Thursday, 30 October 2014

30 Oct: Thursday ride to Hare Street and Baldock

Edward writes: Another wonderful day greeted us when about twenty-two riders met for today's ride out to Baldock taking in Hare Street for coffee. Today we welcomed Rachel who was riding with us for the first time and, incidentally, her first contact with the club was our stall at the Freshers's Festival on Parker's Piece a few weeks ago. Averil was our leader and this was a ride that was certainly to have its moments.

Hauxton

They were for later on. We left Hauxton in two groups through Newton and Fowlmere up to Flint Cross on the A505. The following group were not able to stay in touch with lead group but this helped minimise our impact on traffic. Once over the A505 we climbed up to Barley and allowed ourselves a small break to recover our breath; meanwhile, the lead group sped on their way.

Barley

When we got going again both groups took the direct route down the B1368 going through Barkway before arriving soon after 11 am at the March Hare Tea Room. The weather was so good that we were able to sit outside and enjoy the sporadic sunshine with the temperature at about seventeen centigrade. Joining us for coffee were Sue, Mike S and Peter W.

Hare Street

Shortly before midday we set off again with the usual exchange of personnel but still about fourteen carried on to Baldock. We stayed together now and cycled at a more moderate pace as we took the short road into Buntingford where we joined the A507 which was an unnerving experience as all the cars seemed to be travelling so fast with scant regard for a group of cyclists. Fortunately this didn't last too long and we turned off for the relative quiet of the road to Throcking and then Cottered. More quiet roads took us past Cromer windmill and the steep climb to Luffenhall. This, of course, was through a lovely autumnal countryside still with its many colours.

Cromer

Now we approached Weston and events for the next three quarters of an hour went a little awry. We took a turning and joined a bridleway which was intended to take us to Clothall but somehow we missed another turning thus, unbeknown to us, took us away from Clothall and eventually back to a point on the road we had passed an hour earlier. Of course it was not all bad news as the track we were on would have been a delight to Adrian and Jacob but to us it was slow progress and we think we did about three miles in about three quarters of an hour.

Bridleway from Weston

Off-road near Weston (Photo: Belinda Borneo)

At this point Sarah, Sue and John J left us to head to Stevenage to take a train home. Once on the road again we had to go back to Weston and then down to Clothall.

Map-reading near Clothall (Photo: Belinda Borneo)

We crossed over the A507 and, via Quickswood, finally arriving in Baldock after 36 miles at 2pm where sadly the Fish and Chicken lunch stop and just closed. Because we were late we were happy to go to the the nearby sandwich bar and sit outside again to enjoy this autumn warmth.

Baldock

At 2.45 pm it was time to go again and we left Baldock under the railway bridge and joined the particularly nice route via Bygrave to Ashwell. This is very undulating with some fast downhills but also with great views.

The hill up to Ashwell (Photo: Belinda Borneo)

With what breeze there was behind us we soon arrived in Ashwell and then it was a familiar route home through Steeple Morden, Litlington, Bassingbourn to Meldreth.

Arriving in Ashwell (Photo: Belinda Borneo)

From Meldreth we went through Melbourn and past the bird reserve to Fowlmere once again where we retraced the morning ride through Thriplow and Newton and back to Little Shelford. Those who completed the full circuit would have cycled 62 miles. This was our first trip out since the clocks changed last Saturday and we just about got back in daylight, finishing about 4.45 pm. Our thanks to Averil for a great ride and also for the unexpected adventure through the fields. Edward Elmer



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