Sunday, 23 October 2016

23 Oct: Sunday ride to St Neots, Wadenhoe and Houghton

Nigel writes: Today was our final full-day ride of the season, and we ended in fine style with one of the best rides of the year: an extra-long ride which took us all the way to Northamptonshire, with dry, sunny weather giving us some gorgeous displays of autumnal leaf colour along the way.

Our leader today was Alex, attracted a large turnout at Brookside for today's ride: Seb C, Ray, Rupert, Camille, David T, John S, Mike P, Eva, Ian W, Dimitris, Mike CC, Susan and me. Almost everyone stayed for the entire ride, which was impressive given that this was explicitly advertised as a "longer" ride.

Heading out of Cambridge on the Barton Road cycleway

The first stage of today's ride took us west out of Cambridge to St Neots. Since we had a long way to go today we took a fairly direct route, following the B1046 almost all the way. It was clear right from the start that this would be a good ride, with sunshine, a gentle tailwind, and unusually quiet roads.

When we reached St Neots we stopped for coffee at the Ambiance Cafe in Riverside Park, which as always handled a sudden influx of customers very efficiently.

Coffee at Ambiance Cafe, St Neots

After coffee we carried on west and then north for a relatively long stage to our lunch stop in Wadenhoe, a tiny village about 5km south of Oundle. For much of the way I found myself in a faster breakaway group with Camille, Ray, David T and Dimitris, following the route that Alex had published earlier in the week and which I had loaded onto my Garmin.

My group reached Wadenhoe a little after 1pm and were followed by the main group about ten minutes later. Our lunch stop was a cafe called The Old Barn, which we were visiting for the first time.

Lunch at The Old Barn, Wadenhoe

The cafe is indeed in an old barn, a large, pleasant space with a high roof. The menu was ideal for visiting cyclists, with a good choice of light meals on offer, and when it arrived the food, although not exceptional, was entirely satisfactory.

Lunch at The Old Barn, Wadenhoe (Photo: Seb Cosnefroy)

The Old Barn, Wadenhoe

After lunch we set off eastwards. Our goal for this third stage of the ride was Houghton near St Ives, where we were due to stop for tea.

We had enjoyed a light tailwind during the morning and now, for the first time today, we had a bit of a headwind. However this was never very much of a problem and we made good progress, arriving in Houghton on time at about 4.15pm.

Just after the turning at Thurning

Winwick. The sign says "Breed better pigs with Thorleys food".

We stopped for tea at the National Trust cafe at Houghton Mill. The afternoon ride was already here, sitting outside the cafe with Simon their leader, whilst inside the cafe we found several members of the all-day ride who had taken a shorter route. The temperature was falling but it was just warm enough to sit outside.

Tea by the River Great Ouse at Houghton Mill

After tea we returned to Cambridge, following the Thicket Path to St Ives and then the busway. I arrived home just after 6pm, having cycled 147km (91 miles), making this probably our longest club ride of 2016. Nigel Deakin

Download GPS track (GPX).

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