For some time we have wrestled with the problem of dealing with large numbers on Thursday rides and Alex developed the idea of starting the ride in two places; he, in fact, led the ride from Cambridge, whereas Peter W was the designated leader for the ride from Hauxton. At 9.30am we left Hauxton with the temperature at zero but at least the conditions were still with no wind to speak of.
In Little Shelford we took the road over the hill into Newton followed by Thriplow and Fowlmere and out to the A505.
After passing through Chrishall Grange we climbed up to the Hertford Lane turning to Elmdon and a pause to regroup.
By now the temperature had gone up a little and was about 2 degrees which started to make the roads wet with the possibility of hidden black ice so care was needed especially as we were entering the hills associated with the Essex and Cambridgeshire border area.
After Elmdon we climbed again to Duddenhoe End and on to Langley Upper Green which left three more miles for the run up to Clavering.
Langley Upper Green
Strangely, as we approached Clavering we all noticed that the air felt colder, over 400ft high according to Mike CC’s Garmin, and so we were all glad to reach the Christian Centre for our cakes and coffee break.
Only five minutes later the group from Cambridge arrived and this gave us the opportunity to welcome Alan who was making his first ride with us. This is probably the third time we have been here to the Christian Centre and it is rapidly establishing itself as another favourite stop. With eleven different types of home made cake to choose from it’s not difficult to see why!
Shortly before midday, after the usual exchanges of personnel, fourteen set off again and headed south to the Berden and Rickling junction where we took the easterly route to Rickling and Rickling Green.
Between Clavering and Rickling
At Rickling Green we had to join the B1383 northwards for a mile or so which took us through Quendon, over the M11, to the relative quiet of the Henham road. We were only on this road for a short while before we turned off for the sharp climb up to Widdington. After Widdington it was more or less straight through, past Carver Barracks, to arrive at the Mutton and Kipper in Elder Street, Wimbish at 1pm.
This is the first time we have visited here since it took over the premises previously occupied by the Elder Street Farm Shop which has moved just down the road and is now on the site of Debden Barns. This turned out to be a very pleasant experience, not least for the warm welcome by the owner, hot soups and several light lunches which were ideal for cyclists especially on such cold days.
The Mutton and Kipper Cafe, Wimbish
At 2pm we started the afternoon session, now in the company of Adrian who had made his own way out to lunch, and went through Tye Green Wimbish through to Radwinter where we crossed the B1053 where we joined Water Lane. A bit surprisingly neither of the fords in this road were running high and most of us were able to cycle through them without difficulty. This took us out to the Ashdon road and soon after we arrived in Ashdon where Andy and Sarah left us leaving the remaining twelve to head for Bartlow.
Water Lane, Radwinter
It was now nearly 3pm and the clouds had given way to some blue sky and sunshine with the temperature rising to a pleasant 5 degrees which in some way made us forget the cold of the morning. In Bartlow we divided again with six going up to Balsham, presumably to make their way home to Cambridge via Fulbourn, and six who followed Peter to Linton. We now took a traditional route home along Back Road, Linton to Hildersham, over the A1307 to Great Abington where we joined the A505 cycle path, via Babraham to Sawston. After Stapleford and the Shelfords the ride finished back in Hauxton at 4pm after a regulation winter ride of 51 miles. The experiment of two start points clearly worked and also this was Peter’s debut as a ride leader and so our thanks to him for such a successful and enjoyable day out. Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).