Nigel writes: I arrived at Brookside this morning to find about ten other riders waiting for the start of today's ride. Although Conrad was our leader today, Gareth was offering to lead a faster group on a slightly longer route to the coffee stop in Shepreth. I took up the challenge and the two of us were joined by visiting newcomer Lyn.
Both groups took a similar route. Conrad's group rode west to Coton and then continued west up Madingley Hill to Hardwick. There they turned south to Toft and from there rode via Kingston, the Eversdens and Harlton to Haslingfield. They then climbed Chapel Hill and descended to Barrington, from where it was just a couple more miles to Shepreth.
Gareth's group also left Cambridge on the Coton path to Coton but instead of climbing Madingley Hill we continued north to Madingley Village and carried on to Dry Drayton before turning south to Hardwick.
Today was yet another very windy day, with a strong southerly wind gusting at speeds up to 30mph. So for much of our route we were riding either directly into the wind or with a strong cross-wind. Despite the headwind, Gareth and Lyn seemed to have lots of energy and set a rapid pace all the way, with me just about managing to keep up behind them.
Today was a dull, rather dreary day, but at least it was dry, and with the temperature over 10C from the start it was very mild for February, despite the wind.
At Hardwick we turned west onto the old main road as far as the turning to Bourn where we turned south for Bourn, Kingston and the Eversdens, catching up with the others somewhere near Harlton. As we passed them Gareth and Lyn slackened the pace slightly which allowed me to ride ahead and take my first photographs of the day.
A few minutes later we all arrived in Shepreth, where we stopped for coffee and cakes at one of our favourite refreshment stops, Teacake cafe. We arrived to find it busy with customers, including a number of club members who had made their own way there. By the time the rest of us arrived it looked as if we might run out of places to sit but a few extra chairs were produced and we all managed to fit in.
Afterwards Conrad led half a dozen of us south to lunch in Buntingford leaving the others to return back home.
Conrad's route took us west to Meldreth, Kneesworth and Litlington before turning south to Thirfield, Sandon and Buntingford.
At Buntingford we stopped for lunch at the Buntingford Coffee Shop.
After lunch we set off back towards Cambridge. It was still dull and damp, with a touch of moistness in the air which threatened to turn into drizzle but never did. But with the wind mostly behind us at last we made rather faster progress than we had on the way out.
Conrad led us north-east to Wyddial and from there via Nuthampsted and Shaftenhoe End to Great Chishill. There we turned left onto the long straight road that leads downhill to Flint Cross. This positioned us perfectly for a wind-assisted 20mph blast along the B1368 to Fowlmere and a further blast from there to Newton. Just beyond Newton we turned right to Little and Great Shelford and the final few miles along the DNA path and busway into Cambridge. I arrived back home at 3.55pm, having cycled 65 miles.
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