improving by the minute, and as we rode up the bridge over the railway just before the hospital, the remaining clouds gave way to a bright blue sky.
Taking the photo and then climbing the bridge slowly on my heavy bike, I had fallen behind a bit, but Ian and the others waited for me at the bottom of the bridge. We took the foot and cycle path across the fields before the hospital and then rode along Robinson Way and past the Rosie maternity hospital and birth centre. Shortly afterwards I parted company with the group. Ian and the rest carried straight on, through the barriers on to Red Cross Lane and further along Wort's Causeway and up the hill past the Beechwoods. I, however, turned left and followed the perimeter road around the hospital grounds to the roundabout on Hills Road, stopping briefly along the way to take the below self portrait.
I went the shortest route back to Fen Ditton, via Perne Road, arriving at 11 am with plenty of time to prepare food and drinks for the home coffee stop at our place. Tea cakes were toasted, mince pies warmed up in the oven, and the smells of baked goods and fresh coffee soon filled our kitchen. Our fabulous giant tea pot also came in handy once again.
While I got things ready, Flo sat on his playmat near the door, entertaining himself with some toys, and then greeted everyone as they arrived around 11:40 am.
We sat around the table in our dining room, merrily chatting, and Flo visibly enjoyed the company of so many visitors. After half an hour or so, people got ready to leave and Ian accompanied them on their way back into town. The cloudy morning had turned into a pleasantly sunny afternoon, and I hope everyone enjoyed the ride as well as the coffee stop. I am looking forward to more Saturday rides in the New Year! Julia Hochbach
Thursday, 5 December 2013
Our January and February rides lists are now available and they contain a big change to our Sunday rides. On most Sundays during these winter months there will just be one ride which we describe as a "Sunday winter ride". There won't be a separate afternoon ride.
This new Sunday winter ride will start at 9.30am at Brookside and will stop for morning coffee at about 11am before continuing on to lunch at about 1pm. Afterwards the ride will return directly to Cambridge, aiming to get back before dark without an afternoon tea stop.
If you currently join the afternoon rides, or simply prefer a shorter ride, you are encouraged to join the first leg of these winter rides and then return to Cambridge after the coffee stop. There won't be an official leader for the journey home from coffee, but if you check with the leader at the start we will try to arrange for you to have company on the ride home.
On one Sunday each month our normal pattern of separate all-day and afternoon rides will return, with tea stops in members' houses close to Cambridge. These home teas are always a popular treat and worth the short ride home back in the dark!
This change reflects the type of ride many people already enjoy and we hope the ride will appeal to new riders who don't like riding in the dark. For more information about our rides on Sundays see here.
The weather was especially obnoxious, cold with a stiff west north-westerly wind which was obviously going to make the morning’s ride, at least, very difficult.
Without much enthusiasm we finally set off from the comfort of Greta's house and headed out into Little Shelford where we turned full on into the wind for the ride up to Newton; it was fortunate that there are good hedgerows along here to give some protection.
After Newton we went via Thriplow into Fowlmere and out to the A505. Riding along this exposed road became very difficult so much so that David was blown off the road onto the grass verge. This was really the signal that we shouldn't carry on as there was never going to be any enjoyment in it. We all agreed that we should divert to the Riverside Barns Cafe in Ickleton for coffee and call it a day.
So, after we crossed the A505 we went along to Chrishall Grange and then turned into Ickleton Grange and therefore faced east for the first time so it least it gave us the pleasure of two miles with the wind running in from behind us. We arrived at the Barns at 11 am, rang The Crown and Falcon in Puckeridge to tell them we wouldn't be coming, and had an enjoyable three quarters of an hour there before setting off again into the bleak weather. Our route home was via Hinxton and Sawston, where we used the cycleway to go into Whittlesford and back into Great Shelford, which we reached at about 12.45 after 23 hard-fought miles. Cutting short the ride turned out to be a good decision as the afternoon developed into heavy rain! Edward Elmer
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Sunday, 1 December 2013
There was no pre-arranged leader today but that wasn't a problem and we quickly agreed a route at the start. At my suggestion we followed a loop to the east of Cambridge, along the river to Fen Ditton and then along High Ditch Road to Quy. There we turned south-east for the long road to Six Mile Bottom. The morning was dull and cloudy, and quite cold at first.
