Thursday, 29 September 2016

29 Sep: Thursday ride to Swavesey and Grafham

Edward writes: The weather forecast almost certainly played its part in reducing the numbers out for today's ride to Swavesey and Grafham Water. Two days ago rain for most of the day was predicted, yesterday it became light rain and this morning reduced to an hour’s rain at about 9am, and this proved to be the one that was correct. As most people set out from home the rain started and for a while it was very unpleasant as the wind speed increased.

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?

Haslingfield to Harlton

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.

Bourn to A428

A428 to Knapwell

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 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.

Hemingford Common

Hemingford Common

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.

Offord Cluny

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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Thursday, 22 September 2016

22 Sep: Thursday ride to Newport and Great Saling

Edward writes: This Thursday, with the official arrival of autumn the day before, the weather started to feel like the actual season it's supposed to be in. Today's temperature was in the late teens against last week when it was near to thirty degrees centigrade. Our ride to Newport and Great Saling would probably be the last of the long rides this year and in Brookside with Rupert as leader there were six riders whereas we at Hauxton started with ten. It was good to see Richard out for a brief ride and Adrian joining us.


As it was to be a long ride we chose the most direct route to Newport through Little Shelford and Whittlesford to the A505. Along the way we were joined by Gerry, Mike B and Susan which Greg thought made us a bit like the Pied Piper gathering a following as we went along.

Catmere End

As is now the custom we went round the Duxford factory area, over the railway and ford to Hinxton and Ickleton before embarking on the climb up to the summit of Coploe Hill. (Anybody wanting blackberries would find plenty here.) After a brief rest we continued to Catmere End and then the road up to the radio mast before the fast descent down to Wendens Ambo.

Mike B and Adrian on Coploe Hill

Sarah on Coploe Hill

With no further ado we arrived in Newport just after 11am, conveniently just ahead of those city slickers from Brookside. As we have come to expect from the staff at Dorrington's they were well organised and quickly dealt with the dispensing of coffee and cakes. Already there enjoying the sunshine we found Greta, Doug, Craig and Jim.


For the next session the two groups decided to take the same route to Great Saling which meant we had to do the mile or so south on the B1383 until we reached the Henham turn just before the motorway. Now, for a while at least, we were on quiet roads to Elsenham station. After waiting for the train to pass and surprisingly found that the gates were manually operated we carried on southwards and on to a fairly busy road to Molehill Green.

Elsenham Station

Elsenham Station

Now things quietened down again towards Broxted where we encountered a road closed sign. Usually cycles are able to squeeze through and so we decided it was worth the risk. It was nice to observe the high standard of road repairs and with complimentary words to the workforce we got through easily enough.


Great Easton and Lindsell soon followed as we ran along the delightfully named Lubberhedges Lane which took us through quiet countryside. As we looked at the fields we saw that the harvest is now well behind us and ploughing, harrowing and drilling are all very much in progress. The final approach to Andrews Field is reached by a short stretch off-road but a refuse collection truck made the leader miss it (that's his story and he’s sticking to it), which caused a three-mile detour round Stebbing before we arrived at the airfield at about 1.20pm and 37 miles.

Arriving at Great Saling

Andrews Field is always nice to visit. Their food is good, reasonably priced and the staff are friendly. However, recently there has been a trend for more people to take sandwiches with relatively few buying food at the counter and it was pointed out to us that isn't what we should be doing and we wouldn't be welcome if it happened again. A point to bear in mind in the future.

Preparing to leave Great Saling

After lunch we assembled to leave with the time at 2.15 pm. Rupert decided to lead his group home on a more direct route via Great Bardfield with a following group of nine going via Shalford followed by the four miles of lanes which lead to Finchingfield.

In the lanes on the approach to Finchingfield

Then followed a further six miles to Helions Bumpstead and after the climb up to Castle Camps it was our regular ride back through Bartlow and Linton where we said goodbye to Vic F who had joined us at lunch. The ride ended via the A505 cycleway to Sawston and Great Shelford. We had good weather throughout and a very enjoyable round trip of 72 miles finishing at 5pm. Edward Elmer

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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

21 Sep: Evening ride to Shepreth

Nigel writes: After last week's heatwave there was a definite autumnal feel in the air this evening, with sunset taking place only half an hour after the start of tonight's ride, and a definite cool feel in the air as the evening progressed. However it probably only felt cool because we were still dressed for summer: it wasn't cold by any means, and a perfectly fine evening for a bike ride.

