Thursday, 10 March 2016

10 Mar: Thursday ride to Swavesey and West Perry

As usual today's ride had both a "village start" from Haslingfield and a "city start" from Brookside in Cambridge.

Edward describes the start from Hauxton: The remains of the winter still seem to hang on. Yesterday was an awful day, but today was much quieter, with little wind, but the promised rise in temperature over the next few days hadn’t arrived just yet. So we were left with an overcast day and fifteen riders, including Ian B who joined us for the first time, came out to Haslingfield Green for our ride to Swavesey and then Grafham Water for lunch.

Village start leaving Haslingfield

Today it was the turn of Mike C to lead the way which he did uneventfully through Harlton to the A603. This took us through the Eversdens and, as last week, we had the accompaniment of skylarks singing from the adjoining fields.

Great Eversden

In Kingston we met road works causing a slight diversion so went past the church and straight down to the B1046 close to the Caldecote turn.

Caldecote turning

Bourn came next and the steady climb up to the old St. Neots road. With almost no wind, whichever direction we travelled, required no extra effort.


After Knapwell we turned to go through Boxworth and over the A14 for the last mile or so into Swavesey.

If it's Swavesey it can only mean one thing and that is the delightful homemade cakes at the Baptist Chapel which this week were prepared by the Swavesey Women’s Institute. It’s well known that this is a popular coffee stop and as a minimum there were thirty-one, possible a few more, enjoying all the delights. Some, of course, cycled out independently just to have coffee and then made their own way home. Edward Elmer

John describes the start from Brookside: I cycled down into Cambridge with Dr John from Swavesey ready to lead the city centre ride out to Compass Café in Swavesey for coffee. As we set off at 9.30am we had amassed 13 riders. Little did any of us know that this number was soon to be much reduced.

City start at Brookside (Photo: John Ross)

We travelled out of the city via Silver Street and Grange Road and then joined the cycleway/path that goes over to Coton. Unfortunately halfway along the old concrete path H. came off their bike and landed quite heavily on their left side. Rupert called for an ambulance and he and a few others stayed with them until it arrived. (The unfortunate member is now recovering in Addenbrooke's and we all send our wishes for a speedy recovery).

In the meantime I (John) led the remaining seven riders on to Swavesey via Coton, Hardwick, Knapwell and Boxworth.

Coffee at Swavesey

Mike CC

Edward continues: As we were about to leave after coffee Mike C had a puncture so John R who had led the City start deputised and led most of those going to lunch which left Mike with a smaller group to follow on later.

We went down the busway to St Ives and as is nearly always the case after heavy rain the fields surrounding St Ives were underwater, including the car park at the Dolphin hotel.

Flooding at St Ives

Hemingford Common

We went through both the Hemingfords, over the Common into Godmanchester where we threaded our way through the town into Huntingdon where the river was over its banks.

Flooding in Huntingdon

After negotiating our way past the railway station we joined the B1514 to the Grafham turning at Brampton.

Near Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon

Now we were on the peaceful road which leads over the A1 and meanders quietly up to Grafham village.

Between Brampton and Grafham

As it was now past 1pm John decided that it would be better to change our lunch stop from the Harbour View cafe, which is on the other side of the reservoir, to the visitor centre which was just down the road. We communicated this information to Mike’s group and they arrived a few minutes later and we were all able to have lunch together at the visitor centre.

Arriving at the Visitor Centre, Grafham Water

After lunch John took his City start group back to Cambridge via Buckden and Mike’s group set off on the lake’s circular cycle track until we rejoined the road for the run up to Perry.

On the Grafham circular route

At Perry we turned into Crow Spinney Lane and this makes a nice quiet route past HMP Littlehey and zig zags its way to Great Staughton and we followed this by two or three miles over Staughton Moor to Little Staughton where Mike had another puncture. It didn’t take long to fix. (Why would it with Mike? He has so much practice helping everyone else with their punctures.)

Staughton Moor

Soon we were on our way again and at Bushmead we turned for the four miles, pleasantly downhill to Eaton Socon. A bit more urban traffic and then we turned to join the cycle way over Willow bridge and out onto the road for Abbotsley. When we arrived in Abbotsley Mike’s bad luck persisted with his third puncture - how unlucky can you get! Adrian, Averil and John "red sox" stayed with Mike and, in view of its being late in the afternoon six of us set off for home which took us on familiar roads through Gt Gransden, Caxton, Bourn and reversing our morning ride back to Haslingfield where we completed 65 miles. As ever thanks to Mike and John R for our day out.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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