Sunday, 3 May 2015

2 May: Saturday Short Social ride to Milton

Julia writes: Today was the fifth Saturday ride of the new season, which started back in March, so it is high time for a blog report. There were seven cyclists assembled at Brookside when I turned up just a minute or two before the official start time: our regular Saturday riders Liz, Angela, Simon K, Simon G, Phil and David as well as guest rider Vasti, who had been out with our group for the first time on the previous Saturday ride in April. Ian and Flo soon joined us on the bakfiets, and we set off towards Barton Road.

The wind was still chilly, but overall the weather was quite pleasant with a few clouds and lots of sunny periods. As we cycled through Cambridge, I admired the many flowering cherry and apple trees we passed - I do love this time of the year when everything seems to be bursting with new life, making every outing even more enjoyable. Having followed the Barton Road cycle path as far as the Coton roundabout, we then turned right and towards Coton. Before we reached the village, however, we took another right turn and continued through the Coton Countryside Reserve.

Flo complained a bit when we did not stop at the reserve; Ian had taken him out there a few times throughout the past few weeks, and they had spotted frogspawn and tadpoles in some of the ponds on several occasions. Flo was obviously keen to see how they were doing (and somewhat disappointed when he realised we weren't going to check this time), but he was soon consoled by the promise of a duck feeding and playground session at Milton Country Park, which was our coffee stop destination for today's ride. So we carried on, along the Coton footpath and up to the bridge over the M11.

On the other side of the bridge, we had to slow down a bit as the path was busy with joggers and walkers. Soon we left the main path and turned off to the left, following a new, very wide and smooth shared use path towards the West Cambridge Site. I had not cycled along this particular stretch of path before and decided to stop and take some more pictures.

We crossed Madingley Road and cycled up through the grounds of the Observatory and the Institute of Astronomy. As always, I enjoyed this stretch of narrow tarmac winding its way between old beech trees, lab buildings and spring flowers. Out we came on Huntingdon Road, where the huge construction site on the left hand side after the Traveller's Rest with its numerous diggers, dumpers and other building machinery no doubt caught Flo's attention. We continued to Girton and took the right turn just after the village, eventually joining the busway and following it as far as Histon. From there, we carried on to Impington, took the footbridge over the A10 and cycled along Butt Lane into Milton.

Now it was only a short stretch to Milton Country Park, which we reached around 11:30 am. As we entered the Park, I could see Frances and Craig just ahead of us. They had sent a text earlier to say they were running late and would meet us at the coffee stop, so they timed it well to coincide with our arrival. The cafe wasn't too busy, so we were soon sitting outside with our teas, coffees and cakes. It had warmed up a bit since we had left Cambridge an hour and a half earlier and the location outside the cafe was quite sheltered from the breeze, so we all enjoyed a pleasant break—complete with sunshine and apple blossom.

Once Flo had finished his snack, it was time for me to fulfil my promise made earlier. After purchasing some bird food in the cafe, Flo and I said goodbye to the group and went off to visit the ducks, swans and playground. As I walked off with an enthusiastic toddler by my side, the others were still busy chatting and seemed in no rush to leave. In due course, Ian took the ride back through the park, and along the river into Cambridge, making it up to a total of about 20 miles. Julia Hochbach

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