Sunday, 15 November 2015

15 Nov: Sunday ride to Gamlingay and Hauxton

John writes: Today's day ride was beset with planning problems. The original plan was to ride to Gamlingay via a coffee stop at Melbourn and be back in time for the AGM in Hauxton. I tried that ride last Sunday, and found it was too much riding in too little time for me, with two stops.

So I talked to Rupert and re-planned for no coffee stop and a northerly approach to Gamlingay through Abbotsley. Then I tried that ride out on Thursday, and found that 2000 St Neots half-marathon runners would be closing the roads around Abbotsley and Waresley until after our planned lunch stop. Then came worrying forecasts of 45mph gusting winds from the west, so I arrived at Brookside with no particular plans, and no strong expectation of company.

I was pleased when Nigel and Alex arrived, and we set off to get to Gamlingay fairly directly via Barton.

On the Barton Road cycleway

I had been through Comberton and Toft 4 times in 3 weeks, so for a change I chose to go to Bourn via Haslingfield, Harlton and the Eversdens. I then made the mistake of chosing the shorter but rather bleak and unsheltered loop via Longstowe, which, as Nigel pointed out, meant that we enjoyed each and every aspect of the gusting headwind as the road twisted and turned. Alex wisely observed that it was not the best weather for gliding as we passed the club. I was also able to observe Newton’s laws at first hand as I followed Nigel in the crosswind, as he leaned over by about 20 degrees just to stay upright riding in a straight line.

I discarded best-laid plans for extra loops to make up the distance, and we arrived at the Farm Shop in Gamlingay just 5 minutes ahead of the original schedule, having covered under 20 miles. We enjoyed a well-earned lunch, including puddings all round, and planned to make amends for our short ride into the wind on the return journey.

Lunch at Woodview Farm Cafe

Instead of taking the planned Hatley - Wimpole route we went via Potton and Cockayne Hatley where we had a quick detour to look at the church, and then on to Shingay and Bassingbourn along lovely quiet roads recommended by Rupert. Then from Bassingbourn we got the fullest benefit of the strong tailwind and zinged along at speeds of up to 25mph, gaining time to spare and take in a detour via Melbourn and Fowlmere and still arrive at the AGM on time.

The overall distance for the day was only around 45 miles, but it felt longer because of the extra work needed to ride into the wind. The day just got better as it progressed, and we were eventually rewarded with some fine wind-assisted riding along lovely quiet less-travelled roads around Shingay. None of the ride was what had been planned in advance, but in spite of the weather and 2000 runners, we still enjoyed a good day out. John Seton

Nigel adds: We arrived at Hauxton Village Hall at 2.55pm, perfectly timed for our AGM at 3pm. Already waiting in the village hall were a lot of members who had gone there directly by bike or car, and after about ten minutes the afternoon ride arrived, led by Ray.

The AGM at Hauxton Village Hall

The AGM itself passed smoothly (and a lot more quickly than in previous years) and was followed by tea, sandwiches and cakes. Afterward I rode back to Cambridge via Trumpington Meadows and the busway, and I arriving home at 5.45pm having cycled 50 miles. Nigel Deakin

Download GPS track (GPX).

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