Wednesday, 17 June 2015

17 Jun: Evening ride to Stow-cum-Quy

Gareth writes: Last week, my back light, although freshly charged, became so faint on the way back from the pub as to be nearly invisible. Rechargeables only have a limited number of charging cycles, and when they finally give up they do so pretty quickly. I was determined not to let that happen again, so as well as replacing the batteries, I ordered a Busch and Müller 4D Toplight. I've always wanted a light that screws on to the bike so you don't have to be always detaching it and attaching it and then finding that it accidentally got switched on in your bag and has been on all day.

I refreshed the weather forecast a few times during the day. At first the BBC were predicting heavy rain from 18:00 to 21:00, but by the afternoon the prediction had changed to light rain, and a look at the rain radar showed that the showers were to the west of Cambridge, so that if we headed east we would probably escape them.

Nonetheless, the forecast must have put people off, because turnout was well down on the last couple of weeks, with just three other riders at Brookside: Chris E, John E and new rider Chris. It's always a bit tricky judging the pace when there's a new rider: take it too slowly and they might feel bored or unchallenged; take it too quickly and they might be discouraged. But Chris seemed pretty game, and we had a tailwind, so after crossing the Gogs, we settled on a steady 25–28 km/h through Fulbourn and the Wilbrahams to Six Mile Bottom. With time in hand, and no sign of rain, I took a detour up Chilly Hill towards Weston Conville, and then turned left onto Grange Road. This is one of my favourite evening routes: a quiet lane where red grouse flee from the road into the hedgerows as you approach. Chris wondered whether it was possible to see Cambridge from the road between Westley Waterless and Dullingham, but on reflection I don't think you can, because the Gogs ridge is in the way.

On Heath Road near Swaffham Bulbeck.

At Dullingham it was only 19:45 so I suggested a quick trip around the block: up Eagle Lane, past the stud farm (Dullingham Park), and then back down the B1061 to Dullingham again. Now we were heading into the westerly wind and our speed dropped a bit, but with a bit of drafting we managed to pull into the White Swan at Stow-cum-Quy on time at 20:30. We had been rained on just once, for no more than a minute. A good ride, 59 km (37 miles) for me.

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