Wednesday, 3 June 2015

3 Jun: Evening ride to Barton

Nigel writes: The longest day is now less than three weeks away and so with a long sunny evening in prospect I wasn't surprised to find a large turnout at Brookside which made this our largest evening ride so far this year. My companions this evening were regulars Gareth, Conrad, Alex, Chris, John E, Sven and Ian W, relative newcomers David and Luc, and Andy who was on his first ride with us. It is always heartening to see newcomers coming back for more.

I arrived at Brookside and offered the same two choices as on other recent rides to Barton. My preferred choice was a loop to the west via Great Gransden, but Alex warned us that the road to Great Gransden was covered in loose chippings. My backup route was a loop to the south via Sawston, but Alex didn't seem to like that either.

So we made up a route on the spot, with Gareth suggesting a ride via Chapel Hill, Wimpole and Croydon to Hatley St George before turning back east via Longtowe. This sounded a bit long to me, but I thought it was worth a try so we set off west along the Barton Road cycleway to Barton.

Barton Road Cycleway

Before long Gareth was disappearing into the distance, accompanied by Sven, Conrad and Chris. Normally I prefer it if the group stays together (it's more sociable with a small group) but with a relatively large group it worked well, with the faster riders enjoying a ride at a brisk pace and the rest of us following on behind at a more moderate pace.

When we reached Barton we turned towards Haslingfield, climbed Chapel Hill to Barrington. We continued to Orwell, crossed over the A603 and rode on to the gates of Wimpole Hall.

At the gates of Wimpole Hall

It was now 7.30pm and although everyone was riding quite strongly it was becoming clear that if we followed the route suggested by Gareth we wouldn't arrive back at Barton until well after 8.30pm so instead of entering the grounds of Wimpole Hall continued north along the very pleasant lane that continues north around the edge of the estate before turning west to meet the A1198.

Lane north of Wimpole

We rode north along the A1198 as far as Longstowe where we turned east onto the B1046 towards Bourn. However with Barton only six or seven miles away I feared we would now get to Barton too early, so I added in an extra loop via Kingston, the Eversdens, Harlton and Comberton.

We arrived at The White Horse in Barton at 8.35pm, five minute later than planned. The breakaway group of Gareth, Sven, Conrad and Chris had arrived a couple of minutes before us, having completed the route that Gareth had originally suggested via Wimpole Hall, Croydon, Hatley St George and Longstowe. We ordered drinks and plates of chips and sat outside to enjoy the remaining half hour of sunshine.

At the White Horse, Barton

Afterwards we set off again for the short journey back along the Barton Road cycleway into Cambridge. It was now beginning to get dark and the temperature had dropped noticeably, but we didn't have far to go and I arrived home at 9.30pm, having cycled 32 miles.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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