Thursday, 15 October 2015

15 Oct: Thursday ride to Swavesey and St Neots

Edward writes: Finally we seem to have transferred from our Indian summer to determinedly autumn weather with little chance of a return to those placid days of late summer. The temperature had dropped, the wind was in the North east, and there was a forecast of rain in the afternoon. None of this deterred twenty-one cyclists gathering at Haslingfield Green for today's ride out to Swavesey and then out to St Neots for lunch at the Ambiance Cafe.


This ride would be led by Belinda and today we welcomed Susan who was making her first ride with us, making this three weeks in a row that we have been joined by a new rider.


Thus, with everything set, and in two groups, we left Haslingfield for Harlton where we turned into Washpit Lane which, as we passed the farm entrance, was very muddy, and after the recent rain, inclined to be a bit slippery. However, we soon arrived at the A603 which we followed for a few yards before turning for the run into Comberton. We left Comberton into Long Road for the lengthy climb up to Hardwick where we crossed over the A428 and went down into Dry Drayton.

Scotland Farm, Dry Drayton

We soon crossed over the A14 (some surprise here as it was running without any hold-ups), past the garden centre for the approach to Oakington which enabled us to join the busway to Swavesey. At exactly 11 pm we arrived at the Bethel Chapel for the day's first break and, of course, we found many other members there with one count making it thirty-four in total. Fortunately the ladies, who today represented St. Andrew's Parish Church, were fully prepared with their array of delicious cakes; no wonder this is a club favourite.

The Busway approaching Swavesey

After coffee some returned home but this still meant a large number carried on to lunch - with so many comings and goings it's difficult to keep a track of actual numbers. We still maintained two groups and for once it worked successfully with Rupert, leading the second group, able to maintain a safe gap. Fen Drayton came next, another crossing of the A14 (still moving), which brought us to the run up to Hilton. The weather by now was fulfilling the forecast with a lot of cloud cover and some threatening looking black clouds gathering in the distance, but for now it was still dry. As we came towards Graveley the wind turbines were barely moving in the light breeze which for the most part was helpfully on our backs. We went through Toseland followed by the long, more or less straight, road down to the B1043 for the final approach to St Neots and the Ambiance Cafe for lunch, arriving at 1 pm.

Toseland (with Mike CC at the back)

This a favourite stop for Rupert as it's near to the Fish and Chip shop in Eaton Socon and he led a little group there whilst everyone else either had a meal inside or ate their packed lunch in a chilly outside. There was no enthusiasm for drawing out the lunch break and at 1.45 pm twenty-two riders set out on the homeward journey.

Leaving the cafe at St Neots

We crossed the meadows and as we entered the built-up area the rain started and we all stopped to don our rain gear.

Putting on rainwear in St Neots

As we left St. Neots we went over the railway and headed towards Abbotsley Golf Club, it was raining in earnest, and now facing the wind, riding became a bit unpleasant. Three riders left us along here, Doug, Edgar and Mike CC, as we made our way on the narrow road to Waresley. When we reached Great Gransden our efforts in maintaining two groups went a little awry with some, not realising that we were to go via Longstowe, somehow got on to the Caxton road which was a shame as we nearly got round without incident.

In the rain approaching Abbotsley

As we left Longstowe, John Red Sox had a puncture but with a joint effort this was quickly fixed and we pressed on to the Kingston turning, where some left us to go into Cambridge, leaving a small group to go via the Eversdens and Harlton to finish at Haslingfield at 3.45 pm and 55 miles into our legs. Sitting patiently at Haslingfield Green we found Sheila and so we were satisfied that we had accounted for everyone. Finally our thanks to Belinda for taking us round whose splendid leadership included an itinerary of our route with an emergency phone number. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

1 comment:

  1. Good to see many of you 'flash' past me whilst I was teaching Bikability in Swavesey!