Thursday, 13 February 2014

13 Feb: Thursday ride to Swavesey and St Neots

Edward writes: Finally, this Thursday we enjoyed a whole day of cycling without a drop of rain which, after three consecutive weeks of rain and cold winds, is something of a relief. In fact this was an improving day with the clouds lifting and by the afternoon lots of bright sunshine. Today we were under the leadership of Tony for our ride out to Swavesey and then on to St Neots and, with the prospect of good weather, we had a total of thirteen riders leaving the village green.


Our route today took us out through Harlton and over the A603 to go through both Little and Great Eversden. Already the clouds were clearing as we came up to Kingston and the roads which, up until the last day or so have been covered by large puddles and debris from the fields, were now much clearer and had even dried out quite well. We left Kingston and went along the B1046 for a short while to get to Bourn followed by the steady, but not difficult, climb up to the St Neots old road. We crossed this road and with the wind directly on our backs made rapid progress as we passed through Knapwell and also enjoyed the slight downhill to the Boxworth turning. We turned at the junction for the climb up to Boxworth and then a nice downhill to go over the A14 and the last mile or so into Swavesey and the Baptist Chapel for one of the club’s favourite coffee stops.


Each week a different group from the village run the coffee shop and this time it was the Women’s Institute and, as you would expect, the cakes, and there were plenty of them, were wonderful, typically WI ! As usual at this stop we were joined by other club members and one count we made it twenty two enjoying the fare at the chapel. Among those joining us were Sarah, Rupert, Bill, Mike CC and Richard M from Bedford who all came along to St Neots. Also seen there were Kathy and Howard, John F, Ian and young Florian, thus making a very convivial bunch.


As is the way we had to leave and we left Swavesey to go along to Fen Drayton, and en-route we saw a couple of Kestrels flying low over the fields. We followed Fen Drayton by Fenstanton and turned south west to have the stiff breeze more or less in our faces as we made our way up to Hilton. This was followed by more hard work as we progressed along the open roads to Graveley. It’s fascinating that, as you approach the village, one of the wind turbines in the background looks as if it’s in a back garden of one of the houses, but as you get nearer it’s clear that looks are deceptive. After Graveley we turned for the long straight road which leads to the B1043 and the final run into St Neots and the Ambiance Cafe where we arrived at 12.50 pm. and 34 miles since leaving Haslingfield.


For those with a packed lunch the weather was good enough to sit outside before coming in and joining those who had bought a lunch at the cafe. At about 1.45 it was time to go. Sarah and Bill left us here to make her own ways home whilst the remainder started the journey back by crossing a very wet Priory Park. A few days ago this park was submerged but the river had receded into its own banks but left still left vast puddles on the grass and footways; also in attendance were huge numbers of seagulls, ducks and swans. We followed the route through the housing estates to join the road out to Abbotsley and in one garden there was a fine display of crocuses and snowdrops. Also in evidence were daffodils emerging into bud, a sure sign that spring is on its way. We now had the wind behind us and we made good progress as we came into Great Gransden. This left us with Caxton, where Richard M left us, and Bourn where Geoff and David W left us to go back to Haslingfield. We were now left with five to finish the ride at Coton roundabout after riding through Toft, Comberton and Barton and bring the ride to an end at 4.15pm having cycled a very pleasant 51 miles.

Thanks are due to Tony for conducting us round but, maybe on this occasion, a special thanks to the weather man who gave us such a nice day. Edward Elmer

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