At the start in Haslingfield where Mike C was today's leader, ten people started, including Mike S enjoying an outing on his electrically-assisted bike and Peter W 'fresh' from his coastal ride. However, back in Cambridge, with Ian W as the leader there were only three. Is it possible that these slick types from the city are easily put off by a little rain?
Out in the country at Haslingfield Mike led us out to Harlton and the Eversdens where we followed a straightforward route via Kingston to Bourn, up to the A428, Knapwell and Boxworth.
Between Boxworth and the A14 a large contractors' site has been created in preparation for the A14 upgrade. We crossed the A14 and joined the cycle path to take us into Swavesey and the Baptist Chapel for our coffee and cake break, arriving just before 11.am. This week the hosts were the Swavesey allotment society and they took the opportunity to display and sell their splendid produce; also the cakes were their usual excellent high quality. By the time we reached Swavesey the rain had stopped and this must have encouraged people to start out later and ride out individually and at least twenty-five were counted, doubling those who had started at Brookside and Haslingfield.
Soon after 11.30am we were on our way with two groups heading for Dry Drayton. Before coffee, as we headed northwards, we had the benefit of the following south westerly wind; now as we faced a more westward direction the wind was more in our faces. Fenstanton followed and then Hemingford Grey where it was noticed that Andy's tyre had a split and it was lucky that lunch was near to the cycle shop next to the Grafham visitor centre.
We passed through the ancient town of Godmanchester which has many fine old buildings and began the long climb and then descent into Offord Cluny. Buckden was its usual busy self and two more miles brought us to the visitor centre at Grafham Water.
Lunch was the usual mixture of eating outside with sandwiches but quite a few ordered from the counter. It was very blustery outside with the wind coming off the water and those with a packed lunches were soon inside for a cup of tea. As is the way of things a visit to the cycle shop ensued and even though there was a sale in progress nobody was tempted. Earlier Andy had already bought and fitted his new tyre.
For the return journey two very different routes were on offer - one with Ian via Huntingdon and the busway into north Cambridge and a more southerly route with Mike. With this parting of the ways the southern group returned back to Buckden with Richard dropping off to head back to Bedford and later Sharon and Belinda leaving nine to head for home via Offord Cluny, Offord Darcy and Graveley.
The wind by now was a mixture of being in our favour and blowing across us but we made steady progress onto familiar roads via Croxton and Great and Little Gransden to Longstowe and Bourn. A few more split off at the Kingston turn leaving the last few to return the way we came out back to Haslingfield finishing at 4.15pm and 58 miles. Another good day and thanks to Mike and Ian for their roles in leading us round. Edward Elmer
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