Sunday, 29 January 2017

29 Jan: Sunday ride to Ickleton and Buntingford

Nigel writes: On a cold, damp, morning, with "heavy rain" forecast for the afternoon, I didn't expect many people to turn up for today's ride. However when I arrived at Brookside, a few seconds before the 9.30am start, I found thirteen riders preparing to set off. Sheila and Rupert wisely decided to divide us into two groups, with Sheila leading the front group and Rupert following a short distance behind with the second group.


Our coffee stop in Ickleton wasn't very far away, so instead of riding there directly our route took us west along the Barton Road cycleway to Barton before turning south to Haslingfield. From there, instead of scaling Chapel Hill as usual we continued south to Harston where we crossed the A10 before continuing to Whittlesford.

The temperature today was about 5C, distinctly milder than last week, and with no worries about ice.


At Whittlesford we turned south for Duxford and Ickleton, arriving at the Riverside Cafe slightly earlier than usual at about 10.45am. An early arrival was probably just as well, since with such a large group it took some time for everyone to get their food and drink.

Riverside Cafe, Ickleton

After coffee about half the group decided to head back to Cambridge, with the other half carrying on to Lunch in Buntingford. That would be perfectly normal on an ordinary day, but today, with heavy rain still forecast to arrive at 1pm, I thought it was quite impressive that so many people were keen to stay out a bit longer. I hesitated for a few moments and decided to join the group that was carrying on to lunch.

The descent from Elmdon to Wenden Lofts

Sheila led us on south by a fairly direct route, starting with the long climb from Ickleton to Elmdon followed by a fast descent back down to the junction with the B1039 where a small sign proclaims identifies the location as Wendon Lofts. From there a short climb took us back up to Duddenhoe End from where several miles of more level roads took us to Langley, Meesden and Anstey.

Approaching Anstey

We continued south to Great Hormead where we made our final turn west for a short run along the B1038 to Hare Street and Buntingford. Our lunch stop was at Buntingford Coffee Shop, where a large table had been reserved for us. A few moments later we were joined by Mike S who had been riding independently on his electrically-assisted bike. Buntingford Coffee Shop is one of my favourite lunch stops, and the food and service today was excellent.

Lunch at Buntingford Coffee Shop

After a very pleasant, relaxed lunch we sent back outside and prepared to set off back towards Cambridge, climbing slightly to Wyddial before turning north onto the B1368 and following it the way back to Cambridge. After Barkway this road is essentially downhill, and with a slight tailwind we made brisk progress. After a while it began to drizzle very slightly: this was technically rain but definitely not the heavy rain that we had been promised, and certainly nothing that required the use of my rain jacket.

As usual, the group dispersed as we approached the outskirts of Cambridge as people turned off for home. I returned to central Cambridge with Alex, taking the path across Trumpington Meadows before joining the busway to the station. I arrived home at about 4pm - well before sunset, and still with no sign of heavy rain - having cycled 89km (55 miles). Nigel Deakin

Download GPS track (GPX).

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