Thursday, 5 March 2015

5 Mar: Thursday ride to Hare Street and Baldock

Edward writes: At dawn this morning the temperature was about zero degrees and this always give the problem as to what to wear, especially as the forecast was for a bright sunlit morning followed by a cloudy afternoon and all with milder temperatures than recent days. This must have encouraged the twenty riders, including Mike P riding with us for the first time, who assembled at Haslingfield Green for Mike C's ride out to Hare Street for coffee and then on to Baldock.


Twenty cyclists, of course, required two groups and Rupert took charge of the following group as we set off out of Haslingfield to Harston. At Harston we crossed the busy A10 and went over the railway and up the hill to Newton where we turned up to Thriplow and Fowlmere which took us to a very busy A505. This took the second group some considerable time to get across.

A505 at Fowlmere

Next we came to Chrishall Grange and then the long climb up to the Elmdon turn and when there gave us the opportunity for a breather.

Elmdon turning

The last few days were very windy and although the wind was much less today it was still an influence on our ride as all morning we would be basically heading south west and very much straight into it. Nevertheless we pressed on and now we were in a high part of the county as we passed through Heydon and Gt.Chishill and then the very attractive rolling countryside to Shaftenhoe End; at least it would be attractive if it wasn't used as a dumping ground (see photo).

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We have to put such things out of our minds as we now headed to Nuthampstead where the first group witnessed a collision between a trailer and a four wheel drive at the turning to the Woodman. This didn't require any action from us and we made our way to Anstey and then to Great Hormead on the road that runs parallel to the B1368, and here we saw a herd of deer run over the road into the neighbouring field, and this left a couple of miles for the run in to Hare Street and the March Hare tea rooms for our first break of the day.

Towards Great Hormead

We arrived at the March Hare at 11.30, a bit later than usual, but this followed a twenty one mile ride and already in residence were Sue, Craig and Doug. The sun was still out and we all took our refreshments outside in the garden, and some took the refreshments very seriously enjoying the nice cakes on offer.

Hare Street

We finally got going again for the ride out to Baldock and with those who left us after coffee we still had sixteen in our group.

Towards Buntingford

We took the loop round to Buntingford, and then went back into the country again at Aspenden and then due south through Westmill, Nasty and Great Munden where we turned west and then began a long slog into the wind all the way to Baldock.

Great Munden

This trip took us through the Hamlets of Wood End, Ardley and Hall's Green and at last Weston and soon after we crossed the A505 Baldock Bypass and much to everyone's relief the steep downhill and the final run in to Baldock. We arrived after 39 miles at 1.54, just in time as the Fish and Chick restaurant closes at but they stayed open and everyone was able to have lunch.


At 2.40 pm we had all eaten and it was time to go again and, even as forecast the sun had gone, the wind would be with us all the way home. We left Baldock, under the railway and out once more into open country for the very undulating ride up to Bygrave and after more hill climbing we reached Ashwell. This now put us on familiar ground and for the ride home we went through Steeple Morden and Litlington and then the pleasant little detour round Abington Piggots and into Bassingbourn.

This just left Meldreth, Shepreth, Barrington and a final flourish over Chapel Hill arriving at 4.30 pm and a round trip of 60 miles, so most people before getting home would have clocked up 70 miles. This was a slightly longer ride than of late and entirely appropriate for the longer days and the better weather, so our thanks to Mike for the day out and a most interesting route. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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