Sunday, 17 August 2014

17 Aug: All-day ride to St Neots, Harrold and Over

Nigel writes: Today started off feeling rather autumnal, cooler than in recent weeks and with a strong westerly breeze, but still quite pleasant and sunny. Joining me at Brookside for today's ride were Klaas, Neil, Eva, Ian D, newcomer Tom and our leader Joseph. Joseph led us into the City Centre and then west over the river and through West Cambridge to Coton.

Crossing the river in Cambridge

From Coton we climbed Madingley Hill to Hardwick and continued west along the old A428 all the way to Caxton Gibbet.

Madingley Hill

As we rode along the sky became dark and it began to rain. With a strong headwind this made for fairly unpleasant riding conditions, made worse by the need to use the relatively busy A1198 for several miles. The temperature dropped markedly and it now felt definitely very autumnal.

Near Papworth we turned off onto a much quieter road that led us west through Yelling and Toseland and after about half an hour the rain stopped. When we reached the junction with the B1043 we turned left for the final few miles to St Neots where we stopped for coffee at the Market Cafe in the middle of the town. Whilst we were sitting in the cafe the weather outside began to improve and by the time we were ready to set off again the sun had come back out and the temperature was increasing, a pleasant reminder that it was still August.

Coffee in St Neots

For next stage of the ride we crossed the River Ouse and continued west through Bushmead, Thurleigh and Sharnbrook to Odell. With the rain now passed over the remainder of the day was warm and dry, though still quite windy.

near Thurleigh

When we reached Odell we turned into the Harrold-Odell country park and stopped for lunch at the excellent cafe there.

Lunch at Harrold-Odell Country Park

Lunch at Harrold-Odell Country Park

After lunch we rode north for a few miles, briefly entering Northamptonshire before turning east for the long ride to our tea stop in Over, where Mike C was hosting a "home tea" at his house. At last we had the wind behind us, and this allowed us a relatively easy ride (with the possible exception of Klaas, who was riding a heavy town bike today) to Grafham Water and from there through Buckden, Graveley, Hilton and Fenstanton to Over. Despite the tailwind this was quite a long way and we didn't reach Over until 5.15pm. Already there (and preparing to leave) we found the afternoon ride and several other members who had made their own way there.

Tea at Mike's house in Over

After an excellent tea we set off back towards Cambridge via the busway cycleway. Refreshed after our tea stop and with the wind behind us once more, this was an easy and very pleasant ride in the late evening sunshine. I arrived home at 7.05pm, having cycled 91 miles.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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