Wednesday, 23 July 2014

20 Jul: All-day ride to Wimbish, Sible Hedingham and Ashdon

Graham writes: Once again I had my monthly CTC pass arranged and knowing that I was out to enjoy a full Sunday of riding I headed down to Brookside for 9am. There were nine riders making their way out initially and it was a good mixture of regular riders, guests and new faces.

Adrian was leading the ride and he explained he would be doing a little bit of main road bashing on the way out in order to make good progress and accommodate a loop en route to the morning stop. Therefore it was no surprise that we headed out on the same roads used by 'Le Tour' along Trumpington Road and South through Sawston. After this village we proceeded on the cycleway by the A1301 as far as Hinxton where we turned right to go onto familiar country lanes.

The conversation flowed as easily as the miles did and the few hills we passed after Ickleton and on towards Elmdon and Duddenhoe End did not cause any problems.

Heading towards Duddenhoe End

With a compact formation and no pauses for regrouping we made good time and arrived at Coffee at the Elder Street Farm Shop Café at just after 11am.

Enjoying the warmth at the Elder Street Café

Service at the café was not brisk but it was a pleasant place to refuel and chat and there were no problems with missing orders.

We set off just before midday with a number of people heading back home and some riders who had ridden directly to the café joining us for the leg to lunch. The route took us through the very picturesque village of Thaxted, and via the Bardfields. Adrian then guided us through a series of very pleasant country lanes and past the lake at Gosfield.

Country lanes in Essex

A final three and a half miles of A-road bashing from Gosfield to Sible Headingham brought us to lunch. Gareth was already at the corner café waiting for us having cycled directly from Cambridge. I, like several others, had brought sandwiches and the others were apparently served quickly. I took advantage of the local shops and bought another litre of water as the warmth and humidity of the day meant I had already drunk all of my supplies.

Gareth went off on his own loop to afternoon tea and the rest of us climbed out of Sible Headingham through Delvin End and on to Toppesfield. By now it was decidedly muggy and the clouds were starting to build quite noticeably to our West.

Between the Bumpsteads

Despite those minor concerns the conversation still flowed freely and discussions about the roadside flora and fauna kept our mind off the heat and increasing threat of rain. Adrian's route took us on a fairly direct leg via the Bumpsteads and we were at Ashdon's village museum by quarter to four. Amazingly we pulled in just as Gareth arrived from the opposite direction!

This is one of my favourite stopping places and the café takings help to keep the village museum running. Nigel's afternoon ride (report here) swung in about half an hour after us and we all chatted for a quarter of an hour before leaving them to finish their tea and cake.

Adrian led again for the next few miles over to Bartlow and West Wratting where he stopped off to visit another member at their home. Riders had already been peeling off here and there to take their most optimal routes home and eventually it was just Eva, Ray and I heading back towards the Wilbrahams. At Little Wilbraham we waved goodbye to Eva and Ray and I headed towards Cambridge from the East.

Just as we approached Cherry Hinton High Street a thunderstorm struck and we took shelter under some trees to shelter from the downpour. The trees did their job well and we donned our waterproofs and waited for the torrential rain to ease. Amazingly as we approached 'The Tins' to take us to the end of Mill Road the tarmac was completely dry which illustrated how localised the storms were. Many thanks go to Adrian for his expert leadership which made for a very enjoyable 84 miles. Graham Hughes

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