Thursday, 29 May 2014

29 May: Thursday ride to Balsham and Kentford

Edward writes: After the last few days of rain it was a relief to arrive in Hauxton in fairly mild weather but, most importantly, no rain. This was a good start and the forecast said it would be dull all day, with the possibility of the odd shower, and this was how it turned out. Thus we left Hauxton with about fourteen joining us for our excursion into the countryside to Kentford by way of Balsham. As to be expected we went from Hauxton to Little Shelford and then joined the cycleway at Whittlesford church over to Sawston.


When we reached Sawston high street we turned right and headed south out of the village so that we could join the beginning of the new cycleway along the A505. This cycleway isn’t quite finished, requiring a top surface from the Pampisford turning all the way to the underpass at Great Abington. It seemed a worthwhile exercise as we knew that the contractors were not working this week so we had an uninterrupted ride for its full length.

A505 cycleway

A505 cycleway

In Great Abington we passed the Granta science park, but shortly afterwards Eva had a puncture which, as is the way of things, Mike C was on hand to get her on the road again. When we reached Hildersham we turned right and went along the back road in Linton and climbed to Balsham by way of Rivey Hill, arriving at the Black Bull shortly after 11 am.

Great Abington

Needless to say we met several other members there including Jacob who, by the state of his bike, had enjoyed a cross country experience, Adrian, probably also via a cross country route, Geoff, Jerry, Joseph and Mike S. Also present was Peter W who was in club tops distribution mode, and was later to join us for the rest of the ride. We all sat outside for coffee which at £2.70 a cup was a little on the expensive side.


After coffee a few headed for home and still about fourteen set out for the long ride out to Kentford. From Balsham we went across to West Wickham and out to Wratting Common and then on to Withersfield. Now we settled down to enjoy nice countryside and, although the skies looked a bit threatening at times. never really amounted to anything and the rain stayed away. Somewhere along here Peter got a puncture and luckily he was riding with Mike C who gave him his usual assistance.

West Wickham

Next up was Little Thurlow and at the junction we went straight across for the road which took us up to the A143; this was slightly different to our normal route to the A143 and, although it put us on it for another half mile, it was a nice change. We now left the main road and went into the country passing through Cowlinge, Lidgate and Dalham and it was only after Dalham that puddles on the road told us that we had just missed a heavy downpour. As it was we did finally run into some light misty rain, but it was nothing serious. After Gazeley another couple of miles brought us to Kentford and the Animal Health Trust at about 1.30 pm and 38 miles.

The Trust is becoming a firm favourite with the Thursday riders and worth the long trip to get there. After lunch there was some more persistent drizzle as we started the afternoon session which led us along the B1506 to the Moulton turning and now began some hill work as we moved into some undulating country, particularly the climb up to Cheveley. Of course, the climbs bring with it some very satisfactory long descents. We threaded our way through the villages of Saxon Street, Little Ditton and Woodditton before reaching Stetchworth and another nice descent into Dullingham.

West Wratting

In Dullingham we made the turning that took us to the Brinkley-SixMile Bottom junction where Eva, Peter and Sean left us with the rest of us carrying on to West Wratting and Balsham where Jacob left to take the route into Cambridge via Fulbourn. Finally, down to the last seven, we went down to Hildersham, Great Abington, over the farm track into Babraham and Sawston. We arrived back in Little Shelford to complete the ride at 5 pm, after 68 miles. Edward Elmer

View this GPS track on a larger map. Download GPS track (GPX).

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