Thursday, 4 September 2014

4 Sep: Thursday ride to Wimbish and Great Bardfield

Edward writes: Once again Thursday proved to be a popular ride when nearly twenty members arrived in Hauxton for today's ride. The mild weather we have enjoyed in recent days continued even if the promise of sunshine by the afternoon didn't materialise. Today we were joined for the first time by another Andy, being introduced by Adrian. Geoff was our appointed leader with a good ride in prospect as we were to have coffee at Elder Street Farm Shop and going on to the Blue Egg in Great Bardfield for lunch, it always being good to cycle in the north Essex countryside.


Geoff led us out to Whittlesford where we crossed the A505 into Duxford. Next, of course, came Ickleton and everyone's favourite climb up Coploe Hill where we stopped for a photo shoot and to regroup.

Coploe Hill

Coploe Hill

After Coploe Hill it was nearly all downhill as we came into Saffron Walden past Audley End House. This was an incredibly still day with barely a trace of wind and so it was never a feature in this ride. We left Saffron Walden on the Debden road and, as is the way with this town, entailed some climbing to go through Purton End to the point where the road joins the Newport to Wimbish road, leaving a mile and a half climb past Carver Barracks and into the Elder Street Farm Shop for our first break of the day, arriving just after 11 am and 18 miles.

Leaving the Elder Street Farm Shop and Cafe, Wimbish

At this time of the day the cafe is not too busy, especially as the school terms have just started, and of course we all sat outside to enjoy the fare on offer. One or two went home from here but we were joined by Vic F and also a brief visit from Vic S. This was all very pleasant but it was soon time to move on and when we restarted Geoff led us back to the junction where we joined this road but now we turned to climb up to Debden. This took us on the undulating road towards Thaxted but before that we turned off at Debden Green to head for Henham.

Now we were in especially delightful countryside as we made our way to Henham and on to the B1051 which we had to use for about a mile and then turning towards Broxted Brick End under the flight path into Stansted Airport. Although close to the Airport perimeter it was wonderfully rural as we progressed to Great Easton and Lindsell where, whilst Geoff was checking the rear of the group, those at the front made a wrong turning thus deviating from the planned route. This took us along the B1057 into Great Bardfield and the Blue Egg cafe for our lunch arriving about 1.15pm and 38 miles.

Lunch at the Blue Egg Cafe, Great Bardfield

As is usual there was a mixture of people with a packed lunch and others eating in and we were joined here by Peter W and Lesley.

Leaving the Blue Egg Cafe, Great Bardfield

At about 2.15 pm we set out for the afternoon session by first going back to Great Bardfield and then the narrow lanes through Little Bardfield and Hawkspur Green before once again having to contend with busier roads at Great Sampford, using the B1051 up to Radwinter.


Then it was quieter again for the three mile run up to Ashdon followed by Bartlow and on into Linton. As we arrived at the B1307, which as ever was busy, a foreign truck driver who saw us waiting to cross pulled up, held the traffic behind him and allowed us to cross. What a nice gesture and maybe a fellow cyclist when not driving trucks and we could see him grinning as we all waved to him.


Now we were in Great Abington and at the end of Bourn Bridge Road Rupert led a group of four over the farm bridge into Babraham whilst the remaining thirteen went along the A505 cycle path into Babraham. Soon we arrived in Sawston and over to Whittlesford by way of the cycle path and into Little Shelford where we had the final parting of the ways; those going back to Hauxton completed a round trip of 66 miles. A special thanks to Geoff for a superb route especially between Henham and Lindsell on seldom used roads on our Thursday rides. Edward Elmer

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