Sunday, 12 July 2015

12 Jul: Sunday all-day ride to Ely, Welney and Over

John writes: I set off from home in Swavesey as usual around 8am with the weather forecast for the day looking like rain at some stage(s).

I met my three fellow riders – Li, Ian W and Alex at Brookside and we set off across Parkers Piece where the Cambridge Big Weekend was taking place. The usual route then continued along the river, out to Quy then into Bottisham.

Ian on the CTC bench at Brookside

Skirting Midsummer Common

From there we headed out through Lode and along the Lodes Way up to Wicken Fen.

White Fen

After Wicken we started along National Cycle Route 11 heading towards Ely. Unfortunately, it was along this road that Alex had a rear puncture. So, as is normal practice, a group of three of us changed the innertube and strained to seat a tight fitting tyre onto a deep section rim. Successfully seated we proceeded to pump the tyre up only to find that all of a sudden the valve sheered off and we were left to fit another innertube – lesson to be learned by all – always carry two spare tubes!!

Puncture repairs

So we eventually set off again riding on top of the bank alongside the River Ouse with lovely views over toward Ely Cathedral. We reached the fantastic Peacock Tearooms somewhat later then planned around 11.50am and decided that as we were running nearly an hour late we would actually partake of lunch at the tearooms. For anyone who has never been to the tearooms and who likes different teas from all over the world this place is highly recommended.

Peacock's Tearoom, Ely

Li decided to head back to Wicken Fen for her afternoon tea stop so just three of us set off in what was by now a lovely sunny day – little did we know what was coming later!

Ely after coffee

From Ely we headed out on the Lynn/Ely road up to Littleport. Crossing the A10 we dropped down onto Ten Mile Bank which follows the Ouse for some way. Just before we got to Modney Bridge we came across a lengthy set of road works which forced us to lose further time by having to walk through a farmers field. Not to be beaten we got back on the bikes and turned left onto Station Road (still following route 11) and literally were immediately caught in a deluge of rain – of course out here there aren't many trees for shelter!

Sheltering from the rain near Welney

We stopped to don waterproofs and finding a small degree of shelter against a conifer hedge we waited whilst I phoned Mike (tea stop) to advise him that we were running about an hour late. Just as we were about to head off (still raining) I spotted a distinctly soaked-through cyclist in the distance heading our way – by his cap and cycling demeanour I knew it was Keith. So the now four of us decided to head off rapidly and partake of a pot of tea at Welney (we had been planning to have lunch there). A welcome cup of strong tea and with the rain easing we set off along the long and straight (yawn, yawn!!) 100 Foot Drain. Knowing we were running late we decided to take the quickest possible route back via Pymoor, Coveney, Sutton, Willingham and into Over.

Back across the Fens

We finally landed at Mike's house just before 5pm and were welcomed by Mike and Helen and a most wonderful spread of food including various sandwiches, cakes and my favourites – pork pies and sausage rolls. Arriving slightly later than us were the afternoon group led by Ray. Lovely weather (finally!) and fabulous tea at Mike's made the perfect end to the day.

Home tea in Over

We had cycled around 82 miles. John Ross. Photos by Alex Brown.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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