Edward writes:This morning we assembled in Hauxton with about sixteen members joining us for our ride out to Newmarket horse racing museum for coffee and on to Risby near Bury St Edmunds for lunch. Today the weather conditions were unusual as there was only a light wind coming from the east, little or no sun, but the forecast gave us a temperature rising to about 17C.
The other thing to mention, which has been in the news all week, is the Saharan sand which caused a haze, thus obscuring the sun all day. None of this deterred our large contingent and we set course for Newmarket by going through Little and Great Shelford and a climb over the Gogs to bring us to Fulbourn. In view of the distance for today’s ride a shorter route was chosen to get to Newmarket, the drawback being that it is the least pleasant. We went through to Great Wilbraham and followed it with the fast, for motorists, road down to Six Mile Bottom. Once here a little sanity and quiet prevailed as we climbed up over the level crossing towards Brinkley.
This, of course, led us to the turning for Dullingham and then back on to the fairly busy road into Newmarket and the horse racing museum for coffee, arriving at 11.15 am.
Already there were Adrian, Geoff and Jeremy, who has ridden Sunday rides but this was his first outing with the Thursday group. The staff at the museum kindly invited us to bring our bikes into the security of the garden and we enjoyed the break here for half or so.
On leaving the museum we headed up to the clock tower and then turned for Moulton passing along some of the gallops before breaking out into the quiet of the country where Geoff pointed out the home of the late Sir Henry Cecil. The ride now became very pleasant with little traffic and we rode past many fields of the ubiquitous oil seed rape. It seems to our untrained eyes that farming is coming back to normal after all the rain during the winter.
We reached Moulton and rode past the pack horse bridge and made our way through twists and turns to Gazeley - Jacob managed a short stretch off road along here. We now followed NCN 51 along a very pleasant bye road which brought us to Higham and this route took us a further three miles into Barrow for its first visit of the day.
It was now only three miles to Risby but included another quiet road except for the sound of skylarks, at least until we crossed the A14, and then this left us with a mile of so of the old trunk road to take us to Risby and Lizzy’s cafe arriving at 1.05pm.
A table for ten had been reserved for us, and although in fact were twelve, they coped very well with all our requests. This is a nice cafe with good quality food and very well worth the journey to it. We got going again at 2.15pm and set off for Little Saxham and then on to our second visit to Barrow. The weather since the morning hadn’t changed and despite fleeting glimpses of the sun the haze still prevailed. This didn’t prevent us enjoying all the blossoms appearing on the hedgerows and trees, not to mention the spring flowers appearing in all the gardens.
As we left Barrow we passed by the quiet hamlet of Denham and then turned for Ousden, but John J, John R and Lynn, on another UK visit, left us at this turning to head to their homes north and west of Cambridge. We pressed on, still on quiet roads, which after about three miles brought us to Wickhambrook where Geoff left us. By now we were in more familiar territory and we went through Cowlinge and then Great Bradley and up to Carlton. Peter W, our "club tops" procurer, led us on a deviation from the planned route to West Wratting, as during the day there had been requests to view the new tops so an impromptu roadshow was arranged. Naturally Lesley was on with a pot full of tea.
As we left West Wratting the group split with some going to Cambridge via Six Mile Bottom and the last six to head towards Balsham and back to the planned route. In Balsham Jacob left us and the last five finished the day by going down to Hildersham, Great Abington, the farm track to Babraham, Sawston and finally Great Shelford. This left Sarah and Craig to to do the last two miles back to Hauxton where they would finish with 69 quality miles. Edward Elmer
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