Sunday, 27 September 2015

27 Sep: Sunday ride to Saffron Walden and Great Bardfield

Alex writes: Nine of us assembled at Brookside this morning. It was a chilly morning and I was glad to be wearing the warm jacket I'd disinterred from storage after last wearing it in Spring. The forecast was for warmer weather later.

John R was leading today, and our coffee stop was to be in Saffron Walden. We set off for the busway, crossed the railway line and headed down the DNA path, through the Shelfords, Whittlesford, and then over the A505 to Duxford. As on Thursday's ride, we made a loop through Hinxton and again, nobody was courageous enough to ride through the fast-flowing ford.

Coploe Summit

Next up, Coploe Hill. As the gradient increased there was the usually clack of changing gears, but not for Keith who was riding fixed. He sailed up the slope; I tried to keep up but had no chance. At the top we regrouped and caught our breath before heading on to Catmere End, and then sped along Chestnut Avenue and past Audley End House into Saffron Walden.

Chestnut Avenue

We found ourselves mingling with (okay, being overtaken by) large number of cyclists wearing race numbers. As we waited at the lights in Saffron Walden I asked what they were up to: they were riding L’Etape London which reprised much of Le Tour de France's route from last year. They were too concerned with riding fast to stop at Bicicletta, which was thus able to accommodate us with ease. Already waiting were Eddie, Mick C, David W, Edmund, Andy & Sarah, Conrad and probably others.

This new coffee stop is rapidly becoming a favourite. The coffee is particularly well crafted and the cakes delicious. On top of that a number of high-end carbon fibre Italian bikes and accessories are offered for sale. We CTC members admired the bikes guardedly, ruing the lack of mudguard eyes and clearance – not to mention the eye-watering price tags.

At Bicicletta Cafe

Bicicletta Cake

After the usual comings and goings, around ten of us were cycling on to lunch. We climbed out of Saffron Walden and headed south to Debden before looping through Broxted, Tilty and Lindsell to begin heading North again to Great Bardfield, our lunch stop. The route was mostly on very pleasant quiet lanes and with the sun shining (but still a chill in the air) we made brisker than usual progress, allowing John to include – with his Garmin's help – an extra loop before arriving at the Blue Egg for lunch.

Crossing the railway line

This is the first time I'd been to this lunch stop and I was impressed with the quality of the food (I had a pulled-pork 'burger'). By now the sun had begun to assert itself and we were able to sit outside and enjoy its warmth.

After lunch we rode back fairly directly on the familiar route through Finchingfield, Castle Camps and Linton before crossing the A11 on the Abington footbridge and then through Sawston and the Shelford to home.

Returning home

When I returned home I found I had ridden 116 km (72 miles). Consequently, my (metric) Eddington number has increased to 64. Alex Brown

Download GPS track (GPX).

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