Sunday, 13 September 2015

13 Sep: Sunday all-day ride to Stradishall, Cavendish and Ashdon

Nigel writes: Today was one of those happy days when the weather turns out much better than expected. I set out from home, expecting to have just a short ride before the rain arrived, but ended up staying out all day and enjoyed a gorgeous sunny evening.

Today's ride started at 9.30am at Brookside. The jury's still out on whether the change from 9.00am will make our Sunday rides more popular with members, but on this occasion I found just one other member waiting to start the ride. This was Li, who observed that I tended to ride faster than she did and suggested that we make our ways separately to the morning coffee stop at Adam's Cafe near Stradishall.

"I'll have to take the direct route" said Li, mindful that it was 20 miles to the cafe and it was already 9.30am. I agreed, saying that I'd be taking the direct route too. So we said "see you later" and set off - in opposite directions.

My route took me east from Brookside, along the river to Ditton Meadows (where the Autumn Regatta was taking place). I continued along NCN 51 to Quy before turning east onto the long, straight, road that leads past Little Wilbraham, through Six Mile Bottom, and up the hill to Brinkley.

Boats in the Autumn Regatta pass Ditton Meadows

The weather had started cool and cloudy, with a steady easterly breeze but after about half an hour the sun came out and the day brightened up for a while. After Brinkley I continued to Great Bradley and Little Thurlow and after a short run along the A143 arrived at Adam's Cafe near Highpoint Prison just after 11am.

Already at the cafe was Adrian, Joseph and Geoff and after a short while we were joined by Keith.

Nigel awaits his beans on toast at Adam's Cafe, Stradishall

The weather forecast was for rain to arrive at about 2pm, so I was ready to turn back for home. However Adrian, Joseph and Keith were keen to carry on to lunch and I decided to join them. We were just about to depart when Li arrived. We waited for her to drink a cup of tea and then we all set off together.


Today's ride, once again, didn't have a pre-arranged leader, which may partially account for the poor turnout. However the route to Cavendish is a familar and charming one, which took us via Denton and Stansfield and then along some lovely quiet lanes to Glemsford.

We arrived in Cavendish at about 12.45pm. It was still rather dull and cool so instead of having a picnic on the village green Adrian, Keith and I had lunch at the cafe at Cavendish Antiques, with Li eating a packed lunch nearby before joining us for a cup of tea afterwards. Meanwhile Joseph headed straight home.

After lunch at Cavendish Antiques

After a pleasant half hour enjoying plates of simple but inexpensive sandwiches (and a CD of 1940's music) we left the cafe to find John S sitting on the grass opposite with his own sandwiches.

We also had a brief encounter with John T from Haverhill, for whom this cafe is a regular lunch stop.

Climbing from Pentlow to Pentlow

After lunch John S joined us for the next stage of today's ride, to our tea stop in Ashdon. I led this part of the ride, taking a fairly direct route through Pentlow, Pentlow, Ashen, Ridgewell and the Bumpsteads. To our relief the predicted rain never arrived and the sky slowly began to clear.

The afternoon riders at Ashdon Museum

We arrived in Ashdon at 3.45pm and stopped for tea at the Ashdon Village Museum. Already there was Mike S, and after about fifteen minutes we were joined by John F and the afternoon ride, which on this occasion consisted of John E, Simon, Ray, David and Mike CC.

The afternoon leader's OS map: old enough to show Ashdon Station

After tea we set off once more. John F announced that he would be leading the afternoon ride back via Saffron Walden so I, ever mindful of the need for me to push my mileage over 80 miles, decided to jon them.

Preparing to set off after tea in Ashdon

Setting off from Ashdon

The road past the Ashdon Museum leads directly to Saffron Walden. However John eschewed such an obvious route and took a much more interesting route to Sewards End followed by a high-speed descent along the B1053 into Saffron Walden.

The road from Ashton towards Radwinter

The weather was now better than it had been all day: warm and sunny, and the leisurely, sociable ride home was a delight. From Saffron Walden we turned north along the B184 to Littlebury where we turned west for the climb towards Coploe Hill.

Coploe Hill

Coploe Hill

We dropped down to Ickleton and continued north via Hinxton, Duxford, Whittlesford and the Shelfords.

We continued into Cambridge along the DNA path and busway. I arrived home at 6.50pm having cycled 83 miles. As a result of this ride, my Eddington Number is now 78. I now need four more 80-mile rides to reach my 2015 target of 80.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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