Thursday, 12 November 2015

12 Nov: Thursday ride to Gamlingay and St Ives

Edward writes: By the time we were ready to leave Haslingfield Green twenty-seven riders had assembled which, to say the least, was something of a surprise. The weather might have been a factor with the still mild temperatures but today, unlike the previous few days, the sky was blue and the sun was out. Not only that but Friday's forecast suggested a visit from Miss Abigail and this may have been the last opportunity for a while to enjoy a ride in decent weather. Alternatively, it might have been the pull-factor of John R leading the ride which was to take us to Gamlingay for coffee and on to St Ives for lunch.

Naturally we divided into two groups with John up front and Adrian assuming command of the second group and this worked very well all the way to Gamlingay; for once we kept ourselves apart. The journey started with a climb over Chapel Hill into Barrington and with a south-westerly wind behind us cycling wasn't hard work.

Surmounting Chapel Hill (Photo: Alex Brown)

Surmounting Chapel Hill (Photo: Alex Brown)

We came to Shepreth and Meldreth where we turned right to go past the former Malton Golf Club, which used to be a regular coffee stop, and into Orwell.

Between Meldreth and Orwell

Orwell

We crossed over the A603 which took us onto the road for Wimpole Hall and under the bright late autumn sunshine the grounds all looked very pleasant. Once through the grounds we came to the gentle climbs through Arrington and Croydon where there is still no indication of what's happening to the Queen Adelaide.

Passing Wimpole (Photo: Alex Brown)

Of course after we left Croydon village we came to the short but very steep Croydon hill and after puffing our way to the top were on course for the five miles through the Hatleys all the way to Gamlingay. Earlier we had had to change the coffee venue from LJ's which is closed for a no doubt well deserved staff holiday to the Woodview farm shop just outside the town on the Potton road, with both groups arriving just after 11 am

Preparing to leave Gamlingay

With the new arrivals we counted thirty-two people taking coffee which somewhat overwhelmed the staff but they coped really well and we were able to leave before 12 noon. Actually, with such numbers, someone suggested that we could have held the AGM whilst at coffee! With so many riders it's difficult to know who went home but at least twenty, in two groups, carried on to St. Ives. We went back into Gamlingay and left the town towards Gamlingay Cinques and made for Abbotsley, a road with quite a climb and a long descent. After Abbotsley we turned on to the Croxton road and this put the wind directly behind us so we sailed easily along into Croxton and soon after into Graveley. Just after leaving Graveley we came across a delightful old American Maxwell which seemed to be having some trouble as the bonnet was off.

An old Maxwell near Graveley

Just after the photo was taken, though, it sprung into life so, hopefully, it was able to resume its journey.

We crossed the A1198 at Hilton, and under the A14 at Fenstanton, which left us with the last couple of miles into St. Ives and, a first for the Thursday ride, the farm shop just behind the park and ride site at the end of the busway.

Although they knew to expect us they had the difficult job of dealing with about eight people who ordered food but they did very well, deciding to serve us all together, rather than one at a time. This may have been a little slow but the food was very good and really just right for cyclists who were not looking for big meals, and well worth visiting again.

Lunch at St Ives

When we were ready to go it was 2.15 pm and an estimated sixteen or so headed for home along the busway.

The end of the busway at St Ives

At Swavesey John R and John J left us and this was no problem as we could hardly get lost on the busway which we used up to the Girton turning and this was the point where some headed back via Histon into Cambridge and another small group went into Girton and down Huntingdon Road along the still not finished cycleway. This really brought the ride to an end giving us all about 55 miles and another good day out thanks to good weather and John's stewardship. Edward Elmer



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