Sunday, 30 November 2014

30 Nov: Sunday ride to Waresley and Holme

Nigel writes: After last Sunday's all-day rain, which forced me to stay at home and spend the day decorating, I was keen to get out for a ride this today. Once again, today's ride followed the club's new "winter ride" format, with a 9.30am start and stops for coffee and lunch before returning home after lunch. There were about nine or ten riders at Brookside for today's ride; John R was our leader.

Our coffee stop today was to be in Waresley, so John led us west to Newnham and then out of Cambridge along the Barton Road cycleway.

Lammas Land, Cambridge

The weather was misty and dull, but not particularly cold and there was very little wind. When we reached Barton we turned west onto the B1046 which we followed through Comberton and Toft to Bourn.

B1046 west of Toft

We rode through Bourn where the group turned west onto Caxton End and splashed through the two shallow fords there before continuing on to Caxton, Gamlingay and Warseley.

We stopped for coffee at Waresley Park Garden Centre. As usual, several members were already there and we had a sociable half hour before regrouping into the "going on to lunch" group and the "going back to Cambridge" group. I rode with the latter group: by now the sun had come out and I was keen to make good use of a fine autumn day.

B1040 between Waresley and Gamlingay

John's route took us south from Waresley to Gamlingay and then west to Everton. From there we sped down Tempsford Hill. This steep (10%) and very short (40m) hill down to the Ouse Flood Plain always comes as a bit of a surprise, but a smooth-straight road with a long roll-out at the bottom meant I reached 33mph without really trying.

At Tempsford we crossed the A1 and continted west to Blunham before turning south for the final few miles through Moggerhanger and Norhill to our lunch stop in Holme.

Crossing the River Ivel near Blunham

Lunch today was at Jordan's Mill. Last time I was here we had sat outside by the river, but today, although it was almost warm enough to do the same thing again, we decided to sit inside in the warm.

After lunch we turned back east for the long journey back to Cambridge. From Holme to Biggleswade we tried out a new cycleway which runs along the west bank of the Ouse, under the A1 and ending up by the church in the middle of Biggleswade.

New cycleway between Holme and Biggleswade (S of A1)

The path had a loose "hoggin" finish, which is far from ideal but today it was dry and relatively smooth.

New cycleway between Holme and Biggleswade

New cycleway between Holme and Biggleswade (N of A1)

Once in Biggleswade we mixed with the busy town centre traffic for a few minutes before turning onto quieter local roads which we followed south-east to the edge of the town where we joined the main road east to Dunton. We rode through Edworth to Dunton and on to Wrestlingworth where we turned south to Guilden Morden. We continued to Steeple Moorden where we turned east for the final appach to Cambridge.

This took us along familar roads through Litlington, Bassingbourn, Kneesworth, Meldreth and Shepreth . By now I was beginning to flag so I was glad we didn't have far to go. Unfortunately, however, the next village in this succession was Barrington, which meant Chapel Hill. I normally climb this on the middle chainwheel but today I was glad to plod up in the granny gear.

After the descent to Haslingfield I suggested to Neil (who was by now my last remaining companion) that we turn right to Harston to try out the new cycleway between Hauxton Mill Bridge and Trumpington P&R.

Hauxton Mill Bridge: start of new cycle route to Trumpington P&R

This turned out to be fairly good, with a hard surface all the way but the first section was topped (completely unnecessarily) with loose gravel (perhaps we should come back one day with a broom and sweep it all off). However most of the route was either a concrete farm road or a normal tarmac path. It was nice enough, though I think the relatively wide section of A10 that it bypasses is nowhere near as unpleasant as the section we had just ridden through Harston itself, where a succession of narrow pinch-points deliberately causes conflict with motor vehicles and makes for some unpleasant cycling.

Once at Trumpington P&R it was plain sailing along the busway to the station and then on to home. I arrived home at 4.15pm, about twenty minutes after sunset, having cycled 64 miles.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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