Sunday, 12 March 2017

12 Mar: Sunday ride to Stradishall and Chippenham

Nigel writes: I arrived at Brookside to find seven riders waiting to start: Mike P, John R, Alex, Tom, David W, Rupert and Eva, with Sarah and Andy arriving a few moments later. Alex was proudly showing off his smart new bike: and very nice it looked too. With light rain forecast for later in the day, today would be a useful opportunity to give it a gentle baptism.

Brookside

Our coffee stop today was the cafe at Stradishall. To get there we set off down Hills Road to Addenbrooke's and then turned left onto Wort's causeway for the climb over The Gogs to Fulbourn.

Hills Road, Cambridge

Although we do this climb regularly on our evening rides, this was the first time for some time that I had ridden it in daylight. Today was a dull day, with light winds, but probably the mildest Sunday we have had so far this year: after the climb had warmed me up further I began to feel a little over-dressed.

Wort's Causeway

We dropped down to Fulbourn and continued through The Wilbrahams to Six Mile Bottom.

Great Wilbraham

Our second climb of the morning - and probably the main climb of the day - was from Six Mile Bottom to Brinkley. I was keen to have a bit of hill-climbing practice so along this section I found myself riding ahead of the group through Great Bradley and Little Thurlow, arriving at Cafe 33 (formerly Adam's cafe) in Stradishall at about 11.10am.

Cafe 33, Stradishall

Already in the cafe were Keith, Adrian and Geoff. When I arrived the cafe was quiet, and my beans on toast was served quickly. However when the main group arrived - at the same time as a contingent of motorcyclists - the queue soon built up and there some of us had to wait for quite a while. Nevertheless I think this cafe is improved by its new management: it's essentially the same place, with the same menu and the same very reasonable prices, but it's definitely a bit smarter. I'm not sorry I no longer have to stir my tea with a communal teaspoon.

Hawson Hills, approaching Gazeley

After coffee we re-grouped for the next stage of the ride, to lunch at La Hogue near Chippenham. This was probably the nicest part of today's ride, along less familiar lanes through Wickhambrook and Dalham and then north to Kentford and across the flatlands to Chippenham. Apart from a short climb through the woods between Dalham and Gazeley, this part of the ride was mostly downhill.

Keith enjoying lunch in Chippenham

As usual, the cafe at La Hogue was very busy, with no space for us indoors beyond the six places we had booked. However it was mild enough for half the group to sit outside, and as always this was a very pleasant visit.

Heading home after lunch in Chippenham

After lunch we returned home to Cambridge via Snailwell, Exning and Burwell. Along the way it started to rain, but it never got very heavy and I didn't need to put on my rain jacket. I arrived home just before 4pm, having cycled 103km (64 miles). Nigel Deakin



Download GPS track (GPX).

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