I suspect I wasn't the only member to be aware of this, since when I arrived at Brookside there were eleven other riders waiting: an excellent turnout for January (and rather better than the two members I found there braving the -4C freeze last week).
From Brookside we set off east, across Parker's Piece and down to Midsummer Common and the river.
Crossing Parker's Piece, Cambridge
We followed the river east to Stourbridge Common and Ditton Meadows and then along the Wadloes Path to Fen Ditton.
Waiting to cross the B1047 in Fen Ditton
In Fen Ditton we were joined by Jim, Andy and Sarah, bringing the number of riders up to fifteen.
High Ditch Road, Fen Ditton
We continued east to Quy and then followed the route of the "old" NCN 51 through Bottisham, the Swaffhams and Reach to Burwell. Here turned north onto a quiet single-track road which took us towards Wicken Fen.
Approaching Wicken Fen
For the whole of today's ride we rode at a very moderate, sociable, pace which made it easy for me to dash ahead, take a few photos as the others rode past, and then sprint to catch up.
Around Wicken Fen
A few minutes later we reached the Wicken Fen Visitor Centre where we stopped for coffee and (in my case) a large slice of chocolate cake. Already at the cafe were Adrian, Joseph, Vic and perhaps one or two others, making the numbers up to about eighteen.
Eva shows Rupert and Nigel the route to lunch (Photo: Alex Brown)
Setting off after coffee at Wicken Fen
After coffee about a dozen of us continued on to lunch at La Hogue Farm, Chippenham whilst the others turned back towards Cambridge. From Wicken we followed the A1123 east to Soham (where a tailwind meant I easily reached 25mph on the flat as I sprinted ahead for yet another photo). After riding through the town we turned east to East Fen and then, after crossing the A142, on to Isleham.
A typical "fen bend" on the way to Isleham
The countryside around here is typical Cambridgeshire Fen: completely flat, of course, a little bit desolate, and with dead-straight roads linked by right-angle bends. Although we weren't very far from Cambridge this is a direction we rarely visit on club rides and it was nice to be on unfamilar and somewhat disorientating roads.
At Isleham we turned south and crossed the border into Suffolk towards the village of Freckenham. We carried on to Chippenham and gradually the bleak fen landscape turned into the rather more domestic landscape of the horce-racing countryside around Newmarket.
A few minutes later we reached La Hogue Farm Shop where we stopped for lunch.
Alex and a well-earned pavlova at La Hogue Farm
After a very relaxed and sociable lunch we set off back west towards Cambridge. After a morning with the wind behind us, this took us directly into a headwind. Although this turned out to be less of a problem than we had expected, it was nevertheless quite cold and we were glad of our windproof jackets.
Eva leads the group into the wind towards Snailwell
We returned home by a more direct route than in the morning: west to Snailwell and then over the A142 to Exning. From there we followed the route of NCN 51 to Burwell and then back by the way we had come to Cambridge.
Waiting for stragglers in Swaffham Bulbeck
After a very enjoyable day's cycling I arrived home at about 4pm, having cycled 57 miles.
Download GPS track (GPX).