Sunday, 14 December 2014

14 Dec: Sunday ride to Shepreth and Buntingford

Nigel writes: There was no pre-arranged leader for today's ride to Shepreth and Buntingford, so before setting off from home I took the precaution of checking this blog to see whether we'd done this ride before, and if so what route we'd taken. With the help of the search box I quickly found that we'd visited the same places on 23rd February, so I looked at the route and downloaded the GPS track to my Garmin, just in case it was needed.

I arrived at Brookside just before 9.30am to find Neil S, Neil T, Z-Q and John E already there and wondering what route to take. After a brief discussion we agreed to take a loop to the west before stopping south to Shepreth. We set off west out of Cambridge along the Coton path to Coton and then up Madingley Hill.

Neil and John climb Madingley Hill

At the roundabout at the top we turned towards Hardwick before tuning south along Long Road to Comberton. When we reached the B1046 we turned west once more and rode through Toft before turning south for the fonal few miles through Kingston, the Eversdens and Haslingfield. It was a pleasant morning, cold but not particularly so, and fairly bright with the prospect of sunshine later.

After climbing Chapel Hill we dropped down to Barrington and a few minutes later arrived in Shepreth , where we stopped for morning coffee at Teacake Cafe. Already in the cafe were Vic, Sue, Mike S, Mick, Joseph, Edward and Adrian, making eleven in total.

After coffee at Teacake Cafe, Shepreth

After a pleasant forty minutes we left the cafe and most of the group set off for home, leaving just Adrian, Mike and me to carry on to lunch in Buntingford. We decided to take three different routes. My route took me west to Kneesworth and Litlington, along a short section of A505 and then up the steep hill to Thirfield. As expected, the sky brightened and the sun came out and it turned into a rather nice winter's day, despite a persistent cold southerly wind. The next few miles through Kelshall and Sandon and then on to Buntingford were along very pleasant (if rather muddy) country lanes. I arrived In Buntingford and stopped for Lunch at Buntingford Coffee Shop, where a reserved table was waiting. A few moments later Adrian arrived, who had taken a very similar route with a short-cut at the end. I ordered lunch and a Nigel (see this report for an explanation) and we sat down to wait for our food. About five minutes Mike S arrived: he had taken a direct route via the B1368.

After lunch at Buntingford Coffee Shop

After lunch we all set off for home. Once again I set off on my own with a plan to follow the same route as in February. However just beyond Wyddial my gear cable snapped. This left me with just two gears, neither particularly low, so I abandoned my plan to ascent Mount Chishill and instead returned home along the easier gradients of the B1368. With a tailwind this was fairly easy despite the lack of gears. When I reached Harston I used the new path across Trumpington Meadows - much of it coated with thick mud - to reach the busway into Cambridge. After a short diversion to try out the new "spine road" through Great Knighton (see here for more information) I arrived home at 4.15pm having cycled 61 miles.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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