Thursday, 31 December 2015

31 Dec: Ad-hoc ride to Waresley and St Neots

Alex writes: We've been having a series of stormy days recently, interspersed with some better cycling weather. Today looked like it would be dry and clear and so, bearing in mind the club’s empty calendar over Christmas, I announced to the members’ email list that I'd be testing the route for the upcoming Sunday ride, and invited anybody who wanted to, to join.

When I arrived at Brookside I found Edmund, Eva, John J, Mia and Shelia waiting. We set off to head south along the guided busway (after I managed to fail to find the best way through the Kaleidoscope development), continuing through Trumpington Meadows and then through Harston on the shared-use cycle path. After Storm Frank this was covered in debris, and at one point a fallen tree blocked the way, making this trip through the village even more tedious than usual.

However, once through Harston we were rewarded with the much more pleasant road leading to Haslingfield, and from there we took the route – very familiar to Thursday riders – through Harlton, Little Eversden, and Kingston to Bourn.

John J approaching Bourn

At Bourn we rode up Alms Hill and then turned left on to the Caxton Road. It was at this point that the rather strong cross-wind we’d been experienced turned into a direct headwind and this made us work quite hard, meaning that by the time we reached Waresley we all felt we deserved our coffee and cake (I felt I deserved a scone too).

Working hard on the Caxton Road

After coffee Eva and John headed home, leaving four of us to press on to lunch. We set out – into the wind again – to Everton and zoomed down Tempsford Hill (14%) heading northwest towards Tempsford itself. At Tempsford Hall we turned right onto the Barford Road taking us north to St Neots. With the wind now firmly behind us we rode at express pace and before long we were mixing with traffic queuing to get into the town centre for the market. It was nice to be able to turn off the road and (following Nigel’s wise counsel) take the Willow Bridge and then the quiet paths through Riverside Park. However, when we arrived at the Ambience Café, calamity! it was shut!

Nothing daunted, he headed into town to see what was open, and there found that the Market Café was. We installed ourselves inside, just ahead of a huge influx of market shoppers, and enjoyed bacon sandwiches. I'd never been inside before, and was doubly excited to discover the place has a seating area upstairs too.

Lunch in the Market Café

We left lunch in good time and with the prospect of getting back to Cambridge before dark. We rode northeast out of town up Huntingdon Street, and turned right taking us on the long road through Toseland and Yelling, bypassing Papworth Everard, and then took St Neots Road alongside the A 428 to get us to the outskirts of Cambridge via Madingley Hill. Overall, this is an efficient if rather charmless way to get back to Cambridge from St Neots.

Climbing out of Yelling

From Madingley Hill we turned off, passed through Coton and then wiggled around on the cycle ways south of the West Cambridge Site before emerging on Grange Road and heading back to Brookside via Silver Street. We had indeed got back before dark.

This is the way

When I got home I found I had cycled 89 km (55 miles). My metric Eddington Number stands at 75. This ride also completes exactly one year of very enjoyable riding with Cambridge CTC; next year I aim to get my metric Eddington to 100. Happy New Year everybody!

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