Thursday, 21 July 2016

21 Jul: Thursday ride to Cottenham and Ely

Edward writes: After a few oppressively hot days this morning began just slightly more bearable, although later in the afternoon it would again become very humid. Fourteen riders assembled in Haslingfield, among them David W back from his cycling holidays in one of the former Soviet republics and Mongolia; at Brookside, led by John R, there were ten.

Barton

Mike C was in charge for the ride from Haslingfield and we began by cycling to Barton where we crossed the path of the city start group who were taking a route via Dry Drayton and Oakington. For our part we went along Barton Road as far as Grange Road followed by the rare experience for a Thursday ride of cycling through the city. This included Mill Lane, Pembroke Street, Downing Street, Park Terrace, Clarendon Street and finally Fair Street where we came to Midsummer Common.

Between Selwyn and Newnham Colleges, Cambridge

Pembroke Street, Cambridge

Midsummer Common took us down to the river where it’s always nice to observe all the river activity and where later this evening the Town Bumps will be continuing.

Midsummer Common

River activity

We crossed the river by the new bridge and continued on the towpath up to Milton.

Beside the Cam

We now had just Landbeach to ride through and the last two miles to Cottenham and the Community Centre for coffee. With twenty-four from Cambridge and Haslingfield and others who cycled independently it was reckoned to be about thirty-two at the centre. Although we had given prior notice of our arrival their procedures seemed a little laborious and service was quite slow, but always friendly, and of course nobody would want to be critical of people who volunteer.

After an hour spent in Cottenham we left in two groups with Mike taking his along the five miles of Twentypence Road all the way to Wilburton. We were now into the Fens where the scarcity of trees and hedgerows can allow the wind to make cycling hard work, but today, luckily for us, hardly any wind blew. After Wilburton we crossed Grunty Fen all the way to Wentworth.

Wilburton

At Wentworth we crossed the A142 and headed towards Coveney where we encountered the unusual experience in the Fens of a hill upon which Coveney sits.

Uphill to Coveney

Leaving Coveney

After Coveney most took the direct four miles into Ely although it is quite possible some may have taken a longer route to Ely via Little Downham. Although the Fens lack the undulations of, say, Suffolk, cycling through this flat countryside on such a nice day was very pleasant, especially with the sight of Ely Cathedral always in the distance.

Approaching Ely

We soon covered the miles into Ely where there is no designated lunch venue and so most people made for the river to eat packed lunches or to head for The Cutter. We arrived shortly after 1 pm and it was 2.15pm before we left. In the meantime it was very nice beside the river and watching all the activity of people enjoying such a lovely day. In the background lots of trains passed including four long freight trains which on a rough calculation had taken eighty lorries off the road.

Lunch by the river in Ely

The group with Mike was about fourteen strong and we left Ely alongside the river to Padney, and past the accommodation blocks for all the people employed in this vast food-growing area. As usual the Lodes Way was quiet and we soon arrived in Wicken where we stopped briefly to enjoy ice creams.

Ice creams at Wicken Fen

We carried on through the Fens to Lode and when we reached the main road there was no opposition to taking the direct route along it to Stow-Cum-Quy, and then beside the A14, finishing at the airport roundabout.

On the Lodes Way

By now people were splitting off to head for home leaving a small group to head through Cherry Hinton and the hospital DNA path to Great Shelford and those going back to Haslingfield would have completed 60 miles. As always our thanks to Mike C and John R for their efforts to make this such a nice day out. Edward Elmer



Download GPS track (GPX).

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