Nigel writes: Today was a day of sun and showers, much colder than on recent Sundays because of a strong, cold, westerly wind.
On days like this the turnout on club rides is unpredictable, with members typically making a last-minute decision whether to go for a ride or whether to stay indoors. At 9am, half an hour before today's ride was due to start, a heavy shower passed over Cambridge, so when I arrived at Brookside at exactly 9.30am I was disappointed, but not altogether surprised, to find no-one there.
Fortunately the rain had stopped, so I waited a few more minutes for any late-comers and then set off on my own. Coffee today was at Adam's Cafe near Stradishall in Suffolk. I already had a route planned, so I knew that I had 22 miles to cover in about 90 minutes. I rode through Cambridge to Midsummer Common and then followed the river east to Fen Ditton. I turned east and continued to Quy before turning south-east onto the long straight road to Little Wilbraham and Six Mile Bottom. The day had started quite cold, but the sun emerged and it began to warm up. From Six Mile Bottom I climbed the long, gentle hill up to Brinkley where I decided I was fully warmed-up and so stopped to remove a layer of clothing.
With most of the climbing over now I continued east to Carlton and Carlton Green where I turned onto one of my favourite country lanes for the three miles to Little Thurlow. From there another lovely lane took me east for another two or three miles before coming to an end at a junction with the A142. I followed this for about a mile past the prisons before arriving at Adam's Cafe. It was 11.10am.
Outside the cafe I found Peter and Lesley sitting in their camper van, on the first of a series of roadshows at popular club meeting points to promote the sale of club clothing and to allow people to try some samples for size. I tried on a couple of tops and ordered two.
I then went into the cafe and ordered beans on toast for breakfast, Already in the cafe were Joseph, David and Adrian and after a few minutes we were joined by Keith. Keith had also been at Brookside but had set off on his own just before I arrived. Adrian had left Cambridge at 8am and had taken quite a long route, getting wet in the rain along the way.
Afterwards Adrian and Joseph returned to Cambridge, and Keith to his home, leaving just me and David to carry on to lunch in Clare. We took a relaxing loop east through Denton and Stansfield to Glemsford before turning back west to Cavendish and Clare.
We reached Clare just after 1pm and stopped for lunch at Cafe Clare.
After a pleasant lunch in this cosy cafe we set off back towards Cambridge. This meant riding directly into the wind, which was not only tiring but also quite cold. We rode west to Kedington where we crossed back over the A143 to Great Wratting. A wintry shower of rain passed over, but fortunately it didn't last long and the sun soon came out again.
We continued west across Wratting Common to West Wratting. This took us past Peter and Lesley's house. David stopped to cadge a cup of tea whilst I continued to Balsham and the final descent to Fulbourn and Cambridge. With a strong headwind all the day this was a bit of a slog, but I didn't have far to go and arrived back home at 4.30pm, having cycled 65 miles.
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