Thursday, 24 March 2016

24 Mar: Thursday ride to Potton and Old Warden

Edward writes: This morning’s weather was overcast, but not cold. The wind had finally shifted from the East and was in its predominant westerly quarter. The forecast predicted light rain by about 1pm or 2 pm but by that time we would soon be on our way home and so if there was any rain it would be with a following wind.

Today’s ride, which was led by Tony from Haslingfield Green and Sean from Brookside, was to take us to Potton for coffee and the air museum at Old Warden for lunch. The Brookside gathering was seven cyclists but in Haslingfield we had at least eighteen (three start points needed!), so we set off in two groups taking the route through Harlton to the A603.

Entering Harlton

We passed through both the Eversdens, Kingston, Bourn and Longstowe where we saw a touching little scene with two baby lambs sitting on their mother’s back. This shows the beauty of cycling as this would hardly have been possible from a car window.

Harlton

Entering Kingston

Leaving Kingston

We were now on the road to the Little Eversden/Gamlingay turning some three miles from Longstowe. Of course we turned to Gamlingay which is a further two miles on and when we reached the town we had to go along the busy B1040 for the last leg into Potton and the Coach Inn. We arrived here just before 11 am after sixteen miles and found Sharon and Belinda already enjoying their coffee. This was fortuitous for them, because with almost thirty customers arriving together, the staff found it a little difficult to get everybody served and some were not able to enjoy a relaxing coffee as it only arrived shortly before we were ready to start again.

Longstowe

Nice!

Potton

As usual after coffee there was the usual comings and goings but when it all settled down Tony took a group of about a dozen and a little later Rupert led a group of seven or eight as we left Potton on to the Everton road. When we got to Everton we came to Tempsford hill for a rapid descent with Rupert again demonstrating his unique leadership skills of not only being in front but being out of sight. So much so that when we got to the railway crossing he had already crossed over before the barriers came down and the rest of us had to wait for three trains to pass before we rejoined our leader waiting on the other side.

Tempsford Crossing

From now on Rupert, perhaps a little chastened, kept himself in sight! When we reached the road which runs beside the A1 it was extremely busy which is unheard of, but a glance to our right showed us that the northbound carriageway on the A1 had no traffic on it and when we went down the slip road on the other side police were directing traffic off the dual carriageway onto the minor roads. This took us to Blunham and Moggerhanger, over the A603 and down Budna Road to Northill and then Ickwell. And of course after Ickwell it is just a few hundred yards to the Shuttleworth Air Museum.

We arrived here just before 1pm having covered twenty-eight miles.The cafe at the museum is large and it was easily able to cope with all of us and lunch was taken quite quickly. Some of course had sandwiches and had to sit out in the rain which had started just before our arrival showing that the forecast was pretty well spot on. Possibly because of the low cloud cover there didn’t appear to be any flying today.

Well attired against the rain

By 2.45 pm we were all on our way again with Tony leading his group of about a dozen with a smaller group (self led) following on behind. We only caught the occasional glimpse of the lead group but our journey home was now benefiting from the following wind and, although the rain was only light, it was on our backs. We went through Broom and past Jordan’s Mill to Langford and the long climb up to the water tower but this was very easy with the following wind. We crossed over the A1 to Hinxworth and four more miles took us to Ashwell where Andy and Sarah left us to take a cross-country route back into Essex.

We were now on a familiar route home via Steeple Morden, Littlington, Bassingbourn and Meldreth where we came across Peter Wo dealing with a slight mechanical hitch, with Tony waiting with him. After Shepreth and Barrington those going back to Haslingfield would have completed a round trip of 54 miles with the ride finishing at 3.30pm. As ever our thanks to Tony for another successful Thursday ride. Edward Elmer



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