Sunday, 14 August 2016

14 Aug: Sunday ride to Gamlingay, Baldock and Westmill

Alex writes: I set off from Brookside at nine o'clock leading eleven other riders: Camille, David, Geoff, Keith, Mark, Nigel, Paul, Ray, Rupert, English Seb, and Tom.

Gathering at Brookside (photo: Nigel Deakin)

Today's route was to be mostly a re-run of a ride I had led in May. Since Ray had been the only rider to accompany me all the way round then, and since I enjoyed the route so much, I thought it deserved a bigger audience.

On the Coton Path (photo: Nigel Deakin)

We escaped Cambridge via the Coton cycle path and then cycled to Haslingfield for a trip over Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill (photo: Nigel Deakin)

In common with Nigel and Ray, I had ridden a 200 km audax the day before and my legs were a touch tired – I was often content to be "leading from the back".

Approaching Orwell

Because of a children's fun run we didn’t take our usual route through the Wimpole estate but, after Orwell, turned right onto to the A60 and then B1042. This forced detour gave us the rare opportunity to make a right turn and enjoy climbing Croydon Hill all the way from the bottom. Keith enjoyed it so much after getting to the top first he went back down for another go!

Climbing Croydon Hill (photo: Camille Stavrakas)

Climbing Croydon Hill (photo: Camille Stavrakas)

The forecast had been for cloudy skies but by now some sunshine had broken through and we had sunny spells for the rest of the day. With only very light winds this gave us very pleasant cycling weather.

On the road to Gamlingay we were joined by Andy and Sarah, making for an unusually large Sunday group of 14 that arrived at Woodview Farm Shop just before 11 o'clock.

After the usual comings and goings it was a slightly smaller group that set off on the next leg of the ride. This took us over Cockayne Hill to Wrestlingworth and then along the delightful Northfield Road to Ashwell. From there we took the undulating route through Bygrave to drop us down into Baldock in good time for lunch.

Through Wrestlingworth (photo: Camille Stavrakas)

This was the club's second visit to Tapps garden centre, and confirmed our earlier good impression of it. A good selection of savouries and cakes are on offer, and a wide varieties of teas and coffees.

Lunch at Tapp's Garden Centre (photo: Nigel Deakin)

After lunch some headed back to Cambridge and we were joined by Mike S and John S, making for a group of eight for the next leg.

This began with (for these parts) a testing climb out of Baldock. Mike S made a good start accelerating to the head of the pack on his electrically-assisted bike, but around half way to his amazement Camille breezed by effortlessly to reach the top first. Truly, in the coming war between man and machine there is hope for humanity yet.

Approaching Benington (photo: Nigel Deakin)

Mike S leads the group towards tea; "just like the good old days" remarked Nigel (photo: Nigel Deakin)

This leg is quite lumpy but everyone seemed to want to press on reasonably briskly, and we arrived at Westmill for tea quite early at 3.15. Still, nobody seemed to mind as this gave us longer to sit outside in the sun and enjoy our excellent teas. Most of us had cake or scones, and John S used the time to fit in an extra caramel milkshake.

Tea at Westmill (photo: Nigel Deakin)

At tea Nigel spotted that my proposed route introduced an unnecessary dog leg via Hare Street, and suggested we rode via Wyddial instead. This we did, enjoying views over the fields in the afternoon sun.

From there we took the B road through Barley down back to the Cambridge plain. After an easy run through Fowlmere and Thriplow were soon back at Cambridge Station.

When I got home I found I had ridden 132 km (82 miles).

Download GPS track (GPX).

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