Sunday, 1 March 2015

1 Mar: Sunday ride to Saffron Walden and Langley

Nigel writes: I nearly missed the start of today's ride, as I only remembered at the last minute that it was now March and the start time of our Sunday rides had been brought forward half an hour to 9am. So I abandoned my plans for a leisurely breakfast, drank a quick mug of coffee and set off for Brookside.

It was a glorious sunny morning, so it was rather a surprise to discover that there were only four others waiting: Steve, Rupert, Alex and John E. Perhaps everyone else would turn up at 9.30am. There was no pre-arranged leader today, but Rupert had a route in mind and after a short discussion to fine-tune it we set off.

We rode south along Trumpington Road and turned left into Brooklands Avenue. We were heading for the busway, but instead of joining it at Long Road we visited the new Kaleidoscope development off Brooklands Avenue where a new access point to the busway has recently been opened.

This was the first time I had entered this new development of apartment blocks and was surprised to discover that it was much larger, and rather less architecturally banal, than I had expected. It gleamed in the bright morning sunshine, looking like something you might find in, say, Spain.

Kaleidoscope, Cambridge

It wasn't obvious how to get to the busway - and there was no signposting - but we didn't take long to find it and we were soon on the busway heading south towards Trumpington Park and Ride.

From the Park and Ride we followed the path through Trumpington Meadows, over the M11 to Hauxton Mill bridge. We followed the cycle path along the A10 for a short distance before turning onto the B1368 towards Newton.

At Newton we turned left to Whittlesford and then right towards Duxford. We continued to Ickleton where the group divided to take two different routes to our coffee stop in Saffron Walden. Rupert and Steve took the traditional route via Coploe Hill, Chestnut Avenue and Audley End, whilst Alex and I took a slightly longer route via Elmdon.

Although the weather this morning was clear and sunny, with very mild temperatures, there was a very strong south-westerly wind, and the long climb to Elmdon took us directly into it. We plodded to the top and then descended back town to Wenden Lofts before turning east for a fast wind-assisted sprint along the B1039 to Wendens Ambo. From there we took the rather busy B1052 into Saffron Walden rather than the usual road and joined the others for coffee at The Temeraire. Also there were various other members including Adrian, Craig, Edward, Doug and Mick.

Nigel tops up a slow puncture

After coffee I carried on to lunch with Alex, leaving various others to take a shorter route. My route took us south to Debden Crossroads and then through Widdington, Ugley, Rickling and Arkesden. With a headwind for much of the way this was more of a slog than I had expected, and it came as a welcome relief to eventually reach Langley Lower Green, where we stopped for lunch at The Bull.

Alex splashes through the ford at Clavering

Already eating lunch were Adrian, Steve and Doug, and I was pleased to see that John E, who we had lost in the warren at Kaleidoscope, was there too.

The others had arrived well before us so they left and headed back to Cambridge leaving Alex and I to enjoy a leisurely lunch. The food was, once again, excellent and I can see this pub becoming a regular favourite of the club. It was good to see the pub was very busy, despite being in a isolated location.

After lunch Alex and I took a direct route back to Cambridge (the same as Gareth had taken on our previous visit here on 25th January. This took us north through Little Chishill to Shaftenoe End and then up to Great Chishill. We descended to Flint Cross and then joined the B1368 to Fowlmere and Newton. With the wind behind us at last we made rapid progress, with Alex riding strongly and disappearing into the distance on these long level sections.

We turned towards Little Shelford and returned to Cambridge via Great Shelford, the DNA path, and the busway. Rain had been forecast for the afternoon but never materialised and I arrived back home at 3.45pm, having cycled just under 60 miles.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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