Thursday, 18 June 2015

18 Jun: Thursday ride to Newport and Great Saling

Edward writes: This morning, seventeen cyclists assembled in Hauxton. We have to mention the weather, and today was bright with light cloud, but the ever-present wind was blowing in from the north-west (and thus quite chilly) which always makes the choice of clothing a bit of a problem. Today’s ride was to take us to Newport for coffee and Andrew’s Field at Great Saling for lunch. We were joined by Jo who was making her first ride with us and this ride would be led by Adrian which would probably guarantee some off road material. In fact as we set off Adrian led a small group of three or four to cover some off road whilst Mike C led the remainder on a more sedate route on the roads.

Thriplow.

Thriplow.

We left Hauxton via Little Shelford and on into Newton, the long way round Thriplow, Fowlmere and out to the A505 which we crossed without even having to stop—a most unusual occurrence. It was nice to be cycling with a following wind, and we made good progress through Chrishall Grange as we began the long climb up to the Elmdon turning, where we came across Adrian’s group already waiting there.

Hertford End.

After a short breather we went into Chrishall and then downhill to join the B1039 heading East for a short while and then turned along a very narrow, hedge-lined lane which took us up to Duddenhoe End. This is not the normal road up to Duddenhoe End: it was very much nicer.

Duddenhoe End.

We now joined a very quiet and pleasant road out to Arkesden, where we had a slight hold-up, as we had to squeeze past an oil tanker making a delivery. We all got past, but any cars just had to wait! Another mile or so brought us to Wicken Bonhunt and the ride into Newport on the B1038, arriving shortly after 11:00 and nineteen miles.

Hold-up in Arkesden.

Newport.

Already at Dorrington’s we found Peter W, Mike B, Doug and Craig. It was fortunate that Craig was there early, as he was able to forewarn the staff of the coming invasion. This was all very pleasant, and just before midday it was time to go again, with the usual exchanges of personnel. Once again, Adrian proposed a route taking in some off-road, and he took charge of a group of about ten riders. Mike C led another group of six along the B1383 until the Henham turning, where it was a relief to leave the noise behind. We passed through Henham and joined the B1051 going through Pledgdon Green and Broxted where we were able to make our way to Tilty which is mainly downhill on a very quiet country lane.

Broxted.

Duton Hill was next followed by Lindsell and then for the final run into Great Saling we must have travelled six or seven miles on quiet lanes hardly seeing any cars at all, which made it made a really pleasant end to the morning session at Andrew’s Field at about 13:10. Adrian’s group followed us in about fifteen minutes later.

Andrew’s Field at Great Saling is a popular lunch stop: they are always very calm, friendly and efficient, and today they had good need to be, as we were certainly not the only cyclists to arrive. There were also many motor cyclists some of whom were riding vintage machines such as BSA, Norton and Ariel: all familiar names to those riding motor bikes in the 1950s and 1960s.

Classic Bikes at Great Saling.

All too soon it was time to go. At 14:15 Adrian led us out to the far end of the airfield, where we had to push our bikes over loose gravel before reaching the village of Great Saling, from where we headed up to Bardfield Saling and Shalford and joined the delightful four miles of lanes that led into Finchingfield.

Bardfield Saling.

Approaching Finchingfield

Here a number left us, whilst a small group stopped for an ice-cream before starting again and six miles later arriving in Helions Bumpstead. We finished the ride through Olmsted Green, Bartlow and Linton, another crossing of the busy A1307 into Little Abington, the farm track into Babraham, Sawston and finally into Great Shelford. This left Adrian to lead a small group back to Hauxton where the ride ended just before 18:00 and 70 miles. Our thanks to Adrian for another enjoyable day out which once again included some rarely used roads.

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