Thursday, 1 May 2014

1 May: Thursday ride to Newmarket and Depden

John writes: Ten riders left Hauxton and Shelford for the National Stud, a few miles south-west of Newmarket at the junction of the A1303 and A1304, where we enjoyed excellent coffee and cakes. The disadvantage of this coffee stop is the approach from the Cambridge side which involves cycling just over a mile along the A1303.

At coffee we were joined by Geoff, and Mike from Whittlesford left us. It was now raining steadily. We sped into Newmarket down the busy A1304, turned right at the clock-tower and climbed Warren Hill with rain-sodden race courses on either side.

We were now into an area of serious money and serious, for Suffolk, hills. We followed NCN51 through Moulton, Gazeley, Upper Green, Denham End into Barrow.

Unfortunately we managed to lose Jacob. This surprised me because I thought (obviously wrongly) that there only clearly marked dead-end turnings until Barrow (mea culpa) in which case it would have been easy to return for anyone delayed. I managed to make phone contact but not physical contact despite considerable retracing of the route by some of us.

From Barrow the route is due South to Depden Water Tower – water was still pouring from the skies.

At the Farm Shop seven of us, three Davids, Belinda, Sharon , Rupert & I enjoyed brisk service (owing to few customers) and good home-made produce.

Shortly after 2pm the rain had stopped and we were on our way back to Cambridge via Wickhambrook, Kirtling Green, Woodditton, Stetchworth, Dullingham and Six Mile Bottom. Here I watched David Hope deal with a rear wheel puncture whilst the others sped homewards. David and I parted company at the Wilbrahams and I was home shortly after 5pm. I estimate the Hauxton to Hauxton distance as being between 55 and 60 miles.

The route east of Newmarket is very attractive (and would be more so without rain!), but would be best attempted by having a coffee-stop at the north end of the town. Newmarket could then be approached via Burwell and Exning avoiding the need to use A-roads. Rain and the absence of Eddie means there are no photos today. John Ferguson

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