Thursday, 11 June 2015

11 Jun: Thursday ride to Gamlingay and Henlow

Edward writes: We have waited a long time for this and today we had a day entitled to be called a summer's day. By 9.30am in Haslingfield it was already warm, the skies were completely cloudless, and there was a light breeze from the East. This would help us on our ride out to Gamlingay and then on to Henlow for our lunch break. Craig was today's leader and we also welcomed Catherine who was making her debut with us.

Haslingfield

With sixteen riders this was a lower turnout than we would have expected in view of such perfect weather. Craig took the ride out towards Harlton where we branched off into Washpit Lane and out to the A603.

Approaching Comberton

This was crossed easily and this took us through to Comberton and on arriving at the high street we turned left on to the B1046 for the ride to Toft and then Bourn where we stopped to re-group. To avoid the hill for the Caxton turning we took the road which goes over the two fords, both of which were completely empty, no doubt a consequence of the long spell of dry weather we have had.

Waterless ford in Bourn

We were now on the road to Caxton, another of the many in our area which have been recently resurfaced so caution had to be exercised over the loose stones. As we approached Great Gransden we turned into Sand Lane for the run through Little Gransden and then the final approach into Gamlingay.

Gamlingay

LJ's is always a popular stop and the staff seem genuinely pleased to see us and for sure many on the ride were pleased to be there and enjoy doorstep sized bacon sarnies. Also at LJ's we found Mike S, Richard M, Doug, Sarah and Andy already enjoying the fare on offer.

Planning the route to lunch (Photo: Alex Brown)

Naturally, when it was time to leave a few left us to go home but at least fifteen carried on for the next session which took us out of Gamlingay over the heath road and into Potton. After we had threaded our way through Potton we came close to Sutton and then Eyeworth to join the B1042 to take us via Dunton and Millow.

Sutton

At the Hinxworth turn Rupert left us amid rumours he was off to another beer festival, and soon after everybody else crossed the A1. We were now on the road down to Langford with the wind turbines on our right and on the other side of the ride it looks like another wind farm is about to go up as one solitary turbine has already been erected. At Langford it was but a short ride into Henlow where we arrived at exactly 1.0 pm for our lunch at the Five Bells pub.

Track near Henlow (Photo: Alex Brown)

A table inside had been reserved for us but those who ordered a meal chose to sit outside and those with sandwiches sat in the park opposite the pub. This is a very busy pub and it seemed that all the tables were occupied but this didn't delay us at all and by 2 pm we were all set to go again.

Henlow

Henlow

Andy and Sarah along with Mike CC, who had mysteriously appeared during lunch, went on their own as their direction of travel was quite different from those returning to Haslingfield. We left Henlow and were soon going past the grounds of Champeneys Health Spa and out onto a cycle way which took us by the entrance to Arlesey railway station before joining the road towards Stotfold which included Pendleton Way before Doug briefly took the lead to guide us around the edge of Stotfold; this section included some estate roads and also some very quiet, pleasant hedge-lined lanes.

After many manoeuvres we eventually arrived on NCN 12 which took us into the village of Radwell and finally out to the A1.

NCN 12 near Stotfold

NCN 12 near Stotfold

Having successfully guided us to this point Doug handed back the reins and left us to head back home and the rest of us used the A1 for a couple hundred yards or so where we took the road to Newnham.

Newnham

Now we were on quiet roads but with plenty of undulations as we headed for Ashwell but also noticeable that the wind had picked up as we faced a more easterly direction; the wind doesn't quite know when to give it a rest. Nevertheless we made sedate progress and, of course, we were now on familiar territory as we passed through Steeple Morden where a stop was made for the purchase of refreshments, Litlington, Bassingbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth, Barrington and a final flourish over Chapel Hill into Haslingfield where the ride ended at 5pm and 56 very pleasant miles and many thanks to Craig for planning the route which took us on roads in Bedfordshire we rarely have the opportunity to use. Edward Elmer



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