At Six Mile Bottom we turned right onto the main road for a few hundred yards before turning left onto the quiet lane that climbs the hill past Wadlow Farm to West Wratting. If I had been feeling a little cold at the bottom, I was fully warmed-up at the top!
At West Wratting we turned south, down the hill and over the A1307 to Bartlow . We continued to Ashdon (past the museum) and then climbed a gentle hill before descending once more into Saffron Walden.
We stopped for coffee at The Temeraire, where we found Edward, Mike S, Doug, Adrian and Mick, all of whom had ridden there directly. I ordered a large coffee and my first mince pie of the season.
After coffee only Conrad wanted to carry on to lunch in Thaxted. Everyone else, it seemed, needed to get home and do other things.
Conrad set off east towards Radwinter whilst the rest of us set south, up the High Street and then down the hill to Wendens Ambo. I was in the mood for a ride at my own pace so I went ahead and followed a fairly direct route home over the hill to Littlebury Green and then through Catmere End and over Coploe Hill to Ickleton. As I rode along the clouds parted and the sun came out, turning a dull but mild autumn morning into a beautiful sunny and very mild afternoon. I briefly wondered whether cutting short the ride had been a good idea, but it was too late to change my mind now. From Ickleton I took a short diversion via Hinxton to Duxford and then along the familar road to Whittlesford and the Shelfords.
When I reached Cambridge city centre I passed John E going the other way to Brookside for the afternoon ride. However for me today's ride was almost complete, and I arrived back home at 1.20pm, having cycled 48 miles.Nigel Deakin (Nigel's GPS track is below).
Conrad adds: After coffee, I was the only one going to lunch. So while everyone else turned right from the Temeraire to return to Cambridge, I turned left and then right at the traffic lights at the bottom of the hill.
Thaxted is not far from Saffron Walden so I decided to do a loop via Radwinter and the Sampfords. I had intended to go as far as Finchingfield and then the Bardfields but just before Finchingfield, I saw a sign that said Thaxted so I turned right. After going through several very quiet back lanes, I reached Thaxted at 1230pm. It was still quite early and as I had packed my own lunch, I decided to keep cycling to Debden and eat my lunch there.
This meant climbing two hills to get out of Thaxted and into Debden, where I found the village store closed. No matter as I ate my pita brand sandwiches on a bench just off the road. I then had a decision to make. It was only 1 pm and I didn't fancy cycling all the way back to Cambridge without making an attempt to meet the afternoon riders. So I had to find a route that would take me two and a half hours to get to Ickleton.
I decided to head towards Clavering via Newport. This section was not the best route, with several climbs on the B road and the setting sun in the eyes of drivers behind me. At Clavering, I decided to get off the B1038 and go south to Berden, Stocking and Furneux Pelham, then onto the Hormeads, where I turned back towards Cambridge.
The section of the B1038 to Brent Pelham was much more pleasant and it was more quiet lanes to Langley. By this time, I was flagging but the setting sun to my left created such a beautiful landscape that I found the motivation to carry on through Duddenhoe End and up Essex Hill into Elmdon. Then the highlight of the ride was cresting the hill out of Elmdon to see a family of three deer cross the road. They were gone before I could get my phone out to take a photo.
The descent into Ickleton is one of my favourite stretches and I arrived at the Riverside Barns at 3:30 pm to find Keith, Roger, Leslie, the two Neils and John. The weather was pleasant enough to sit outside although we quickly felt the dropping temperature once the sun had set.
I returned to Cambridge by the most direct way with Keith. Roger and Leslie were going to Babraham Park and Ride, while the rest were returning to Cambridge via Hinxton. I got home at 4:45pm having cycled 83 miles. It was much more than I had planned but it was worth it for the good weather. Conrad Chua (Conrad's GPS track is below).
View Nigel's GPS track (Cambridge to Saffron Walden and back) on a larger map
View Conrad's GPS track (Cambridge to Saffron Walden, Thaxted and Ickleton and back) on a larger map