When it was time to go thirteen riders had assembled and were all marked off on the register by Andy, our leader for the day. Meanwhile, back in the city, there was a similar process with John S checking in eight riders.
As Ickleton is only about eight miles distant from Hauxton, a circuitous route was required which started via Little Shelford and Newton. Once underway it was apparent how cold it was, with hands hard to keep warm - even with Rapha gloves. Although the last few days had been dry there were still plenty of puddles and, in the shade, damp roads, which required a lot of concentration to avoid mishaps.
We missed out the usual ride round Thriplow and went directly to Fowlmere and out to the A505 at Flint Cross. Now we had the two miles of climbing up to Great Chishill; there were no complaints now about being cold. On the way up we were caught by those from the city.
We went past Heydon and into Elmdon which put us on the long descent down to Ickleton. Although mostly downhill it is interrupted by a stiff climb and at the start of the descent from it, and probably flying, the rear derailleur on John E's bike broke off. This brought to an end to his day's cycling, but more importantly he avoided injury. In good spirit there were many offers of help, principally from John S and Rupert. After some first aid to the bike John was able to freewheel downhill to Ickleton and limp along to the Riverside Barns where we were having coffee. Once there, Rupert and John soon got to work to get the bike serviceable enough for John could to get home.
At coffee, with the addition of the independent riders, we very nearly filled the cafe taking up all the available seats. On a day like today this must have been good business for them.
When it was time to go, about fourteen continued along the A1301 to Littlebury where we turned right to climb up to Littlebury Green before descending back down to the Royston to Saffron Walden road. We then turned off to pay a rare visit to Newland End before continuing on Arkesden via Quicksie Hill.
The climbing was over for a bit as we arrived in Wicken Bonhunt and then into Newport for a bit more climbing. On the climb out of Newport, whilst trying to change gear, Peter had what he called a "controlled falling off" into the grassy embankment, as his chain had come off and he was stuck in his rear derailleur. There were no bruises, and he will be fit to shout for the Gunners at the Emirates this Saturday. A few more uphills and downhills finally brought thirteen of us to lunch at the Mutton and Kipper in Elder Street Wimbish.
Wimbish Tye Green
This was a pleasant lunch break and a bonus for the cafe as we were nearly the only customers there. After lunch at 2.30 pm it was time to go again and as Andy was close to home he exercised the Chairman's prerogative and delegated the afternoon session for John to lead on his own. Andy and Sarah were joined by Alan, leaving John's group of ten to head through Tye Green Wimbish to Radwinter, passing over the fords in Water Lane which were passable with care.
Water Lane, Radwinter
A few more climbs took us to Ashdon, Bartlow and Linton. This is a regular route home for us taking in Hildersham, Abington, Babraham, Sawston, Stapleford and Grest Shelford.
We finished the ride at 4.14pm, as the sun was going down and the temperature dropping. Those going back to Hauxton would have completed 56 miles. Thanks to our two leaders for taking us round and, despite the cold ,this was a very successful January ride. Also thanks to Rupert for his assistance to John E. Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).