Thursday, 17 December 2015

17 Dec: Thursday ride to Lode and Newmarket

Edward writes: Who would have expected this? We had twenty-four cyclists for the start of our ride and when we reached Anglesey Abbey for coffee we had forty-one cyclists for what may be some sort of record; in fact at least equalling the number at the Christmas lunch. Sharon, our leader, may have thought she had drawn the short straw with so many bikes to organise for our trip to Newmarket via Anglesey Abbey.

Little Shelford

This morning we continued the run of extremely mild temperatures encouraging one member to bring out his shorts as winter shows no sign of making an appearance, and soon after the start the temperature had risen to sixteen degrees. Needless to say we divided into two groups and we left Hauxton into Little Shelford where we noticed daffodils on bud and about to flower, and Great Shelford where the second group was held at the level crossing for some minutes which had the benefit of ensuring there was no catching-up and merging into one group.

Great Shelford

After Shelford we went past the golf club and the beechwoods as we made the climb up the Gog Magog hills on our way to Fulbourn.

Gog Magog Hills

Gog Magog Hills

Gog Magog Hills

Fulbourn came and went and was followed by the Wilbrahams and the run down to the A1303 and the turn into Bottisham where quite of few students from the local village college seemed to have turned out to give us a cheer as we went through.

Fulbourn

Bottisham

After Bottisham a further mile or two brought us to Lode, and Anglesey Abbey, where we all took coffee and cakes and almost completely took over the dining area.

Anglesey Abbey

After our break as usual some did leave us but this still left us with more than thirty and Sharon took the unprecedented step of creating a second and a third group, these led by Mike C and Rupert.

Anglesey Abbey

Sock rivals

As we left the Abbey we went into Lode village and out to White Fen Drove which is the beginning of the Lodes way, and took us away from the traffic and to a few miles of tranquil riding across a typically flat fenland landscape.

Lodes Way

We came to the lovely old village of Reach and then on to Burwell and the long ride round Heath Road which now passes the newly installed solar farm, and Exning. It was barely two more miles before we arrived in Newmarket and the Horse Racing Museum for our lunch stop.

Once again we somewhat overwhelmed the cafe as we all queued up for lunch. This is a nice place to visit and the reception staff always willingly allow us to bring our bikes through into the courtyard. The biggest burden, however, fell to the kitchen staff, but they coped admirably and their courteous apologies for delays were not necessary as they did a great job.

After offering our thanks and appreciation at 1.40 pm we started the return leg which would take us along the fast stretch of road to Dullingham and then past the junctions for Westley Waterless and Balsham. As Mike CC hadn’t featured in any of the photos to date Andy ushered him to the front so that he could appear in the final photo of the day. The sun hadn’t been out all day and as we headed to West Wratting we could see a threat of rain in the far distance.


From Dullingham (featuring Mike CC)

Balsham was next and for the last downhill of the day into Hildersham, over the A1307 to Great Abington. This left us with the cycleway alongside the A505 (very noisy), Babraham and Sawston and lastly the cycleway over to Whittlesford where a few drops of rain were felt, and Little Shelford, with those going back to Hauxton completing a most satisfying 50 miles. A special thanks to Sharon who didn’t appear daunted by the difficult task of shepherding so many cyclists through the Cambridgeshire countryside. Edward Elmer



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