Thursday, 20 August 2015

20 Aug: Thursday ride to Gamlingay and Henlow

Edward writes: This Thursday about fifteen cyclist assembled at Haslingfield Green for today's ride out to Gamlingay and then on to Henlow for lunch. It felt warm and humid as we met and the cloud cover and temperature remained virtually unchanged throughout the day; there was almost no wind. Tony was our leader today and he took us out of Haslingfield up Chapel Hill into Barrington and then to Orwell before reaching the A603.



We crossed the A603 for the run into the grounds of Wimpole Hall which strangely didn't seem to be having many visitors - maybe a little early in the day. After leaving the grounds we came into Arrington and then Croydon where the Queen Adelaide pub still seems as if it's being renovated; it'll be interesting to see what happens here.


Croydon usually means one thing and that is the hill, not very long but hard work nonetheless. From this point it is five miles into Gamlingay via East Hatley and Hatley St George and we arrived at LJ's, our coffee stop, at 10.45 am. Also arriving with us was a breathless John J and John R as they had chased after us owing to John J having to fix a puncture right at the start of the ride. Our fifteen soon became about twenty-five as cyclist rolled up from many different directions. Once again it was good to see that Greta had made her own way out to Gamlingay.

Approaching Gamlingay

LJ's is very popular with the Thursday group and as usual their bacon sarnies were very much in demand and the staff do as much as possible to look after us, and they also appreciate our support for them.



By about 11.20 am Tony ordered the sounding of the train whistle so that we could get everybody on the move again and we finally got underway, taking the heath road out of Gamlingay and then on to Everton, before reaching Sandy. We took the cycle route round the town and then via the former railway line which brought us out on the Blunham to Moggerhanger road.

Gamlingay Heath

As it was after 11 am Andy was able to perform his Bumble act and keep us up to date with the latest from the Test Match. It's always good to have these things taken seriously. At Moggerhanger we crossed the A603 again and then began the trip though the charming Bedfordshire villages of Northill, Ickwell, Old Warden and Southill.


Just after Southill, where one or two thoughts may have strayed to the tea rooms in the old post office, we turned for the ride down to Clifton which brought us to the B659 and the last mile or so into Henlow and the Five Bells pub for lunch.

We took a chance today and didn't book for lunch as recent weeks has shown that most people are bringing a packed lunch with them. This pub seems to do a roaring trade: it was packed inside and it seems our decision was justified as it wouldn't have been fair for them to keep a table aside for us as we would not have been able to provide any certainty with numbers. In the event about four or five had lunch out in the pub garden while all the others ate their sandwiches on the recreation ground just opposite the pub. Now came a surprise added treat as Sean produced a cake, made to celebrate his wife's birthday, which he shared round with us all. A nice thought.


At about it was time to start the afternoon session and thirteen began the journey back to Cambridge with the remainder heading northwards for their journey home. We went back along the B659 to Langford for the climb up to the A1 and the Edworth turning and the cross-country ride to Ashwell. As were mainly facing east the very light wind was behind us and progress was easy. The recent good weather has seen the farmers making progress with the harvest and many fields have either been harrowed or even ploughed in preparation for next year's crop. Such is the speed that this all happens. We arrived in Ashwell followed by Steeple Morden and then Litlington where we took the far more pleasant route through Abington Piggots which has the added benefit of avoiding much of the traffic.


Bassingbourn came next then Kneesworth, Meldreth and Shepreth followed by another climb from Barrington and down into Haslingfield where the ride ended after 56 extremely pleasant miles. Our thanks are due to Tony in making this such a successful ride. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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