I had five companions on the ride tonight: Paul, Tom, Dimitris, Andrew and Mike K. Our route followed the familar pattern for an evening ride to the south, following the busway to Addenbrooke's, the DNA path to Great Shelford, and the road through Little Shelford, Whittlesford and Duxford to Ickleton.

Between Little Shelford and Whittlesford I persuaded the group to ride in a fairly close 3x2 formation instead of our usual practice of riding single file on a long, strung-out line. This was something of an experiment but I think it was successful. The basic idea is that a compact group is easier to overtake, but it also has the happy consequence of making conversation easier, and also making riding easier for everyone except the two at the front.

On the busway to Addenbrookes

At Ickleton our group divided, with Paul taking the direct road to Chrishall Grange whilst the rest of us took the longer and hillier route via Coploe Hill and Royston Lane. When we arrived at Chrishall Grange Paul was waiting for us, and we all continued the final few kilometres to Fowlmere and on to Shepreth.

Our pub stop this evening was at The Plough in Shepreth, and it was as pleasant and efficient as always, with our orders of chips arriving within a few minutes.

At The Plough, Shepreth

After about half an hour we set off back to Cambridge. This involved riding along the most worn-out road in the area to Barrington and then climbing over Chapel Hill to Haslingfield. From there we continued to Barton and followed the cycleway back to Cambridge. I arrived home at 9.55pm, having cycled 54km (33 miles).

Nigel Deakin

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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).

18 Sep: Sunday afternoon ride to Ashwell

Simon writes: Given the volume of rain that landed on Cambridgeshire between Thursday's ride and this weekend's rides I think we’ve been very lucky... or in Alex's immortal words, "fair weather was ordered for the day".

Setting off from Brookside in no particular order was Mike K, Irene, Mark, John E, Bev, Stan and Neil. However Neil did say that he wouldn't make it to tea and turned back at Wimpole Hall.

Bev also had time constraints, turned back at Wendy and, in view of his intergalactic round trip to St Ives, John decided to turn North only 1.5 miles from tea, presumably heading in the Wrestlingworth, Waresley, Papworth direction.

In Ashwell the lady curator of the museum greeted us, and just at that very moment we were pleasantly joined by Mike S on his assisted steed for tea

At 4.50pm we were still trying to tear Mike K away from the prize Marrow that the curator wanted to give him along with all the recipes she had for it. I had my excuse for passing up the invitation – I've still got the remains of last night's marrow and mince to reheat, and now, like the marrow, I too am stuffed!

The Tudor beams of the museum aren't really that bowed by the way, it's the effect my Garmin "action cam" has, at least until I get my head round its fish-eye view of the world in photo mode. It also records a GPS track of where we go which could be useful for future route planning but I also record journeys in case it should become helpful to have video evidence of any incidents. Thankfully we've not needed to refer to any yet.

So Ashwell took us 2 hrs 6 mins to cycle the 25.7 mile route that I planned on the website "Ride with GPS", and which included the Malton country lane from Meldreth to Orwell. After tea and at the brisk pace of 14.4 mph it took us only 1 hr 35 mins to cycle the 22.8 miles that I planned using "Ride with group consensus" all the way back to Cambridge Simon Gallaway

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Thursday, 15 September 2016

15 Sep: Thursday ride to Gamlimgay and Old Warden

Edward writes: After some extremely hot and uncomfortable days a slight respite was predicted with temperatures only reaching a mere 28C. However, as we gathered at Haslingfield Green it was under a heavy mist which gave us cooler and more comfortable riding weather. The mist was expected to lift by 10am but in the event it was after midday before the sun really got out. At Brookside, where John Seton was leading, eight gathered and in Haslingfield with Averil in charge, 10 riders met. Today’s ride would take in Gamlingay before going on to Old Warden for lunch.

Averil led the way and very quickly a brisk pace developed which was probably caused by Greg and Averil at the front engaging in a lively conversation. Our route through Harlton and the Eversdens passed by in a blur with the villages barely noticeable to the naked eye.


Soon we were climbing the hill up to the A1198 at Longstowe which was enlivened by a skirmish with car driver who apparently wanted us to ride two abreast, which is an unusual complaint. Not long after we arrived in Gamlingay and LJ’s for our coffee break and of course their bacon sarnies. The speed of our ride paid dividends as we were well in front of the city start group and able to be front of the queue.


LJ’s is always popular and they prepare well and get through our requests in very smart order. In all there were about twenty-five there including Richard (Bedford), Bob (Potton), Sharon and Belinda (Buckden) and Adrian (Cambridge), but not riding - the dogs needed a walk. Someone who wasn’t out today would have been sorry to have missed the girl with the blue eyes!


