Sunday, 22 March 2015

22 Mar: Sunday ride to Ickleton and Buntingford

Nigel writes: We didn't have a pre-arranged leader today. What that means in practice is that riders decide the route at the start, so I planned a route over breakfast just in case we needed it.

I arrived at Brookside to find that my companions for the first stage of today's ride would be Charlie, Alex, Neil S, Neil T, Li, Lynn, Simon, Graham and Tom. I told them I had a route planned so I was promptly elected leader.

Brookside (Photo: Alex Brown)

I led the group south-east along Hills Road to Addenbrooke's where we turned left for the climb over the Gogs to Fulbourn.

The road over the Gogs (Photo: Alex Brown)

At Fulbourn we turned east to Balsham. The road to Balsham starts as a long and tedious straight to Charterhouse Bridge over the A11 where it becomes quieter and more pleasant as it climbs up to Balsham.

Balsham (Photo: Alex Brown)

We paused to regroup at the top, on the outskirts of Balsham, before turning south for a very pleasant descent down to Hildersham.

Hildesham

We crossed the A1307 to Abington (where drivers in both directions stopped to allow us to cross) and then joined the relatively-new cycleway that leads south-west along the A505. This was only my second time along this cycleway, and the first time I have followed it all the way to where it ends at the roundabout with the A1301 south of Sawston.

The cycleway itself is smooth and reasonably wide but the crossings of side roads are very poor, especially the side-turn to Babraham where you have to watch out for traffic leaving the A505 at very high speed whilst simultaneously hoping that traffic will not appear from around a blind corner from the other direction. Despite these flaws, the cycleway does at least mean that this is a feasible route for cycling; without this cycleway I would never have dreamed of taking the club along the A505.

A505 cycleway near Pampisford

At the roundabout with the A1301 we crossed over to the rather older cycleway that leads south along it to Hinxton. Once again this necessitated some difficult crossings of very busy roads. However once on the cycleway it was plain sailing, and when we reached Hinxton it was just a few more miles along quieter roads to Ickleton, where we stopped for coffee at Riverside Barns. As usual, a large group of members were already there.

Ickleton

After coffee most of the group returned to Cambridge, leaving just Conrad, David, Alex, Charlie and me to continue on to lunch in Buntingford. We continued south to Catmere End, Arkesden and Clavering before turning west through Berden, Stocking Pelham and Furneax Pelham to Hare Street and from there to Buntingford, where we stopped for lunch at Buntingford Coffee Shop.

After lunch we returned to Cambridge. We took a fairly direct route home, heading north-east through Wyddial, Anstey and Nuthampstead to Shaftenhoe End. The morning had been dull and cold but by now the sun had come out, making this a delightful ride along some of the nicest lanes in the area.

Nuthampstead

We climbed up to Great Chishill before dropping down again to Chrishall Grange and the final few miles via Duxford, Whittlesford and the Shelfords back to Cambridge. I arrived home at 4.10pm, having cycled 66 miles.



Download GPS track (GPX).

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