Conrad writes: Today was the Summer Solstice and the weather was pretty much perfect --- warm, sunny with very little wind in any direction. I arrived at Brookside to find nine other riders, including Ian. Now, I have volunteered to lead the Saturday rides to give Ian and Julia some well-deserved rest but on the two occasions that I have been ride leader, Ian has thwarted my plans. But today, it was fortunate that Ian was on hand to provide some route guidance. More of that later.
We made our way through the crowded city centre, past Market Square (where I heard an American tourist exclaim "look they're going for a race") and up Castle Hill. Once we made the turn to Girton, we could begin to relax as we were now on quieter roads. We cycled through Oakington and took the road to Longstanton where we passed a large number of walkers who were participating in the annual Pathfinder March where people walk 46 miles along a route that links four airbases from which the Pathfinder group launched their flights during WWII.
At Longstanton, we joined the guided busway up till Histon. This was where Ian's experience came in handy as I had originally planned to go all the way to Kings Hedges and then take the cycle bridge to Milton but, on Ian's advice, we went through Histon and Impington and joined Butt Lane up to the Recycling Centre where I could see a sign for our tea stop, the Rectory Farm Shop. However, we didn't turn onto the A10 at this point, as it would have meant cycling along that busy road for a fair distance before reaching the farm shop. Instead we cycled over the bridge into Milton and then took the road to Longbeach. Here the A10 crossing was a bit tricky but fortunately, a kind driver allowed us to cross safely. We then followed an unsurfaced road into the Rectory Farm Shop.
After an enjoyable 30 minutes in the sun, we started to make our way back to Cambridge. I had originally planned to cross the A10 back to Milton and take the river path but given how tricky that crossing was, we instead made a slight diversion to Longbeach. We cycled on the recently completed cycle path which unfortunately came to an end just in front the Longbeach village sign. We then crossed the A10 for the third time today into Waterbeach and joined the river path back to Cambridge, but not before passing Simon's houseboat at Milton. We then took the usual route back to city centre, at which point I had covered 25 miles.
I would encourage people to consider leading some of these Saturday rides. I personally find it interesting to visit these coffee stops which we typically don't visit during our longer rides, and it is also enjoyable to take a slower ride which gives more opportunities for socialising. Conrad Chua
View this GPS track on a larger map. Download GPS track (GPX).