After coffee and the usual departures for home two groups made their way to Old Warden and now at a much more sedate pace. As we went along Heath Road we came across a stall selling vegetables and both Sarah (runner beans) and Rupert (carrots) helped the local economy along with their purchases.

Sarah with her runner beans

Everton came next which meant an exhilarating descent of Tempsford hill only to be brought to an abrupt halt at the level crossing where we had to wait for four trains (or was it five?) to go through. At least we made friends with the truck drivers who acknowledged us when we all pulled over to allow them through. Luckily the gates didn’t come down again before some who waited had crossed.


The rest of the journey to lunch took us through Blunham, Moggerhanger, Northill and Ickwell before arriving at Old Warden aerodrome at about 12.45pm where the sun had finally made its break through and a subsequent rise in temperature.

Eyes were soon cast on the old yellow aircraft which turned out to be a Miles Magister which made its maiden flight in 1937.

Miles Magister at Old Warden

The usual arrangements for lunch took place before we all sat down to have a post-lunch tea or coffee.

Lunch at Old Warden

For the trip home we once again had two groups which, in contrast to the morning, was cycled in hot sunshine. We now headed east which gave us some assistance from the very light north easterly wind as we went through Broom, past Jordan's Mill and the long climb up to the water tower next to the A1.


After Edworth and the turning to Ashwell events went a bit awry as the leading group used the Love’s Lane way in whereas we in the following group, not having noticed this, followed along the main road. Sensibly the first group stopped for ice creams and sat on the village Green which caused the second group to miss them by going through the village on the high street. Thus it was that the ride followed the usual route home except perhaps for a detour around Abington Pigotts. When we finally split in Meldreth it left three to return to Haslingfield and would have given a ride of 58 miles. Thanks to our two leaders, Averil and John, and anybody else who chipped in. Although it was hot, in a week's time we may have something different to contend with; after all we will be well into September. Edward Elmer

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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

14 Sep: Evening ride to Quy

Nigel writes: After a hot and humid day, tonight was a very warm evening, with a temperature at 6.30pm still in the mid-20's. I wondered whether this would put off riders, but in the event when I arrived at Brookside for tonight's evening ride I was joined by five others: Gareth, Paul, Ray, Dimitris and Tim, which is fairly good by the standards of recent evening rides.

Wort's Causeway

We set off from Brookside, headed down Hills Road to Addenbrooke's, and turned left onto Wort's Causeway for the climb over the Gogs to Fulbourn. From there we continued through the Wilbrahams to Six Mile Bottom and continued up Brinkley Hill as far as Cemetery Crossroads.

Brinkley Road

The pace this evening was satisfyingly brisk, and after a delightful run along Balsham Lane we reached Dullingham in good time to allow a short loop around the village before continuing west to Swaffham Bulbeck.

Pausing on Balsham Lane

We reached Quy at about 8.20pm and stopped at The White Swan for drinks and chips, which we enjoyed sitting outside in the still-warm evening air.

The White Swan, Quy

Afterwards we returned the short distance to Cambridge via Fen Ditton and Ditton Meadows, and I arrived home at about 9.30pm, having cycled 51km (32 miles).Nigel Deakin

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Justice for Michael Mason

Last December CTC Cambridge made a £200 donation to the Cycling Defence Fund's Justice for Michael Mason appeal: read our blog post for more information. This appeal has so far received £64,570 in donations and a private prosecution has now begun. The latest news is given in this BBC news report and this Daily Telegraph article

Sunday, 11 September 2016

11 Sep: Sunday afternoon ride to Braughing

John F writes: My companions for our third, and last, Sunday afternoon ride this year to this favourite tea-stop were Beverely, John E, Mike K, Neil, Phil, Simon and Stan. This was going to be a challenging ride because of a brisk adverse wind on the outward stretch so it was well we were starting half an hour earlier. I was keen to introduce some variety into the route by bring in a loop through Wyddial and Buntingford to the west of the B1368.

At Brookside

At Brookside

By 2.30pm we had crossed the A505 at Flint Cross and thankfully got clear of the deranged petrol-heads who regard the Newton-Fowlmere road as their private race-track. We enjoyed a short pause at Great Chishill for regrouping and drinks after the stiff climb.

Neil, Simon and Stan in Great Chishill

Thence it was the quiet rolling lane to Shaftenhoe End and then the steady climb to Nuthampstead. Here Simon's GPS recorded our maximum altitude of 550ft at Anstey. Somewhere along this stretch Stan decided to return home.

