This was to be the first "full day ride" of the year featuring three stops.
A select gathering
Climbing Chapel Hill
By the time we reached coffee at Gamlingay Peter and Mike CC had peeled off to enjoy the rest of the day out of the saddle. Ian and Richard were already installed in the Woodview Farm Farm Shop & Cafe – but they had prior commitments and wouldn't be riding on with us today.
After coffee the blustery south-westerly wind began to make itself felt, and the ride along Northfield Road to Ashwell was quite hard work. At Ashwell, Rupert left us leaving just me and Ray to venture onwards.
We took the road through Bygrave to Baldock: what a cracking road this is – I had never ridden it before. Some way along it a cyclist caught us up: Conrad! We flew down into Baldock and to "tapps garden centre" – a new stop for the club.
There we found Mike S, who was just leaving and who planned to make his own way to tea where he would rendezvous with us.
Lunch was very good: a selection of lighter meals are on offer (baked potatoes, sandwiches, quiche, etc.) and very good tea and coffee. I look forward to returning here.
tapps in Baldock: a fine new stop for us
I had planned a route to take advantage of some of the lumpier landscape on our way to tea, and Conrad, Ray and I had fun working our way up and down the hills in the pleasantly warm sun.
Climbing up to Benington
As we neared Whempstead we noticed some cars parked in a field by a wood, and wondered what was going on. Looking more closely we could see blue through the trees and gathered this must be a bluebell display. We stopped for a moment to go and admire it.
Comb's Wood: getting the shot (Photo: Conrad Chua)
Blue on blue
After Whempstead we turned north east and began to get the benefit of a tailwind. The terrain was still lumpy but we made good progress at arrived at Hare Street on the stroke of four. We found Mike S and Jacob at the tearooms, but there was no sign of the official afternoon ride.
At The Old Swan Tearooms, Hare Street
Cheese with cake? This changes everything!
After tea we took a very direct route home along the B1368. Jacob peeled off for a more picturesque ride, and the rest of us enjoyed the wind now fully behind us to make this final leg both speedy and effortless. After the earlier climbing and headwind we felt we fully deserved it.
When I arrived home I found I had cycled 131 km (81 miles).