Thursday, 25 September 2014

25 Sep: Thursday ride to Gamlingay and Old Warden

Edward writes: The Indian summer continues in all its glory, even if today started overcast it was still warm with only a slight breeze coming in from the south west. When we left Haslingfield Green we were a group of nineteen for our trip out to Gamlingay and then on to the Shuttleworth Air Museum at Old Warden in Bedfordshire. Today we welcomed Kevin who was making his first ride with us. We started the ride with the almost inevitable climb up Chapel Hill and then down into Barrington for a spot of regrouping before passing through the village and the turn up to Orwell.

Chapel Hill, Barrington

As we headed into Orwell the breeze was a bit more noticeable which promised an afternoon ride home with the wind at our backs.


After Orwell we crossed the A603 and then went on to Wimpole Hall coming out in Arrington.

Wimpole Hall

As we went through the next village of Croydon there were no obvious signs that the Queen Anne pub was likely to be re-opened in the near future. After Croydon of course came Croydon Hill, short but a very stiff climb meaning more regrouping at the top.

Croydon Hill

The road now took us through East Hatley and Hatley St George before bringing us to Gamlingay and our first stop of the day at the popular LJ's Sandwich Bar and being joined by Richard M, Mike S and Andy and Sarah.

Inevitably when a group of about twenty cyclists arrive we have to be patient and also mindful of their regular customers who are being forced to wait longer than usual. LJ's bacon sarnies seem to have a special appeal to many of the group and they are always in demand. Luckily, the weather was good so most of us sat outside to enjoy the sun which was just beginning to break out.


After coffee only a few left us and thus a large group carried on over Gamlingay Heath and to Everton where we came to the exciting swoop down Tempsford Hill, always popular for those looking to break records for the descent.

Tempsford Hill, Everton

We had to stop briefly to allow a Peterborough to London train to pass through before going on to the crossing of the A1 at Tempsford and then Blunham. Here we turned off the main road and joined the former railway line between Sandy and Bedford.

Sandy-Bedford Cycleway

Now off road, and still a tarmac surface, we enjoyed a pleasant ride of about three miles of traffic free cycling to just beyond the Danish Camp Cafe where we turned off to go into Willington. Here Richard took the helm to guide us through the village and along the A603 to Cople and the turning to Cardington. As we left Cardington we had a fine view of the two airship hangars in one of which the Airship R101 was constructed in 1929.

Airship Hangars, Cardington

The run from Cardington to Old Warden is very pleasant, even more so, for as we turned, the breeze was beginning to be behind us. There were one or two climbs before the final run down to Old Warden, which is one of several very attractive villages in this area. Shortly after 1 pm and 33 miles we arrived at the Shuttleworth air museum for the lunch interval.

German Storch, Shuttleworth

The air museum was very busy and we had lots to see with several aircraft out on the field including a German Fieseler Storch which was used during the war years. This actually took off and did a couple of circuits of the airfield, appearing to almost hover overhead. Also there were three vintage cars running up and down, so it was very pleasant sitting outside watching all this activity.

Vintage Car, Shuttleworth

At about 2 pm it was time to leave and we were still about nineteen strong as we left the airfield and headed off to Broom where we passed Jordan's Mill. It was here that Andy and Sarah left us to make their way to Biggleswade and the rest of us turned south to Langford.

In Langford we turned east and now had the full benefit of the following breeze as we recrossed the A1 and the east coast railway to arrive at Edworth.


Now we were on familiar, but still very pleasant, roads through Hinxworth, Ashwell and Steeple Morden. When we got to Litlington we put in the loop round Abington Piggots before coming back to Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth.


The final bit of our journey took us through Meldreth and Shepreth before arriving back at Barrington and a last sting in the tail with another climb up Chapel Hill and finishing back in Haslingfield having cycled a regulation and very pleasant 61 miles. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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