Thursday, 3 December 2015

3 Dec: Thursday ride to Newport and West Wratting

Edward writes: When we assembled in Hauxton we met in the blustery conditions that have prevailed for some days now. In fact the temperature was already in double figures and the forecast for was for even more wind by the late afternoon. None of this deterred the twenty-four members who came to Hauxton for our ride out to Newport and on to West Wratting for lunch.

When we set off we experimented with the first group going to Newton the quickest way and the second group going to Newton via Whittlesford and then to follow the leader’s route to Newport. The idea being that the second group would have to do nearly two miles more than the first and, the hope was, that the groups would be kept permanently apart. This almost worked perfectly with the exception that the following group fell a little behind and correctly decided to shorten their journey to Newport. We did stay apart and it also staggered our arrival at Dorrington’s in Newport - so some success, perhaps.

Royston Lane

After we left Newton we rode through Thriplow and Fowlmere to the A505 and Chrishall Grange. Most of this cycling was into the teeth of by now a strong south-westerly wind and for a while it was hard going, especially on those roads without hedges. We turned out of the Grange and made our way via Royston Lane to Coploe Hill. This involved a very steep climb on a concrete road which on the downside was muddy and also had a badly broken surface.

Royston Lane

We passed through Catmere End and briefly headed towards Littlebury Green before turning off for the climb, followed by the rapid descent, into Wendens Ambo. After the narrow roads of Wendens Ambo we came to the B1383 leaving just a mile or so into Newport and an end for while of riding into the wind. Within five minutes or so the second group arrived having taken the route from Catmere End down Chestnut Avenue where they joined the B1383 into Newport.

Wendens Ambo

Needless to say we really overwhelmed Dorrington’s so it is to be hoped that we didn’t deter too many of their local customers. As usual we met more members, including Peter W, Craig, Vic F and maybe one or two more. As usual we enjoyed a nice break but by 11.50am we assembled into our two groups and started the next session which began with the long climb out of Newport on Debden road all the way up to the Thaxted road. Despite the hills riding was much easier as we had the benefit of the following wind and we made good progress past Debden Barns and the army camp up to the Thaxted road. Almost immediately we turned off this road into Tye Green and Wimbish Green and a nice rural ride into Radwinter.

Water Lane Radwinter

We now joined the aptly named Water Lane which took us past the two fords which were both shallow and caused no problems to those that went through them - even Mike CC would have been safe. After Water Lane we joined the undulating road into Ashdon and then Bartlow. We had originally planned to go to Bartlow via Steventon End but as time was getting on we used the quickest route into Bartlow. We crossed the A1307 and over the Balsham to West Wickham junction and finished the morning session with the climb up to West Wratting, arriving at 1.20 pm.

Approaching West Wratting

We took lunch at the Chestnut Tree which was also a change of plan as we originally intended to go to the Dog and Duck in Linton and in the event lunch turned out to be a very pleasant social occasion which, including those who had sandwiches and came in for coffee later, consisted of twenty-one cyclists. The pub looked after us extremely well, especially as our actual number was well in excess of our estimate; the food was very good and all at reasonable prices, and also a good selection of real ales. This was the first time that the Thursday ride had been here, although it is frequently used by the senior and Sunday rides and we all felt we should visit more often.

Preparing to leave West Wratting

At 2.30 pm we gathered for the relatively short (14 miles) ride back to Hauxton. Almost as soon as we got going we had a double puncture with both Sarah and John S being the unlucky ones. When these were fixed some left us to return to Cambridge via Six Mile Bottom with all the others heading for Balsham.

West Wratting

The journey home didn’t pass without incident as Heather’s mudguard stays came away and got caught in her rear wheel but Andy was on hand to help unthread it all and we were soon on our way again. The ride finished by descending to Hildersham, Little Abington, over the farm track to Babraham and Sawston, leaving the last few miles through the Shelfords and finally Hauxton at where those doing the complete circuit would have completed 52 miles. Edward Elmer

Those Red Sox again

Download GPS track (GPX).

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