Thursday, 5 June 2014

5 Jun: Thursday ride to Gamlingay and Old Warden

Edward writes: Fourteen cyclists met at Haslingfield Green for our ride out to Old Warden and the Shuttleworth Collection, calling at Gamlingay for coffee. John R took the helm today and we were lucky enough to meet under clear blue skies, a nice temperature and, for the first time in a while, a fairly stiff breeze running in from the west; this meant hard work going out but the promise of an easy afternoon when the wind would be behind us.

We left Haslingfield on a conventional route through Harlton, thus avoiding Chapel Hill, and out to the A603. We followed this through the Eversdens and on to Kingston before the gentle ascent to the A1198 and Longstowe. This was all headwind but we soon reached the edge of Little Gransden and two more miles brought us to the descent into Gamlingay and LJ's Sandwich Bar. We arrived at the slightly earlier time of 10.40 am and we were able to form an orderly queue for our refreshments and, luckily with the weather so nice, many of us were able to sit outside in the sun.

Gamlingay

Gamlingay

With all the arrivals at coffee one count made a total of twenty-six, including, amongst others, Richard M who had pedalled with the wind behind him from Bedford. It was also good to see Greta and Brian M, both of whom made it out to Gamlingay and, of course, Doug and Mike S, but it was particularly nice to see Sarah back with us making a welcome return to cycling.

Finally it was time to leave LJ's who always make us very welcome, especially as their bacon sarnies are always in high demand.

Gamlingay

We left Gamlingay on the heath road out to Everton where we came to Tempsford hill. This is always good for a bit of high speed fun, although on this occasion with so many of us, a bit of caution was probably in order, so maybe not too many speeds of 40 mph were achieved. This soon led us round to the East Coast Main line and the expected wait whilst two high speed trains sped through.

Waiting to cross the East Coast Main Line

As ever the countryside is looking very well and this year there seems to be an abundance of rock rose growing in the hedgerows which makes it all look very attractive. Also appearing are flags, and not necessarily all for England, as the World Cup approaches. Once across the railway we went over the A1 and on to Blunham and Moggerhanger where once more we crossed the A603 and soon followed by the descent into Northill, then Ickwell with its lovely village green complete with a maypole, and finally the Shuttleworth Museum.

Northill

Lunch followed its usual pattern with some eating outside and others eating in the restaurant. This was all very pleasant and just we before leaving we assembled for a team photograph in front of a vintage car.

Old Warden

Old Warden

We left the museum in two groups and as we came to near to Biggleswade we said goodbye to Sarah as the rest of us went through Langford and the climb up to the water tower to cross the A1. Rupert, of course, was overjoyed to see the new wind turbines turning in the stiff breeze. We had lost sight of the second group but the way home was clear as we went through Hinxworth and on to Ashwell and here Belinda and Sharon left us. As it was only 2.40 pm when we arrived in Ashwell we decided that we should call in at Day's Bakers for a bun and cup of tea which we all enjoyed under the tree opposite the little museum. It seems the second group missed out on the stop in Ashwell and headed straight for home.

Chapel Hill, Barrington

Chapel Hill, Barrington

Our route home took us along the familiar route through Steeple Morden, Litlington, Bassingbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth and Barrington and the final assault of Chapel Hill and lastly Haslingfield arriving shortly after 4pm and a nice regulation 53 miles. Our thanks to John who wisely chose a splendid day for his role as leader. Edward Elmer


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