Pausing at Anstey

At Anstey, beside the iconic well-head, we took the lane sign-posted Barkway which eventually winkled its way round by Anstey quarry and across the B1368 through Wyddial into Buntingford. I intend sometime to investigate continuing down to Westmill and crossing the B1368 near Hay Street and so avoid most of the cycling on the B1368. If someone has already done this perhaps they could contact me?

Today we headed back to the B1368 at Hare Street and down the B1368 into Braughing. There I consulted some locals as to the village's pronunciation and was informed that this could be either "Braffing" or "Bruffing". So take your pick.

We reached the tea-room at 4.10pm, just as the all-day riders were leaving and this was perhaps fortunate for I have never seen the place so crowded.

Meeting the all-day riders at Braughing

Tea at St Mary's Church Hall, Braughing

We spent an enjoyable half hour over tea and then set off homewards via all three Pelhams, Meesden Bury and into Langley Lower Green.

Turning point on the Brent Pelham to Meesden Road

From there I was pleased that all six followed me onto the track via Building End which is a delightful route, predominantly downhill, past some stunning houses and into Chrishall and through Crawley End to Chrishall Grange.

New House, Building End

Thatched House in Chrishall

Mike who was ahead disappeared and presumably continued onto to Ickleton. At Newton there was a brief stop while we helped to a young cyclist with a mechanical problem

Pausing at Newton on the return journey

I was home at 6.50pm, having cycled about 58 miles: probably our longest Sunday afternoon ride of the year.

I am indebted to Simon whose GPS measured the outward route accurately as 29.7 miles. Its batteries had run out for the return journey but the homeward route must have been about the same length. John Ferguson

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11 Sep: Sunday ride to Meesden, Much Hadham and Braughing

Nigel writes: With perfect weather, excellent cafes, and an excellent route through fine countryside, today's ride was one of the the best we've had this year. The weather was sunny and warm, with very little wind, but temperatures never became so hot as to become opressive. Alex was our leader today, and at Brookside he was joined by Rupert, Sheila, John R, Ray, Peter, Keith, Mike CC, Chris and me.

Today we were heading south, so we set off along Trumpington Road to Trumpington and took the path across Trumpington "Meadows" (it's really a park, not a meadow) to the northern end of Hauxton. From there we followed the B1368 as far as Fowlmere before cutting south towards Chrishall Grange.

Chrishall Grange

Here we encountered our first hill of the day, the long but very gentle climb up to Chrishall. From here the terrain became more undulating, with a slight climb through Heydon to Great Chishill followed by the enjoyable switchback descent down to Shaftenhoe End.

Great Chishill

We turned left towards Little Chishill and Langley and a few minutes later arrived in Meesden, where we stopped for coffee at the village hall. There were about ten members already there, so together with the eight or so in our group made about eighteen in total.

Morning coffee in Meesden

We started visiting Meesden Village Hall only last year, and it has rapidly become one of our most popular coffee stop, serving all our favourites: good tea and coffee, a selection of cakes, and bacon rolls. On this occasion they had opened specially for us, and will I think have been satisfied with our turnout.

After coffee in Meesden

As is usual at coffee a few riders left the group, and several more joined it. The next stage of the route took us further south to Much Hadham, and to get there Alex led us on a big loop to the west. This took us via Widdial to Buntingford and then through Wadesmill and Nasty before returning back east to Much Hadham.


Lunch today was at Hopley's Cafe in Much Hadham. This is an excellent cafe, set in pleasant gardens next to a nursery and serving some of the best quality food of any of our regular lunch stops.

Lunch at Hopley's Cafe, Much Hadham

After lunch we turned back north. Our tea stop was relatively close, so Alex took us for another loop, this time to the east and following a number of tiny wooded lanes that I had never used before.

Upwick Green near Albury

At about 3.45pm we arrived in Braughing and stopped for tea at the village hall. This is a much large and busier affair than in tiny Meesden, but remains another longstanding club favourite.

Tea at Braughing Village Hall

After about half an hour we were just getting ready to set off again when John F arrived with the afternoon ride, and after exchanging pleasantries we were on our way. To my pleasure Alex's route north carefully avoided retracing roads we had used earlier, or even crossing them, following the B1368 to Hare Street before cutting eastwards to Brent Pelham and Clavering.

Climbing Telegraph Hill whilst the Red Arrows create a heart-shaped trail in the sky

The last leg from Clavering took us north, over the increasingly-familar hill sequence of Quicksie, Telegraph and Coploe, before dropping down to Ickleton and a final easy run across the flat back to Cambridge. Along the way we were treated to the final stages of an air display over Duxford.

I arrived back home at 6.25pm, having cycled 139km (86 miles). Nigel Deakin

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