Sunday, 8 February 2015

8 Feb: Sunday ride to Gamlingay and Hinchingbrooke

Nigel writes: Today we were blessed with yet another gorgeous winter's day, with clear skies and bright sunshine from start to finish, relatively mild temperatures, and very little wind. I arrived at Brookside to find almost twenty riders waiting for today's ride, probably the largest turnout so far this year for a Sunday ride.

Our leader today was John Ross, but since such a large group can be a bit hard to manage on the road it was decided to set off in two groups, John leading the front group and Rupert leading a second group (at the same pace) a short distance behind.


I'm good at remembering faces but not so good with names, but setting off in the front group were John, Neil T, Lynn, Chris, Yvette, Charlie, Alex (resplendent in all-over Yellow) and Mike CC.

John and the front group

The second group, only a hundred yards behind, included Rupert, Greg, Tom, Clare, Seb, Ian, Neil S, Steve, Graham and Conrad (apologies to those not mentioned).

Rupert and the rear group

From Brookside we rode west along Fen Causeway and then across Lammas Land to join the Barton Road cycleway which we followed out of the city and all the way to Barton.

Barton Road cycleway

At Barton we turned onto the B1046 which we followed west through Comberton, Toft, Bourn and Longstowe all the way to Gamlingay. With John setting a sensibly moderate pace at the front, and with the weather warm and sunny right from the start, this was a pleasant, sociable ride, with our conversation interruypted only by the need to single out periodically to allow cars to overtake.

Barton Road cycleway

We arrived at Gamlingay bang on time at 11am and stopped for coffee at Woodview Farm Cafe, about a mile to the south. This is a relatively new farm shop and cafe, and we paid our first visit here for lunch last month. Today was the first time we'd visited for coffee, and when twenty cyclists trooped in I think the staff were a little bit startled. However there was plenty of room and we were quickly served with coffee and some rather good cake.

Also at the cafe were several members who had made their own way there, including Adrian, Vic, Edward, Jim, Sharon, Belinda and probably one or two more.

Woodview Farm Cafe

Afterwards about half the group returned back to Cambridge leaving about ten to carry on to lunch in Hinchingbrooke Country Park near Huntingdon. I stayed with the group carrying on to Lunch.

Lily Hill between Waresley and Abbotsley

From the cafe we rode back to Gamlingay and on to Waresley. There we turned left (after my pleading) onto the delightful lane that leads gently over Lily Hill and on towards Abbotsley. We knew we were going to be late for lunch but the weather was warm and sunny so it didn't matter.

Alex and some wind turbines near Graveley

At Abbotley we turned north to Croxton, crossed over the A428 and continued to Graveley. There we turned west for the Offords, Offord D'Arcy and Offord Cluny. By the time we reached Offord Cluny it was about 12.45pm and we decided to divide the ride again, with Rupert leading one group straight to lunch via Godmanchester and Huntingdon whilst John led the remainder on a longer loop west via Buckden, Grafham and Brampton.

Hinchingbrooke Country Park

I joined this second group which arrived at Hinchingbrooke Country Park at about 1.45pm, about half an hour behind the others. The cafe at the park is small but completely adequate. I ordered a plate of beans on toast for the excellent price of £2.45 which I ate with the others outside in the sunshine.

After lunch we set off back to Cambridge. This meant cycling through Huntingdon and on to Godmanchester, which is straightforward enough but involves navigating a tedious succession of poor-quality pavement cycleways, interrupted at one point by a rather pleasant cycle path across Mill Common.

Mill Common, Huntingdon

Just beyond Godmanchester we turned off towards the swage works and then onto the cycle path across Eastside Common to Hemingford Abbots. This was busy with local people, some walking dogs, others with young children on bikes, but we were able to get past with good humour and without difficulty.

Eastside Common approaching Hemingford Abbots

From Hemingford Abbots we turned north across the meadows to Houghton and then east along the Thicket Path (equally busy with sunday afternoon strollers) to St Ives. There we joined the busway for the final fifteen miles back to Cambridge.

On the busway

I arrived home at 4.15pm, having cycled 64 miles.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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