However, this hardly mattered as we were blessed with blue skies and sun, thus prospects for our ride out to Cambourne and St Neots for lunch looked promising.
Again we were lucky enough to have John R lead the ride from Brookside, and Craig lead from our traditional start point at Haslingfield Green. Eighteen riders met in Haslingfield which is still a lot despite having the option of starting in Brookside.
At first we didn’t start with two groups as we rode up to Harlton where we turned right at the village pond on to the road up to the A603. Fortunately the road to Comberton is quiet and we didn’t cause the few motorists too many problems but when we reached Comberton and then headed up to Barton it soon became apparent that we should divide into two groups.
When we reached the Coton roundabout Craig organised us into two more or less equal groups after which we made our way to Coton and the A1303 (Madingley Road).
Back of American Cemetery, Madingley
The early cold by now had given way to slightly warmer conditions and with little wind cycling was really enjoyable as we approached Dry Drayton. This brought us on to Scotland Road for the mile or so up to the A428 and this isn’t a particularly nice ride as there is a lot of fast moving traffic. However, we were soon at the end of it and onto the St. Neots old road for the run into Cambourne and Green’s for coffee.
It was very sunny when we arrived and most took the opportunity to sit outside and enjoy the sun. There must have been thirty members milling around the cafe, amongst them Brian M and Vic S, it being especially good to see them join us for coffee. Although once again we overwhelmed the cafe the staff came outside and took our orders and everyone was served quite quickly. Edward Elmer
Coffee at Cambourne
Coffee and blankets at Cambourne (Photo: Craig Hirons)
Alex describes the start from Brookside: It had dipped below freezing during the night so today's ride was going to have a chilly start. Nevertheless when I arrived at Brookside I found eight other riders ready for today's adventure.
City start (Photo: Alex Brown)
John R was today's leader and he took us out of town along Silver Street, Sidgwick Avenue and Storey's Way. This proved relatively traffic free and will prove a useful route for these Thursday "city starts" since some other directions are clogged with traffic.
En route to Cambourne (Photo: Alex Brown)
Instead of taking the guided busway, John took us on the back roads through Oakington and Longstanton and then up the gentle climbs through Boxworth and Elsworth. By now the sun was out and nicely warming, and altogether it had become a glorious Spring day.
Approaching Graveley (Photo: Alex Brown)
We arrived in Cambourne shortly after 11 o'clock, to find Green's Coffee shop already well-attended by around twenty club members, who had come from the Haslingfield village start or who had made their own way there.
Fortunately the cafe's service was ultra-efficient and easily able to cope.
After coffee John R and some others headed back home, leaving us remaining riders to reconfigure into fresh groups for our onward ride to St Neots ... Alex Brown
Edward continues: After coffee we set off to Elsworth and with the bright sunlight the countryside seemed to open up for miles around, so much different from some of our recent rides which have been under glowering skies and more than enough wind.
After the climb out of Elsworth we crossed the B1040 and the A1198 which took us out to the road to Graveley where we noticed that much to Rupert’s disappointment none of the eight wind turbines was working today.
We now joined the two mile stretch which leads from Toseland to the B1040 and the final run in to St Neots and the Ambiance Cafe with all of us arriving just before 1 pm. Already there we found Eva and Richard M who rides over from Bedford to join us for lunch when we are this side of Cambridge. As usual some sat inside and other with packed lunches sat outside which was pleasant enough except when the sun disappeared behind the clouds making the breeze seem a mite cold, reminding us that it’s still February.
Leaving St Neots
After a relatively short interval we started the afternoon session at 1.40pm but not before saying goodbye to Sharon and Belinda who after a bit of a break were out again. We went out over the meadows and the river and onto a footpath/cycle track which we hadn’t known about before and this took us to the new estates, thus missing out the Willow bridge. We left St. Neots and when we got to the point where the road splits we took the road past the Abbotsley Golf Course before turning again to go down into Abbotsley and then Great Gransden.
Now into early afternoon at times the temperature reached a dizzy ten degrees and with the wind mostly behind us progress was quick. This was a familiar route home passing through Caxton and Bourn where some made their way into Cambridge and the remainder going back through the Eversdens and Harlton again, reaching Haslingfield soon after 3.pm and a regulation 53 miles.
Thanks to Craig for today’s very enjoyable ride and also Alex for his contribution in making a two-start ride possible. Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).