Thursday, 3 July 2014

3 Jul: Thursday ride to Ashwell and Moggerhanger

Edward writes: The weather forecasters were this morning predicting that today could possibly be the hottest day this year It may or may not have been but either it was certainly blue skies all the way thus making for a great day out. This week we welcomed Phil who was making his Thursday debut with us along with the three who debuted last week who were once again out with us.

Haslingfield

Today’s leader was David Ms and, as we had twenty three at the start, we had to divide into two groups with the first setting off for Harston. A little later the second group started but unfortunately David had a puncture in Harston which, of course, Mike was on hand to assist in getting him back on the road.

Harston

Because of the lost time it was decided that we should cut out the loop through Newton, Thriplow and Fowlmere and head instead along the A10 cycleway which was OK but incredibly noisy.

A10 cycleway near Shepreth

This brought us to Shepreth junction which the leading group would also come to. We were now on a more or less direct route through Meldreth and up to Kneesworth and Bassingbourn heading into a fairly stiff south westerly wind which, of course, promised an easy afternoon. After Bassingbourn we came to Litlington and then the climb up to Steeple Morden and we breezed into Ashwell just after 11 am and in front of the lead group.

Ashwell

By arriving in two groups it prevented the staff in Day’s Bakery from being overwhelmed because not only did we have the twenty three who started from Haslingfield but also there were Greta, Doug, Sue, Craig, Bill who had cycled from Ely, and Andy and Sarah who had cycled 32 miles to join us, or 33 miles depending on whose bike you believe.

Coffee in Ashwell

On a nice today such as today Ashwell is a very pleasant place to have coffee as a large group such as we had can either sit under the tree or sit in the delightful village garden.

Ashwell

When we started again we left in two groups and went along Loves Lane to arrive at Hinxworth which is where we crossed the A1 and then the long descent into the wind down to Langford. In Langford we headed south along the B659 until we reached Henlow where we turned west to head for Clifton followed by Ireland.

Langford

This was a nice part of the ride and we were on roads not often used by the Thursday riders thus giving us added interest. The road several times criss-crossed the now closed goods only railway line which ran between Shefford and Bedford with some of the bridges still evident. The route took us along to Ireland, Old Warden, Ickwell and Northill, all very attractive and somewhat chocolate box-like villages. When we reached the small hamlet of Thorncote Green we turned north for the final leg into Moggerhanger and the Woodland Cafe for our lunch stop where we found Richard M who had cycled over from Bedford to join us.

Lunch in Moggerhanger

Lunch was all very pleasant as many of us sat outside in the warm sunshine. As is our practice we had forewarned the cafe of our coming and they were able to deal with our many requests without any concerns. After lunch, again in two groups, we started the afternoon session and headed back to Sandy by using the cycleway which runs on the former railway alignment. In Sandy Andy and Sarah left us to take the train back whilst the remainder pushed on for Everton but with the small second group falling further and further behind. As we passed Waresley Garden Centre we noticed a few bikes there but we decided that we should carry on and stop at the small village stores in Great Gransden for our refreshments. After enjoying a short break we rode on through familiar roads back to Caxton and Bourn before going through Toft and Comberton and finally Barton and the Coton roundabout where we considered the ride at an end giving us 58 very enjoyable miles although it is a shame that each week we seem unable to keep ourselves together for the return home. Nevertheless this was a good ride and reflects well on the work David had put in on devising the route to give us all a good day out. Edward Elmer


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