Edward writes: Today was everything you could ever ask for when anticipating a day's cycling - the weather was absolutely perfect. Not surprisingly there were twenty one of us at the start, including baby Florian. Tony was our man in charge and he was to take us on an extremely interesting outing through Hare Street for coffee and on to Green Tye for lunch. With so many of us it was obvious that we should leave in two groups and therefore the two groups left separately via Little Shelford and then the climb and descent into Newton.
We went through Thriplow and Fowlmere and out to Flint Cross thus avoiding the Cereals Exhibition which was generating so many traffic problems in the Chrishall Grange area. This meant the inevitable climb up to Barley where we stopped for a breather and to allow us to regroup.
In Barley we turned immediately left and avoided the village high street and then took the road to Shaftenhoe End. This, of course, took us into delightful and undulating countryside as we entered Hertfordshire and how green and attractive our surroundings looked from our elevated position.
This soon took us to Nuthampstead and the road which corkscrews its way to Anstey and then onto Great Hormead which shortly after brought us to Hare Street and our first break of the day at the March Hare Coffee shop in the village.
The coffee shop has a very large garden and we all sat outside enjoying the break and, of course, the cakes which were all efficiently served in a very relaxed and friendly way.
Needless to say the group enlarged itself at coffee with new arrivals probably making twenty five or six in total. Coffee breaks can’t last for ever, even in such pleasant surroundings, and we had to push on and this meant using the B1368 for a few miles into Puckeridge.
Now began a really wonderful ride as we headed down to Barwick using very narrow hedge lined lanes. This was new to most of us and was all very exciting as we made our way to Barwick where the river Rib is crossed by a ford. Some of the groups were lucky enough to see a Little Owl sitting watching proceedings unfold below him. Also to be seen were buzzards and red kites, so enough rural excitement for everyone to enjoy.
Shortly after this we came to Hadham Cross and another ford and then it was Perry Green and at just before 1pm we arrived at the Prince of Wales in Green Tye and thirty miles to our credit. The Prince of Wales has its own garden and we all sat outside to enjoy lunch. This pub brews its own beer and it can certainly be recommended, although not too much imbibing before another thirty miles home.
At 2pm it was time to leave and once again we broke into two groups with the agreement that whatever happened the first group would wait in Stocking Pelham so that we could gather together before the final section home. This was an experiment to try to avoid problems we’ve had in the past with two groups who never see each other again.
We left the pub, who had looked after us very well, and made for Much Hadham where Richard had a puncture but ten minutes or so later we were back on our way heading for Little Hadham and the famous crossing of the A120, and it didn’t disappoint as the wait for the lights to change seemed for ever.
Finally we got across and we now climbed past villages of Albury, Clapgate and Gravesend and the turning to Stocking Pelham came where the first group were dutifully waiting for us. Thus this experiment worked quite well as it kept the group together much better. Now we made our way to Brent Pelham, Langley Lower Green, Little Chishill and up to Great Chishill where we said good bye to Malcolm who still had many more miles to do before he arrived home.
It was now our opportunity to come down from this high point of Cambridgeshire with the two mile descent to Flint Cross. From here it was to retrace our steps through Fowlmere, Thriplow, Newton and Little Shelford at 5 pm where we considered the ride at an end. This was a memorable day out - the weather couldn’t have been better, Tony’s route was outstanding and a large group who enjoyed all 58 miles. Edward Elmer
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