Thursday, 5 February 2015

5 Feb: Thursday ride to Cottenham and St Ives

Ian writes: An early morning light snow shower prompted me to check whether today's ride was still on, and I discovered that it had been cancelled because of the weather. Nevertheless I decided to ride to St Ives anyway, though I would not go via the official start at Haslingfield since that would have required me setting off at 8.40am start to arrive in time.

Instead a leisurely departure at 9.30am was the order of the day. My first decision was whether to simply head directly to St Ives via the Busway or leave home in Fen Ditton heading north towards Waterbeach to include a stop at the Cottenham Community Centre. The former I decided so off I headed into town to cross the Cam at Green Dragon bridge.

Here fate came into play, as I was  detained briefly by Julia and Flo who were out for a stroll prior to Flo's playgroup session. After that I happened to meet Jacob and Peter, who had likewise met by chance crossing Cambridge, at the mini roundabout where Green End Road meets Water Lane.

Hmm, OK let's go for the coffee then, so back along the other side of the Cam I headed to Waterbeach. The going was a bit slushy but not enough to slow the pace much and with a generous mudguard width and mudflap thought all should be fine if only I hadn't been quite so close to someone's back wheel!

The Community Centre at the former Methodist Church in Cottenham was soon reached in good time, well before 11am, so we ordered our coffees and scones and enjoyed the cosy and relaxed atmosphere waiting to see if anyone else would arrive.

Sure enough, around 11am Mike appeared, having arrived a little late at Haslingfield, not realising the ride had actually been cancelled but all was now well.

By 11.30 or so we considered it unlikely anyone else would arrive so off we set again, with Jacob and Mike returning to Cambridge, and myself and Peter carrying on to St Ives. A direct route was taken via Rampton, Willingham and Over to reach the Busway at Swavesey and thence to St Ives.

I had some business to sort out in St Ives so suggested going to the Farm Club cafe adjacent to the Parn and Ride site as a good lunching place. Off I continued to my St Ives abode only to realise I'd left my house keys in Fen Ditton! A decision was taken to grab a quick sandwich from Waitrose and return to Fen Ditton for a proper lunch a little late perhaps around 2pm.

Whilst sitting outside Waitrose consuming said sandwich, Adrian cycles by so off we both head to the Farm Club cafe to check if Peter still there though I thought not as I could see a high viz yellow top in the distance leaving the P&R site. Sure enough, we had just missed him but as it had only just gone 1pm it was time for Adrian's lunch and a coffee for me.

Although I had intended returning directly to Fen Ditton the weather was now brightening with some blue sky appearing and, sure enough, some sunshine soon followed. Adrian was keen to keep going so I thought "why not!" and in due course off we headed along the Thicket path to Houghton Mill

Crossing the Ouse again we were back south of the river and soon looping back towards Fenstanton, via the Hemingfords. The old NCN51 route was then followed all the way back to Cambridge for around 4pm, myself back in Fen Ditton and 47 miles to boost this week's total. Thanks for the company folks and hope all turned out well for you likewise! Ian Wright

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