Sunday, 21 February 2016

21 Feb: Sunday ride to Ickleton

Nigel writes: Today's ride, like last week's, was dominated by wind. However whereas the wind last Sunday was from the north and bitterly cold, today's wind was from the south and not cold at all, and in fact the temperature today was so mild that we saw other cyclists out wearing shorts.

Ten riders turned out at Brookside for today's ride: Li, Paul, Rupert, Edmund, Sheila, David, Tom and Clare on their tandem, Alex our leader, and me, and just as we were setting off we were joined by an eleventh rider, Orlando.

The start at Brookside

Alex led us south out of Cambridge, taking the familar route that involves joining the busway at Long Road, taking the spur to Addenbrookes and then, after a short section along Francis Crick Avenue, the DNA path to Great Shelford. As usual I sprinted ahead to take photos, which today was made rather more difficult than usual by the strong headwind.

On the busway to Addenbrooke's

We continued from Great Shelford to Little Shelford and turned onto the B1368 to Newton. Once again this was directly into the wind.

The loop through Thriplow (Photo: Alex Brown)

Early daffodils in Thriplow

After a short diversion via Thriplow we reached Fowlmere and a few minutes later reached the A505. We crossed to Chrishall Grange and turned left onto Royston Lane.

Chrishall Grange (Photo: Alex Brown)

Cycling along Royston Lane allowed us the luxury of a tailwind for the first time.

Royston Lane

Approaching Royston Lane summit

We arrived at Ickleton just after 11am and stopped for coffee at Riverside Barns. Already at the cafe were Mick, Andy, Sarah and Vic, and a short while later we were joined by Adrian.

Coffee at Ickleton

Over coffee we checked the weather forecast and discussed what to do next. According to the BBC the day would remain dry and mild, but the 20mph winds we had experienced so far would increase to over 40mph by midday. Not unreasonably Alex decided that cycling in such intense wind would not be very safe and announced that we would be returning back to Cambridge. After some more discussion it was agreed that we would take an indirect route home, continuing south to Saffron Walden before looping back via Ashdon and Linton.

We left the cafe, crossed the road and turned onto a farm track that brought us out on the road that leads up Coploe Hill and on to Catmere End.

Climbing Coploe Hill (Photo: Alex Brown)

Descending Coploe Hill

After Catmere End we descended along Chestnut Avenue to Audley End and then climbed back up into Saffron Walden.

Crossing the River Cam at Audley End

Our ride through Saffron Walden took us past both The Temeraire and Bicicletta Coffee, but we ignored the tempotations of both and turned onto the road to Ashdon. This is a long climb but today we had a strong tailwind and I found myself sailing up. Ashdon was followed by Bartlow, Linton and Abington, where we took the track that leads to a footbridge over the A11 and on to Babraham. This involves cycling along a narrow rut, only a foot wide, and with a strong sidewind I found myself nearly blown off the path on a number of occasions.

The track from Abington to Babraham

When we reached Babraham we turned right to join the A1307 for the final few miles back into Cambridge. This involved cycling along a busy, fast road for about half a mile after which we were able to join the cycleway which runs alongside the A1307 all the way to Addenbrooke's. I continued towards the city centre and arrived home at 2.30pm, having cycled 45 miles.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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