Sunday, 5 April 2015

5 Apr: All-day ride to Stradishall, Clare and Ashdon

Nigel writes: Today was Easter Sunday, which is unique in the calendar as being the only Sunday of the year where large stores are not allowed to trade. With the nation's favourite pastime unavailable, I suspect a lot of the population didn't know what to do with themselves and simply stayed at home, with the happy consequence that the roads today were very quiet, with much less traffic about that usual.

Members of CTC Cambridge don't have any problem deciding what to do on Sundays when the shops are shut, of course, and when I rode across to Brookside to lead our first full all-day ride of the year I found Steve, John R, Neil S, Neil T, Mike CC and Li waiting to join me.

Parker's Piece, Cambridge

It was quite cloudy and we didn't see the sun much today, but it stayed dry and there was hardly any wind. However the temperature was quite cool and I was glad that I had come out wearing my winter cycling gear, despite it now being April.

Riverside, Cambridge

We took the familar route east, along the river to Fen Ditton and then along High Ditch Road to Quy.

High Ditch Road, Fen Ditton

After Quy we took the long straight road to Six Mile Bottom where we began the long (but fairly gentle) climb to Brinkley.

The climb to Brinkley

Despite the cold temperatures it was definitely spring, and there was an abundance of daffodils along the road almost everywhere we went today.

From Brinkley we continued through Carlton to Carlton Green where we turned onto the narrow lane that leads to Little Thurlow. This was the first of a whole succession of tiny lanes on today's ride, and when we reached Little Thurlow we continued on a second narrow lane to the junction with the A143 by Highpoint Prison.

The ford at Little Thurlow

After a short section along the A143 we arrived at Adam's Cafe, at 11am exactly, to find a large group of members already there, including Edward, Eva, Jim, David W, Joseph, Adrian, Conrad, Keith and probably one or two others.

Coffee at Adam's Cafe, Stradishall

After a pleasant half hour we all set off again, with some members returning to Cambridge, leaving Conrad, Li, Adrian, Steve, Keith, Joseph, Neil S and John R to carry on with me to lunch in Clare. We didn't have far to go so we were able to take a meandering route along the tiniest lanes I could find, taking us through Denston, Assington Green, Stansfield and Thurston to Glemsford.

For a while the sun came out and the temperature rose noticeably, making this a particularly pleasant section of the ride. We continuted to Cavendish where we crossed the A1092 to take a short loop through Pentlow Street (past the Nethergate Brewery), Pentlow and Hickford Hill, arriving at Clare at 1pm exactly.

We stopped for lunch at The Bell Hotel. This was quite busy today but the staff managed to fit us in without difficulty.

After lunch we set off towards Ashdon where we were due to stop for tea - our first afternoon tea stop of the year.

Somewhere near Denston

Since it was currently 2pm and we were due there at 3.30pm this meant taking a fairly direct route, and I led the group back over the River Stour and then along the road towards Ashen. At a junction along the way the group divided, with Adrian, Steve and Li making their own way to Ashdon, leaving me to lead Conrad, Joseph, Neil and John on through Ridgewell and Steeple Bumpstead.

When we reached Helions Bumpstead John Conrad left us, to head directly back home, leaving the rest of us to carry on via Olmstead Green to arrive at the Ashdon Mseum on time at 3.30pm, with Adrian, Steve and Li joining us 5-10 minutes later.

The Ashdon Museum is one of the club's favourite tea stops, and as always we were given a warm welcome and served with freshly-baked cake and pots of tea protected against the cool spring breeze with colourful knitted cosies. Already in the cafe was Mike S, who had made his one way there, and a little later Mike K and the afternoon ride arrived. We were also joined by a pair of friendly cycle-tourists from London who we had met a few miles earlier and who I had invited to join us.

Somewhere near Denston

After tea we all set off back to Cambridge. Almost everyone wanted to take the direct route via Linton with only Neil S joining me on a slightly longer route via Saffron Walden, Audley End, Catmere End and Ickleton.

I arrived home in Cambridge just after 6pm, having cycled 80 miles, easily my longest ride so far this year. Today's ride also increased my Eddington Number from 74 to 75. (I may write more about this in a future article.)

Later I received an email from John R, who had left us in Clare at 2pm, that hee had arrived home in Swavesey at 4.45pm, having cycled 92 miles.

Download GPS track (GPX).


  1. Actually i was the one who left the group at Helions Bumpstead. Anyway, why not tweet some of the photos using #mycyclingweekend

  2. I've corrected the report. And thanks for the tip about #mycyclingweekend .