Averil took the obvious route out via Little Shelford and Whittlesford and into Duxford where she took the road through the factory area into Hinxton via the ford and the railway. As Mike CC approached the ford he had what may be described as an "Andy moment" and came off his bike and received a soaking in the process, although he didn't emulate Andy's Derbyshire efforts by coming back for a second go. Local knowledge would have warned him that several members (and quite a few car drivers) over the years have come to grief at this spot. Everybody else used the bridge beside the ford. This was reported second hand to Mike C, me and Les, who had now joined us, and as we had fallen behind we took the main road from Duxford to Ickleton. Mike quickly regained his dignity and was soon powering his way up Coploe hill for the usual regrouping.
As ever Coploe Hill looked fabulous and all the fields had a golden glow and it looks like the start of the harvest is only days away. Next came the turning to Littlebury Green and the lanes which climb up to the transmitter before the rapid descent to Wendons Ambo. Wendens Ambo is a lovely old village to pass through on the way to the road into Newport. Mike, Les and I surprisingly arrived before the main group who were not long in following. In Newport we were joined by Craig, Doug and Vic F.
After coffee and some of Dorrington's cakes we resumed the cycling by going through Wicken Bonhunt and then the turning to Rickling followed by Rickling Green and for those interested in cricket an England XI will be playing on the village green this weekend.
Ricking Green to Manuden
We now joined the narrow and undulating lanes for two miles down to Manuden where we turned due south to head for Hazel End.
As we approached midday the temperature had risen considerably and riding through this beautiful countryside was a real pleasure. We now turned westward as we passed through Farnham and Upwick Green before turning south once again for the run down to the A120 and, what a surprise, we had to wait ages to get across. This took us into Little Hadham and a few more miles into Much Hadham where we made a turning up a sharp hill and soon after arriving in Green Tye for lunch.
When we had called the pub earlier in the week we were told that the kitchen wouldn't be in action today but we would be very welcome to eat sandwiches in the garden. This all worked very well except that the kitchen was in action which turned out to be a diary malfunction. It didn't matter as we were all prepared and it was very pleasant sitting outside in the garden.
Our return journey took us via Perry Green and over Hadham ford and this time there were no heroics although Steve did walk through with everybody else using the bridge.
We entered Much Hadham and now retraced our steps back to little Little Hadham and another long wait before the lights changed. We went through Albury and Gravesend before reaching Stocking Pelham and then Brent Pelham, and coming back into Essex as we approached Langley Lower Green where a resident very kindly refilled our water bottles.
As we left the Lower Green Rupert incurred a puncture and with Mike's help it was very quickly sorted out, although Rupert did decline and offer of one of Mike CC's gas cylinders but still Mike C was left to inflate it with an ordinary pump! That notwithstanding we soon got underway again and before we reached Little Chishill Adrian and Steve turned off to enjoy a bit of rough with all others left to enjoy or endure the steep hills between Shaftenhoe End and Great Chishill.
After all that now came the reward with more than two miles of downhill to Flint Cross where the A505 was incredibly busy but somehow we all got clear for the run into Fowlmere, Thriplow, Newton and the Shelfords arriving at 4.45 and 64 regulation miles. Another great day and a special thanks to Averil for looking after us so well. Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).