Sunday, 24 August 2014

24 Aug: All-day ride to Fordham, Mildenhall and Wicken

Seb writes: Just five riders, Jacob, Neil, Sue, Tom (his first ride since April) and I, met at Brookside for the all day ride to the Mildenhall Rally, even though it was reasonably warm, the forecast was dry and the departure time was half an hour later than usual at 09:30. There was no leader appointed but we agreed our route to Fordham for coffee, by leaving Cambridge along the Cam, and then via Fen Ditton, Bottisham, Swaffham Bulbeck, Swaffham Prior, Reach and Burwell, using National Cycle Routes 51 and 11. Neil and Jacob peeled off early, and after Bottisham we were just three.

We arrived at Simpson’s Garden Centre just a few minutes after 11.00 to find a number of familiar faces had made their own way there, including Mike S, Adrian, George, Ian and Keith. Greta was there having arrived with Dave by car.

There was some re-grouping, here and Sue and I joined Ian and Keith in what was intended to be a southerly detour to Mildenhall, taking in Chippenham, Red Lodge and Herringswell. However, at Red Lodge, Ian discovered that the rear tyre of his vintage Moulton had started to disintegrate. So he reduced the pressure in it and we took a more direct route north to Worlington. We caught up with Adrian and George and the six of us arrived at Mildenhall about 12.45.

The rally was in full swing, with grass track racing in progress, various food outlets all busy, a variety of traders selling clothing, shoes, bikes, and accessories, and also more than a few stalls with new and used equipment. Few of us could resist the temptation to pick up a bargain – mine was a pair of winter gloves each with a little pocket on the back that stores a bright yellow waterproof cover with a separate thumb and index finger, and a mitten for the other three fingers. A snip at £5!

Grass track racing at the Mildenhall Rally

The racing was fast and furious, but conducted in a friendly spirit, at least as far as one could tell as a mere spectator. I was very pleased to bump into Peter Underwood and Patricia Killiard and had a brief chat with them.

At the rally, we were handed a promotional invitation for two club members to attend a Cycling Convention in Italy at the end of September. Accommodation and food is free, but the members will need to pay their air fares to Bologna and bus transfer fares. Contact the secretary if you'd like the information we were given to be passed on to you.

Having all gone our own ways at lunchtime, we regrouped at half past two. Ian had failed to find anyone selling tyres for a Moulton, but Steve offered him a lift back to Cambridge. Adrian decided to leave Mildenhall on an unmade road, but Sue, Keith, George and I took the road. After a short time, we found Adrian waiting for us; his unmade road turned out to have been metalled. We rode through Isleham, Soham and then turned north-west following the railway line, and then west until we joined up with National Cycle Route 11, which we followed south all the way to Wicken where we arrived at St Laurence Church at about twenty past four, just failing to meet up with the afternoon riders, although Steve and Ian were there.

After a welcome cup of tea and cake, Keith headed back to Newmarket, and Adrian led Sue and me, plus Eva and two cycling friends, on a direct route across Adventurers Fen onto the Lodes Way. Rejoining the tarmac, we saw the afternoon riders just ahead of us and guessed that they had ridden from Wicken Fen via Upware on tarmac, but we never managed to catch them.

Along the river

Just before Lode, we turned right on a track that follows the old railway line and then other farm tracks that eventually led to the road between Horningsea and Clayhithe. Just before reaching this road, one of Eva’s friends suffered a puncture but a new inner tube was soon put in. We all head for Clayhithe, where Adrian, Sue and I then followed the towpath back into Cambridge, arriving around twenty past six. I had done exactly 60 miles. Seb Macmillan

View this GPS track on a larger map. Download GPS track (GPX).

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