Sunday, 18 September 2016

18 Sep: Sunday ride to Thaxted and Buntingford

Alex writes: After the sequence of scorching sun, heavy rain and strong winds last week, it was a relief to set out this morning into more benign cycling weather: cool, still and overcast. At Brookside I found Dimitris, Paul, Ray, Rupert, Sheila and newcomer Imy would be my initial riding companions for the morning.

Today's coffee stop was Thaxted, some 40 km distant, so I took a direct route through the Shelfords, Duxford, then up Coploe hill where Dave W joined us; we climbed up Heavy Hill and zoomed down to Littlebury, then took the B roads via Saffron Walden and Debden. The pace was less frantic than the last time we took this route to coffee, but even at a more usual club speed we were on schedule to arrive in Thaxted at eleven o'clock.

However just as we were closing in on coffee, Sheila alerted me to the fact we were missing two riders. Waving the others on I waited fruitlessly for a while and then rode back a few hundred metres to find Ray and Paul had collided and were being assisted by John S who had been riding to join us. Happily, both men and machines were still in working order so the four of us made our way to Thaxted where a "brains trust" of Rupert and Dave re-trued Ray's rear wheel and Andy and Sarah (making a guest appearance for coffee only) bandaged Paul's grazed arm.

Our lunch stop lay due west in Buntingford, and to get there we took a succession of quiet lanes, wiggling our way across the country. Shortly after Rickling Green, Paul got cramp, so he and Rupert peeled off back to Cambridge leaving the rest of us to take Brixton Lane towards Manuden. This – a new road to me – was particularly pleasant, with good views and (today) no cars whatsoever.

Pausing on Brixton Land (photo: Dimitris Kamileris)

From Manuden we continued east through Furneux Pelham, Little Hormead and Hare Street. The sun was burning off the early cloud cover and we enjoyed the occasional burst of sunshine and gently rising temperature.

Closing in on lunch (photo: Dimitris Kamileris)

Because of the day's vicissitudes we didn't arrive in Buntingford until two o'clock but, possibly because of this late arrival, the sometimes-busy coffee shop had plenty of room for us and we were served promptly.

After lunch there was a general mood that a direct route home would be welcome, so after riding through Wyddial instead of enjoying the rollercoaster delights of Great Chishill and Heydon we allowed the B 1368 to deliver us more directly onto the Cambridge Plain. After crossing the A 505 we then took our usual route through Fowlmere and Thriplow and entered Cambridge via Trumpington Meadows and the guided busway to arrive at the station just before 16:30.

Riding back along the busway (photo: Dimitris Kamileris)

When I got home I found I had ridden 114 km (71 miles).

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