Nigel writes: The current hot spell continues, and the temperature was 25C when I arrived at Brookside to lead this afternoon's ride to Ashdon. My companions on the ride were Bev, Alison, Rob, John and John. We set off south from Brookside, along Trumpington Road and through some expensive back streets to Long Road where we turned onto the busway,
It was a hot, sultry and overcast day. There was a forecast of heavy rain but it remained dry until we were almost back in Cambridge at the end of the ride. After a short distance we turned east onto the spur that leads over the railway bridge to Addenbrooke's.
We joined the DNA path to Great Shelford and continued south through Little Shelford and Whittlesford to Duxford. We were making good progress so we made a diversion to Hinxton to ride over the ford.
After a pleasant pause on the bridge to chat to someone who was collecting sticklebacks in a net we carried on to Ickleton. We climbed Coploe Hill and Catmere End before dropping down along Chestnut Avenue to Audley End House. We continued into Saffron Walden and out the other side on the road to Ashdon.
The hills of Essex were taking their toll and we arrived at the Ashdon Museum slightly late, at 4.15pm. The all-day ride was already there, allowing the two rides to meet and chat for a while with cakes and pots of tea before they set off back to Cambridge.
A short while later our group set off for home as well. I chose a gentle, flat route which took us through Bartlow, across the A1307 to Linton and along Back Road to Hildesham, where we paused once more to admire the ford and for some of us to splash through it several times for fun.
From Hildesham we crossed the A1307 again into Abington and continued past Granta Park onto the cycle path that leads west along the A505 towards Pampisford and Sawston.
We didn't go all the way to Pampisford, though. Instead we took the turn towards Babraham which allowed us to enjoy the short but pleasant cycleway from there to Sawston.
At Shelford we joined the cycle path to Stapleford and Great Shelford.
When we reached Great Shelford we joined the DNA path towards Addenbrooke's. The sky ahead of us was dark and we could see lightning over Cambridge. The wind picked up, and it gradually started to rain. We paused under the Addenbrooke's Road overbridge to regroup, put on waterproofs, and for Bev to discover a puncture. Fortunately this was a clean, dry place to make repairs. The tube was replaced and Nigel inflated the tyre, only to hear a loud bang as the tube burst. A second replacement was fitted, successfully inflated, and we continued on our way into Cambridge. I arrived home at 7.15pm, having cycled 42 miles.
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