Thursday, 19 May 2016

29 May: Thursday ride to Newmarket and West Stow

Edward writes: Once again, with only ten cyclists at Hauxton, this represented a much lower number for a "village start" Thursday ride, but welcome nonetheless as it is much easier to control a group of this size. It was also a relief to Susan who was making her debut as a Thursday ride leader. Meanwhile, in town at the "city start", Dr John was the leader and throughout the day his group followed an entirely different route so, hopefully, we didn't cause too many problems to our fellow road users. At Hauxton we had the opportunity to welcome Paul who joined us for the first time.

Swaffham Bulbeck

At the start Susan warned us that this ride would be at least a 74 mile ride which was to take us via Newmarket then the Anglo Saxon village at West Stowe. Luckily the weather was in good form even if we didn’t get the amount of sunshine the forecast gave us to believe. In fact it was light cloud cover for most of the day with occasional glimpses of the sun. We left Hauxton through both the Shelfords and climbed the Gog hills which brought us down to Fulbourn, the Wilbrahams and Bottisham. We came into Swaffham Bulbeck and rode northwards along the cycle path to Swaffham Prior and then the ancient village of Reach.


When we came to Burwell we had the benefit of the westerly wind (actually hardly blowing at all) as we rode up Heath Road, alongside the A14 to Exning.

Between Reach and Burwell

This left us with the mile or so into Newmarket but not along the main road; instead Susan chose the road past the racecourse which is much quieter and far more pleasant.

Approaching Exning

We finally arrived at the Horse Racing Museum at 11.30am after 25 miles. We found the city start group finishing off coffee and preparing to start their second session to lunch which meant there was little time for talking.

The staff at the cafe museum were their usual friendly and efficient selves which enabled us to take a shorter break than usual and we were on our way again by mid-day.


We left Newmarket at the clock tower end of town and turned eastwards past the gallops and headed to Malton.


Now we were in gently rolling countryside where the oil seed rape is now starting to fade, but the hedgerows are now full of queen Anne’s lace and with all the blossoms, etc it makes May an almost perfect month. We followed the recommended cycle route from Moulton, past the pack horse bridge, to Gazeley and then through the tiny hamlet of Needham Street before passing under the A14 just east of Kentford.

The Packhorse Bridge in Moulton

Now we travelled north-easterly all the way through wooded countryside to Lackford and on the way we were lucky enough to see two circling Red Kites over the fields. This brought us within touching distance of the Anglo Saxon village for our lunch break arriving at 1pm after 13 more miles from Newmarket.


We must have taken a shorter route as the city group arrived about five minutes after us. We spread ourselves around with some outside with sandwiches and some inside ordering from the menu, including Alex who, after all his recent adventures, probably felt he was in need of a few extra calories. Outside, as last week another lively discussion ensued, which is quite unlike CTC rides, or is it the change of name to Cycling UK? This time the topic was different to last week’s debate, much different!

West Stow

By 2pm both groups were ready to go again and Dr. John took his group away and Susan led her band of ten along wooded roads to West Stowe and then on to Flempton where we turned south down to Risby and crossed the A14 again. As we headed east and south we passed through Barrow, Denham and Dalham.


These picturesque villages were followed by Ashley, Cheveley and Dullingham where we turned to head towards West Wratting. Here Sarah left us; Balsham came next where Ian W left us, and Hildersham for a crossing of the very busy A1307.

The ride finished by going through Great Abington, a very noisy A505 cycle path, Babraham, Sawston and Great Shelford. Those completing the full circuit: Susan, Sheila, Mia, David W, Paul and Ian would have completed 78 miles. The ride finished at 5.15pm and a special thanks to Susan for a very successful first ride and also to David W who helped with the reconnaissance. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

1 comment:

  1. Nice report, Ed. We hit the outskirts of the city at around 4.50pm having followed a similar route home to that which you took out, although we didn't go via Newmarket! The highlight was crossing the A11 by the footbridge at Red lodge!