Sunday, 5 June 2016

5 Jun: Sunday ride to Ickleton and Braughing

John R writes: As usual when I am leading, I get up early and immediately check the BBC weather forecast for the day: it was looking good. However, when I set off at 8am to meet up with Dr John at the Swavesey bus stop it was far from warm. Both of us had warm tops and arms covered – I even had to stop after a few minutes to put my Gore rain jacket on for an extra layer. Starting off from Brookside were eleven riders – a good turnout for a Sunday coffee and lunch ride.

The start at Brookside

Coffee was to be southwards to Riverside Café, Ickleton. My problem was that this was not far enough away for a two hour ride from Cambridge so I decided to ride a loop that took us on the cycle path to Coton and then on the cycle path that runs alongside the A1303 past the American War Cemetery. Here we turned left along Long Road then took the quieter road through Green End into Comberton, heading towards Harlton and then Haslingfield. There we turned right and immediately pointed uphill on Chapel Hill.

It was still rather cool as we headed in tight formation (more or less) on familiar roads through Barrington, Shepreth and Fowlmere. Here we crossed the surprisingly not busy A505 and headed toward Chrishall Grange and then along the potholed but quiet Grange Road over the M11 and into Ickleton.

We landed at Riverside Café on the dot at 11am to find a number of other club members already there (we totalled 18 riders here). Finally it was starting to get warmer with the sun just peeping through the cloud cover of the early morning. This café is very welcoming but sometimes a little slow to get food out – although this may have been due to Keith ordering a mega breakfast that included chips! Rupert and I waited for our bacon sandwiches to appear. Slowly various orders started to be brought outside with Rupert almost grabbing Andy's bacon (and egg!) butty – by accident of course eh Rupert!

Coffee stop in Ickleton

11.30am, time to leave and ten of us headed south proper into the rolling hills of Hertfordshire - one of my favourite cycling areas. The sun was definitely out now and would remain so for the rest of the day with temperatures climbing steadily. Our first hill after coffee was the climb up Coploe Hill where glorious views were already starting to show across the sun soaked fields for miles around. Our route took us along quiet lanes through Catmere End, Littlebury Green, Arkesden, Clavering, Berden, Stocking Pelham, Furneaux Pelham and finally into Braughing to land at The Brown Bear pub at 1pm. Here we met Adrian and Mike S who had made their own way there. Here we were all able to sit outside in the sun and order fine beer and pleasant food that was served quickly and efficiently. A fantastic Red Kite floated over giving us amazing views.

Lunch stop (with Sarah and John auditioning for Britain's Got Talent)

Around 2pm it was time to leave. With Andy and Sarah and Adrian and Mike making their own ways home, seven of us set off along the B1368 through Dassels and Hare Street until turning off on to quiet lanes through Anstey, Nuthampstead, Shaftenhoe End and Great Chishill again. We crossed the A505 again but this time at Flint Cross heading through Fowlmere, Thriplow, Newton and through the Shelfords onto the DNA cyclepath into Cambridge. Many thanks to all who rode with me or who we met at various food and drink stops – a great day and fabulous weather.

The distance covered was around 68 miles with temperatures, according to my Garmin varying between 13C and 31C. John Ross

Download GPS track (GPX).

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