The first shower passed quite quickly and the sun came out again, but the clouds still looked threatening so we didn't stop to remove our waterproofs. This turned out to be a good decision, as it wasn't long before we were riding in heavy rain. We continued through Barton, Comberton and Toft, then Bourn, Longstowe and the Gransdens, with heavy rain and a headwind all the way. This was the route we came home last week, but in the opposite direction.
The rain eased and the sun came out as we approached Abbotsley. What were we doing here? I hadn't intended to come this far west, but with head down in the rain I had missed the turn at Great Gransden. I looked at the GPS and consulted John E, who agreed that the best thing to do would be to retrace our steps, so we did a U-turn and made our way back to Great Gransden.
This time we turned left for Eltisley, where we arrived at 4 o'clock and I stopped to send a text to Mike to let him know we were running late. We took the B-road to Papworth Everard and skirted the town on the busy western bypass, before picking up the B-road again towards Hilton. After a short stretch we turned right towards Elsworth.
It was when we reached Elsworth and regrouped that we noticed Stan wasn't with us. We thought perhaps he'd made his own way through Papworth Everard, avoiding the busy A-road, but we found out later that he had stopped to take off his cape and hadn't seen us turn right: he had carried straight on to Hilton.
We carried on without him to Boxworth, Swavesey and Over, where we missed the turn onto New Road and carried on past the church to High Street. I knew we should come to West Street shortly after a right turn, so rode on ahead until I came to Willingham Road, realised my mistake and made the second U-turn of the day. I checked with someone in the pub who confirmed that New Road leads into West Street, and it wasn't long before we arrived to a very warm welcome at Mike's.
We were an hour late, having cycled 36 miles from Brookside. Mike and Helen had put on an excellent spread, and we all got stuck into sandwiches and cakes. We were reunited with Stan about 20 minutes later. He had made an even longer loop and, not knowing where Mike lived, was making his way home. It was completely by chance that he rode down West Street and spotted the CTC sign.
Getting ready to set off after tea in Over
Mike counted 21 of us in the garden as we sat in the sun chatting and enjoying our tea. People started to head off at about 5.30pm, but we waited for Stan to finish his well-earned tea. We retraced our steps back to Swavesey where we picked up the busway back to Cambridge, with Gareth, Nigel, Steve, Ian, Julia and Flo joining the afternoon riders for an easy ride home.
Riding home along the busway
Nigel and I peeled off towards Orchard Park as we came into Cambridge. Despite living in north Cambridge I always get confused coming through King's Hedges, and today was no different. Rather than following Nigel to Campkin Road, I looked for a short-cut to the right, but soon realised that this was where I had gone wrong on a previous occasion, so I turned around and chased after Nigel. I was just too slow to catch him at the Arbury Road traffic lights.
Riding home along the busway
I headed home and saw the odometer on 49.7 miles at the end of my street, so did a loop around the block to finish the day just other side of 50 miles. Despite the rain and the navigational blunder, this turned out to be a very enjoyable afternoon. Ray Miller
Download GPS track (GPX).