Thursday, 7 May 2015

7 May: Thursday ride to Newmarket and Depden

Alex writes: The day had started with auspicious blue skies, but by the time members gathered at Hauxton it was clouding over and there was talk of rain. This was more than usually unwelcome: today was to see the 'official' photo for the club's publicity poster, and bedraggled cyclists would not be good publicity. Nevertheless the sixteen of us struck out east, Ian W our leader, hoping the weather would hold.

It was going to require some briskness to get us to Newmarket in good time for coffee, and a couple of things conspired to hold us up: first a lengthy wait for multiple trains at the Great Shelford crossing, then a hold up on the road as an articulated lorry was manoeuvring.

Climbing past the Beechwoods

I rode ahead to get in position for the official photo, and duly got snaps of members riding past which seemed fit for purpose. We headed on down into Fulbourn and then through the Wilbrahams and on to Six Mile Bottom.

Over Limepit Hill

In view of the lost time, Ian decided to head directly to Newmarket on the A1304. This is a smart road with well-tended grass verges but the scene was marred by the onset of steady rain. This continued for the half hour it took us to reach Newmarket, and by the time we got to the National Horseracing Museum we were all wet through.

Great Wilbraham

After coffee the sun was out again, allowing those of us going on to lunch to dry out as we rode. We climbed east out of Newmarket to Moulton (which my bike found exciting) and then into the rolling countryside through Gazeley and Denham en route to our lunch stop at Depden.

East of Gazeley

Yet again though the sky darkened and steady rain fell, so we were once more wet as we took our seats to eat. I reasoned that the adverse weather entitled me to a dessert in recompense and so enjoyed some rather fine coffee and walnut cake.

Regrouping near Barrow

After lunch rain fell again as we started riding, but it was short-lived this time and soon the scene was cheered by sunshine and the first real feelings of warmth. As we paused to stow our wet weather gear, we noticed a particularly fetching Belted Galloway bull watching us.

Coffee and walnut cake

Navigation proved tricky with Cowlinge seeming to exert some kind of strange pull but after several discussions, a bit of back tracking and a map reading session we were soon on roads which Ian declared were familiar, and so confidently headed west up onto the Newmarket Ridge.

Near Cowlinge

Outrunning the rain

Pausing near the Thurlows

As Balsham we split so people could get home by the most efficient routes. Four of us rode directly back to Fulbourn and then into Cambridge on Mill Road. This was convenient for me as I could stop and vote in today's general election. When I pulled-up at the polling station I had cycled 110 km (68 miles). Alex Brown



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