Ray writes: Today was a beautiful sunny day, so I was surprised that only five of us turned up at Brookside for the afternoon ride to Ashwell; last week, when it was wet and windy, there were eleven riders.
We took a standard route out of Cambridge, across Lammas Land and onto the Barton Road cycleway, where we passed Ian coming towards Cambridge. We followed the cycle path all the way to Barton, then turned off for Haslingfield. Here I made my first navigational blunder of the day, with a premature right-turn into a dead-end street. I realised my mistake as soon as I had turned in, but not before the rest of the group had followed. We made a quick U-turn and carried on a hundred yards or so for the turn to Chapel Hill.
After the descent into Barrington, we turned right for Orwell and my second mistake, this time a premature left turn. This turned out OK as Loftfield St loops around to join the intended Town Green Rd, as we found out after a brief exploration of another dead-end and U-turn.
John had been behind us when we came into Orwell, so we stopped to wait for him at the junction with the A603. It wasn't long before we heard a shout from up the road, where John was waiting for us at the Wimpole turn: he, of course, had not spent so long exploring Orwell and was now ahead of us.
We rode slowly through the grounds of Wimpole Hall, then continued up the hill to Croydon and down to the B1042 where we would usually turn left then right for Shingay. Tina had warned us of resurfacing work leaving a lot of loose gravel on the road between Shingay and Guilden Morden and, as we were making good time, I decided to avoid this route by turning right for Wrestlingworth and Eyeworth. The B-road was a bit of a busy drag, but we were rewarded with a delightful little lane from Eyeworth all the way to Ashwell.
There was a small group of riders (Joseph, Adrian, Mike S, Li and I perhaps one or two others) already there when we arrived, and we had just sat down with our tea and cakes when the main all-day ride came in. I am pleased to report that the tea and cakes were excellent (so good, in fact, that Simon went back for seconds).
Nigel, Greg, Li and Ian D joined us for the ride back towards Cambridge. We took the usual route through Steeple Morden and Littlington as far as Meldreth, where we deviated south for Melbourn to pick up the single-track road past the nature reserve to Fowlmere.
We stayed together through Thriplow and Newton, and parted company at the turn
for Little Shelford. Nigel, Neil and Greg went straight on to Harston (with Neil and Nigel exploring a route into Cambridge via Grantchester) while the rest of us went via the Shelfords and the DNA path.
This was a lovely ride, mostly on quiet roads and cycle tracks, with sunshine all the way. Strava tells me I covered 52 miles and climbed 658ft. Ray Miller
Download GPS track (GPX).