The weather had also brought a change of attire with almost everyone wearing their shorts and showing off lily white legs to the world for the first time this year! Today’s ride would be one of our longer routes taking in Dorrington’s at Newport and Andrew’s Air Field at Great Saling which is only a few miles short of Braintree.
We left Hauxton and followed a conventional route through to Whittlesford to the A505 and Duxford. Rather than go via the factory area by Hinxton and Ickleton Andy took us along Duxford Grange.
Most of us thought this was pretty good as it avoided the climb up Coploe Hill; later it turned out that this was misplaced optimism. Soon after the first effort of the day came with the long climb up from Chrishall Grange to the Hertford Lane turning, where at least the next climb to Elmdon was preceded by a fast descent.
Hertford Lane, Elmdon
We arrived in Elmdon on the edge of the North Essex hills which was followed by another climb up to Duddenhoe End and to less undulating roads for the ride into Arkesden and more lovely countryside to Wicken Bonhunt.
This brought us within two miles of Newport but not without a bit more climbing as we finally reached our coffee stop at 11.10 am, and surprisingly just before the group from Cambridge.
Forewarning Dorrington’s paid off as they were well organised and dealt with everyone quickly. With the sun out many spread themselves out on the pavement to enjoy coffee and cakes. It was good to see that Greta, who had cycled out on her own, was joined by her old chums, Vic and Doug.
Finally, at about 11.50 am Alex led his group away and shortly after Andy assembled his group, both with the intention of taking the same route. The climbs were not over yet as leaving Newport to the Debden turning meant another hill and a further climb into Debden. At Debden Green we turned onto the Henham road and after a mile or so we branched off up Broxted Hill to Sucksted Green on the B1051 which we followed south to Church End Broxted. This is now lovely riding, passing through so many fields of yellow oil seed rape and wheat fields now growing rapidly. Add the wild flowers and the blossom on the trees, all under sunny skies, we could hardly ask for anything more. We were still moving briskly on as we passed through Tilty, Duton Hill, Little Cambridge, Gallows Green and Lindsell. After Lindsell it’s a really delightful ride for three or four miles through quiet countryside and finally finishing off the morning session with our arrival at Andrew’s Field at 1.30 pm.
This is one of our favourite lunch stops and today was really nice as we all sat outside in the sun with lots to see with light aircraft taking off and landing; it’s also a favourite lunch stop for motor cyclists, many of whom had come on vintage machines, and as usual the staff were up to the job in their usual friendly way.
By 2.20pm we had all set off, again in two groups, and this took us via Crow’s Green, Bardfield Saling to Great Bardfield. We were now benefitting from the following south easterly wind and we made rapid progress to Thaxted and back to Debden.
Just after crossing the Newport-Wimbish road and approaching Purton End my chain jammed after it fell off the rear inner cog. It was half an hour before Andy and I could release it, ignoring the scientific approach, but by brute force before it finally came free. At least the final ride home via Saffron Walden and Audley End passed without incident and Mike CC, who was the last person going back to Hauxton, would have completed 72 very satisfactory miles, finishing at 5.00 pm. This was a fabulous day out, not difficult with the weather, and thanks to Andy for the route and also Alex for the ride from Brookside. Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).