Sunday, 8 November 2015

8 Nov: Sunday ride to Saffron Walden and Thaxted

Nigel writes: I arrived at Brookside at 9.32pm, two minutes late, and found no-one there. The others couldn't have gone far, so I set off down Trumpington Road and almost immediately spotted a long line of yellow-jacketed cyclists in the distance. I soon caught them up and found Conrad leading quite a large group that consisted of Chris, Seb, Alex, Li, Ray, Keith, Jim, Eva and Paul. Including me that made eleven in total. Having said hello to everyone I sprinted ahead to take position for my first photo.

Path to Rutherford Road, Cambridge

The weather today was dull and overcast: a drab November day. However the temperature was very mild, there was hardly any wind, and apart from a spot of drizzle at the start it was dry all day.

Our route today took us south from Cambridge to Great Shelford and then via Little Shelford to Whittlesford, Duxford, Ickleton and up Coploe Hill. The pace was moderate which suited me just fine: I was still feeling jet-lagged from my recent trip and welcomed the opportunity to chat with the others as we rode along.

Coploe summit

After pausing to regroup at the top we continued to Catmere End before dropping down along Chestnut Avenue to Audley End house. We climbed a short hill into Saffron Walden to find our way blocked by a large crowd at the War Memorial: it was just after 11am and the ceremony of remembrance was still in progress. After a rather confusing diversion around the back streets we arrived at Bicicletta Cafe where we stopped for coffee and cakes. Just one member, Edmund, was waiting for us inside.

The cafe was very busy today, with two large cycling groups in front of us, so we had to sit at tables outside and wait about twenty minutes for our drinks. Others were frustrated by the wait, and not everyone was impressed by the coffee, but I still like this place and will definitely come here again.

Morning coffee in Saffron Walden

After coffee various members returned to Cambridge leaving seven of us to continue on to lunch in Thaxted: Conrad, Alex, Ray, Paul, Seb, Edmund and me, with Li joining us for part of the way. We set off south along the High Street, past the War Memorial and down Wenden Road towards Wendens Ambo. This road is the shortest route to Audley End station and today was the first time I had been along it since traffic-calming was completed a few weeks ago.

Wenden Road, Saffron Walden

Our lunch stop today was to be in Thaxted, but instead of taking us by the direct route Conrad took us on a loop through Arkesden, Rickling, Ugley, Henham and Debden Green which brought is to Thaxted just before 2pm. We stopped for lunch in Parrishes Restaurant and had a very pleasant and convivial meal there.

Lunch in Parrishes Restaurant, Thaxted

We left the restaurant at 2.50pm and set off back to Cambridge. I was pleased that Conrad wasn't going to take us back into Saffron Walden but instead took us north through Great Samford and Radwinter to Ashdon.

Preparing to set off after lunch in Thaxted

We continued north to Balsham and as we rolled down the hill to Fulbourn the sun set. I arrived back home at 4.45pm, having cycled 64 miles.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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