Sunday, 4 January 2015

4 Jan: Morning ride to Waresley

Nigel writes: Although Cambridgeshire still hasn't seen any snow, winter has certainly arrived and the temperature when I left home this morning was about -4C. Although the roads were essentially dry, there had been a sharp frost overnight making me wary of unexpected icy patches.

I arrived at Brookside to find Alex and John waiting, and when 9.30am arrived we set off. I was the leader today, and took us to Waresley by the most direct route: west to Barton and then along the B1046 to Bourn before turning off and continuing through Caxton and Great Gransden to Waresley.

The air was damp with a gloomy, freezing, fog which persisted all day, preventing us seeing the sun for more than a few moments and keeping the temperature well below freezing for the entire morning. The roads were wet rather than icy but we did encounter several patches of icy slush, particularly along the flood-prone section of B1046 west of Toft. This meant that although I soon became comfortably warm, the pleasure of cycling was lessened slightly by the need to watch out for ice.

John and Alex in the icy gloom between Bourn and Caxton

We reached Waresley Park Garden Centre at 11am where we found Adrian and David W already drinking coffee. We ordered coffee and cakes and joined them for a pleasant half hour. We discussed what to do next. David was ready to carry on to lunch near Biggleswade, and Alex seemed up for it too, but I was worried about the amount of ice on the roads, and the fact that it didn't seem to be getting any warmer, and suggested we head back towards Cambridge instead.

We all set off together and rode onto Gamlingay where Adrian was planning to turn east to Longstowe and the B1046 back to Cambridge. Alex and I were soon riding a few hundred yards in front of Adrian and David. As we approached Gamlingay I suggested to Alex that we took a nicer and slightly longer route back, and so when we reached the church we turned right towards the Hatleys. (With hindsight it was rude of me not to have invited Adrian and David to join us).

The temperature on the ride back was still about -2C and the fog showed no signs of lifting, but the roads back seemed much less icy which made the return much more pleasant than the ride out. After riding through Hatley St George and East Hatley we descended Croydon Hill and turned left to Croydon and Arrington.

We crossed the A1198 and entered the back of the Wimpole Estate. There were some big patches of ice on the road through the estate but it was easy to get round them. After passing Wimpole Hall, barely visible in the fog, we left the estate and turned towards Orwell.

We continued to Barrington and climbed Chapel Hill before descending to Haslingfield and the final few miles to Barton and along the Barton Road cycleway into Cambridge. I arrived home at 1.20pm, having cycled 39 miles.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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