Before setting off we welcomed Sheila whose debut this was, but also to point out that she had taken the train from Letchworth to Foxton to be with us. For the ride itself Mike C was to lead today and, bearing in mind the numbers, we left Haslingfield in two groups and headed out to Harlton - no Chapel Hill this morning!
We made our way through the quiet village roads out to a fairly quiet A603. We rode through the Eversdens and then Kingston for a short pause to reset the groups before making our way to Bourn.
Kingston to Bourn
At this point, of course, we were very near to Cambourne and it was still not 10.30am. Mike had obviously foreseen that this would be too early for coffee and had devised a route from the St Neots old road to loop round Knapwell and Eltisley, where, en route, we met Eva, Andy and Sarah, before bringing us back to the A428 and the approach to Cambourne arriving at Green's Cafe bang on time at 11am.
Obviously the Indian Summer had brought out the crowds with many other members joining us at Cambourne and at one time we could count twenty seven sitting outside the cafe basking in the warm sunshine. Even though our numbers somewhat overwhelmed the staff at the cafe they coped very well indeed in what for us was a very pleasant interlude, and when it was time to go it took some time to get everyone assembled for the next session. As usual there were the usual comings and goings after coffee but at least twenty continued on for Sandy.
This took us out of Cambourne and briefly on to the A1198 to Caxton, through the ford, and then the turn for Great Gransden.
Under the midday sun it felt really warm leaving some of us slightly overdressed as, being autumn, there is always a chill in the early morning air. This hardly mattered as cycling was a sheer pleasure in this fantastic weather as we passed through Great Gransden and headed up to Abbotsley.
After Abbotsley we left the benefit of the easterly wind and turned south eventually reaching Everton to be faced with Tempsford hill - going downwards! No doubt some very high speeds were recorded before coming to an abrupt halt at the level crossing where we had to wait a few minutes for the train. Not one train, but two going in the same direction with the Virgin inter-city on the inside tracks overtaking a Great Northern travelling from Peterborough to King's Cross.
Crossing the railway near Tempsford
Soon we crossed the A1 which took us into through Blunham onto the old railway alignment into Sandy and our lunch stop at Gunn's Bakery in the town centre, arriving just after 1pm. Luckily there are plenty of benches in this area and many of us sat outside with sandwiches and a cup of tea, once again to soak up the warm sun's rays.
As at coffee nobody was in any great hurry to move on but finally we were all in place and we left Sandy at 2.15pm and came back to Everton, and for a short while used the road we had come out on in the morning before taking the heath road into Gamlingay.
Repairs beside the Heath road into Gamlingay (Photo: Craig Hirons)
In Gamlingay Richard M, Sharon, Belinda, Sarah, Andy and William, who had joined us at Sandy, left us to make their various ways home. This left about a dozen to go through the Hatleys and another steep downhill at Croydon, Arrington and into Wimpole Hall. We finished the ride through Orwell and Shepreth where we left Sheila to catch the train, Barrington, over the hill (we couldn't leave it out) and back into Haslingfield at 3.30pm and 57 regulation miles. This was a really good day out and our thanks, not only for Mike's leadership but also to the weather people for giving us such a delightful day. Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).