Thursday, 14 April 2016

14 Apr: Thursday ride to Horseheath and Clare

Edward writes: The riders on the last Sunday ride were lucky with the weather, and this Thursday it was our turn. We arrived in Hauxton in warm, calm conditions and above all without the persistent wind that has been such a problem in recent weeks. This was all very good as now that the longer days are here we start to venture further afield and this week’s ride would take in Horseheath and then on to Clare in Suffolk.

At the start in Hauxton we had a minimum of fourteen riders and at Brookside, where Andy was leading, there were twelve; nice to achieve a reasonable balance.

Between Whittlesford and Sawston

At 9.30am we started the ride through Little Shelford and out to Whittlesford where we joined the cycle way to Sawston and Babraham. The track across the farm was thought to be too wet so we went out to the A505 and joined the cycleway up to the Granta Park science park at Abington.

Mike CC on the A505 cycleway

Granta Park, Abington

We crossed the busy A1307, rode through Hildersham for the two mile climb up to Balsham where in the benign conditions the wind turbines were hardly moving.


We continued through Balsham and along the undulating road through West Wickham and Streetley End. We arrived in Horseheath at 11am to find the Brookside group had arrived a minute or two earlier. As usual with the Old Red Lion we found cakes, coffee and tea waiting for us; we continue to be very grateful for their support.


When it was time to go Andy set off with his group and several minutes later we in the second group left which was by the little track up to the A1307 which took us through Cardinal’s Green, Mill Green and after a couple of near false turns by the leader we reached Nosterfield End where we finally turned right for Castle Camps. A few years ago the little green here used to be a ‘coffee’ stop, but not these days, as we pressed on to Helions Bumpstead and Steeple Bumpstead.

A handsome chap

Steeple Bumpstead

By now the weather was changing and in line with the forecast the first spots of rain were felt, so we paused for a while to allow waterproofs to go on but luckily it didn’t amount to much. However, we could see dark clouds lumbering around us and one or two threats were made but our luck held and we were able to reach Birdbrook in the dry for another pause, this time to allow for some disrobing. This of course is lovely countryside and in this spring weather with the flowers and the yellow fields of oilseed rape it makes for a very appealing scene.


We came to Ridgewell and crossed the A1017 and shortly after into Ashen and then followed a really lovely route down to Clare where we arrived at exactly 1 pm and 35 miles, and once again Andy’s group had arrived just a few minutes earlier. In Clare there is no designated lunch stop but many sat in the park where the old railway used to run and we were able to relax and enjoy our sandwiches before retiring to Clare Antiques and Interiors where the ladies in the tea room made us feel very welcome and would be pleased to see us again in the future.

Approaching Kedington

At 2pm we began the afternoon session in the same vein that we left Horseheath in the morning, with Andy’s group in front and so successful was this arrangement that they were not seen again! We left Clare northwards before turning west to Chilton Street and Kedington. Now the weather was something we should take seriously as the thunder started to rumble around us but our luck held. It seemed we might be able to keep in front of the storms even though we stopped to deal with David T’s puncture. We crossed the A143 and entered Great Wratting and two miles later we arrived in Withersfield where the storm seemed a good deal closer but optimistically we pressed on as our luck was still holding. Next we crossed Wratting Common into West Wratting and then Balsham.


Nearly home and would we make it? No. As we descended towards Hildersham forked lightening hit the ground to our right and then the clouds did their worst with torrential rain. We sheltered for a while, albeit under trees, but there was nowhere else. By now we were soaked and as it couldn’t get any worse so we set off again into Little Abington and as we rode along Bourn Bridge Road the road was virtually underwater. As is the way of these storms when we came to Babraham and Sawston the roads were completely dry and so we were able to finish the ride in relative comfort at 4.30 pm. This was a round trip of 65 miles . Thanks to Andy for leading the city start and helping make the ride a success. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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