We set off south from Brookside and followed what has become our "classic" route south, joining the busway at Long Road and switching to the DNA path at Addenbrooke's for the short distance to Great Shelford. There we switched to the road and continued south via Little Shelford, Whittlesford and Duxford to Ickleton. As if often the case, Gareth was soon speeding ahead into the distance. However no-one gave chase and I knew we'd see him again at the pub. The rest of us stayed together at a more moderate pace, nevertheless making good progress and arriving at the top of Coploe Hill at almost exactly 7.30pm.
I tend to use Coploe Hill as a decision point on evening rides. If we get there after 7.40pm or so I usually suggest turning right onto Royston Lane to shorten the loop. However we were in good time today so we continued south to Catmere End.
During the descent the clouds cleared a little and the sun came out.
Up to Catmere End
Catmere End was followed by Littlebury Green, and the long, fast descent down to the B1039.
Whilst we were riding through Littlebury Green I became briefly confused about where our pub stop was, and thinking that we were heading for Shepreth rather than Thriplow I suggested we skip the climb to Elmdon and instead slightly shorten the ride by continuing along the B1039 towards Chrishall. Although I soon realised that this wasn't actually necessary, this is actually a rather nice route which we don't use very often. The additional section of B1039 that it entails is quiet, flat and pleasantly wooded, whilst the climb up to Chrishall is easier than the climb to Elmdon but every bit as pretty.
From Chrishall we had a long, fast, descent to Chrishall Grange, and after a short run along the flat through Fowlmere we arrived in Thriplow, where we stopped at the Green Man slightly early at about 8.20pm.
After a typically pleasant 40 minutes or so enjoying chips and beer in the warm evening sunshine we set off back to Cambridge. Although it was about 9.15pm the sun had not set, and we rode back through Newton we enjoyed fine views of the approaching sunset. As usual Gareth set a rapid pace up and over the little hill north of Newton, with Sven and Conrad just behind. I followed at the back until the turn for Great Shelford where I stopped to wait for Tom, Neil and John, who had been delayed whilst Tom attended to a broken front light.
John continued along the B1368 towards Harston and Trumpington Meadows, whilst Tom, Neil and I turned right for Little Shelford and returned home via Great Shelford and the busway. It was just beginning to get dark when I arrived home at 9.45pm, having cycled 56km (35 miles). Nigel Deakin
Download GPS track (GPX).