Edward writes: Another Thursday ride but this didn’t bring any change to the wet weather, just another day like last Thursday. Then we abandoned the ride at coffee, but this week we seemed to be made of sterner stuff and most of those who started completed the full circuit and stayed out all day. When we met at Haslingfield, under overcast skies we found nine cyclist had convened for our ride out to Gamlingay with lunch at a new venue in Moggerhanger. It was also a first for Sarah who was making her debut as a ride leader and she might have wished for the weather to have been more generous.
We left Haslingfield for an immediate climb up Chapel Hill and at the top it was easier to realise how murky the conditions were as visibility was not at all good. We now followed the route out of Barrington to Shepreth and Meldreth, where we were joined by Nick, before the turn and climb up to Kneesworth and Basingbourn. By now the day had developed into a steady drizzle or light rain which it was to maintain all the way to lunch. We left Basingbourn and made our way out to Shingay and this took us onto a short road which links to the B1042. This is indeed a short road and probably to the local authority of low priority but is in such a shocking state that it would be an embarrassment to a third-world country. We headed west for a short distance on the B1042 before turning for the stiff climb up Croydon Hill which gave us the five miles through the Hatleys before arriving in Gamlingay at exactly 11 am and a new coffee stop of LJ’s Sandwich Bar.
When the runs list was planned we had intended to go to the Crafty Cup Cake but it was no longer open which necessitated the change to LJ’s. This is a small but very friendly and welcoming establishment and we expected that we would have to sit outside on the little patio, but our arrival seemed to prompt an early return to work for the regulars and we were all able to squeeze in out of the wet and cold. Coffee and teas were served plus a number of very welcome bacon sarnies.
After coffee four decided to return home but this left seven to go on including Bill who had cycled over from Ely to join us. We left Gamlingay via the Cinques and joined the Heath Road which took us into Everton and of course a rapid descent of Tempsford Hill, although today there would be no speed heroics.
We crossed the main east coast railway and for once we were not stopped - it’s not unusual to wait up to ten minutes at this crossing. After we had crossed the A1 this took us into Blunham and from here we took a new route up to Great Barford and as we rode near to the river it was apparent how close this is to major flooding. When we arrived at the A603 we had another pleasant surprise and didn’t go the quickest way to Moggerhanger but instead went along to Willington and Cople where we finally turned for Moggerhanger and the Woodland Cafe. This is the first time this has been used and it is very pleasant with a very light and airy feel about it. The menu included soup (very welcome on a day like today), doorstep sandwiches and jacket potato, plus cakes and it all seemed just right for people on bikes.
We left the cafe at 2pm and much to our surprise it had stopped raining! For our return journey we travelled through Blunham and onto the old railway alignment into Sandy and what a state this was in with mud and water everywhere. We left Sandy and climbed out to go through Everton again (Nick left us along here) and then into Waresley where we said goodbye to Bill.
Finally the last five survivors, with it raining again, left to go home via Great Gransden, Caxton and Bourn and then back to Haslingfield where the ride ended at 4pm with a highly satisfactory 58 miles to our credit. We may have been wet and bedraggled when we got home but it was an enjoyable day out and our thanks to Sarah for a successful debut and no doubt there are other rides tucked away in her kit bag. Edward Elmer
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