Edward writes: Another Thursday and another ride out into the country, this time to Henlow via Potton. As usual it's a weather report that starts the account. Wednesday had been a glorious day but early this morning didn’t look at all promising. Overnight rain was still at it and even up to about 8.30 am but this didn’t deter ten members including three women who assembled in Haslingfield for our ride.
When we met at 9.30 the rain had stopped and the clouds were beginning to break so the signs were optimistic. Richard was in charge today and the ride started with a brisk climb up Chapel Hill, down into Barrington and along to Shepreth and Meldreth. In Meldreth we turned right and began the climb up to Kneesworth where we crossed our old friend the A1198 and soon came into Bassingbourn.
The weather by now had improved considerably and the sky had the look of showers which was much in line with the forecast. As we were heading west we were faced by a stiff breeze coming in from that direction. This, of course, persisted all the way to Henlow. We came into Litlington and climbed out past the American memorial and arrived in Steeple Morden and then over to Guilden Morden. We left Cambridgeshire and entered Bedfordshire and came to Potton by way of Wrestlingworth. In Potton we took coffee at the Coach House which we used to go to a few years back. It was good to go there again and, as last week, we were looked after very well. A table had been reserved for us and the staff were very friendly and helpful: certainly one for the future. Richard M, who cycled over from Bedford, joined us and would accompany us to Henlow.
After coffee we left Potton and headed west into the wind before turning south to go past John O’ Gaunt golf club and then into Sutton. This took us to Eyeworth, where Rupert left us, and a long stretch into the wind to the point where we crossed the A1 and the long descent into Langford with the new wind turbines on our right. In Langford, rather than use the main road, Richard had identified a cinder track to take us into Henlow. The surface was no problem until the last couple of hundred yards where it became a little muddy - bikes would definitely have to be cleaned now. The end of the track brought us out by Henlow church and directly opposite the Five Bells and our lunch stop at 1pm and 31 miles.
The Five Bells had reserved a table for us and, although very busy with many other diners, we didn't have to wait long for our food which most people chose from their ‘lite bites’ menu and very good it was too. Once again this is a pub, on Thursday at least, we hadn't visited for some time and we spent an enjoyable hour there.
Just before leaving a heavy hail shower was in progress and the sun had given way to typically showery sky. Richard M left us here and the eight remaining riders left to go towards Stotfold where Adrian assisted Richard to get us through this built up area which luckily had some cycle paths and of course Pendleton Road (no sign of the gold pillar box). This took past Arlsey station and the cycle way alongside the busy A507 and some deft work along the old disused road, clamber down the embankment and up to the A1. All a bit tricky but this finally took us onto the quiet road that leads cross country through Newnham and onto Ashwell; above Ashwell is a wonderful view down over the village.
We left Ashwell and headed back to Steeple Morden where, astonishingly, we could just the wind turbines in Balsham (a straight line on Google gives this as 20 miles). We went back to Haslingfield the same way we had come out in the morning and our luck with the weather finally failed us as we rode through Barrington we got caught in one of the heavy showers that had been circulating for most of the afternoon. This didn’t detract from a splendid day out and a great reward for not being deterred by the morning rain.
Thanks to Richard for our day out on a really good route which gave us 53 miles. Edward Elmer
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