Friday, 24 March 2017

23 Mar: Thursday ride to Lode and Isleham

Edward writes: This Thursday we had a planned trip out into the Fens to Isleham via Anglesey Abbey in Lode. Out in Hauxton, where Mike was leading, there were eleven riders. The weather promised to be dry but the wind had switched right round and now came in from the North East. This, of course, meant that the entire morning to lunch would be a battle against the stiff breeze; not an ideal day for a trip into the Fens.


Amongst those riding out to lunch was the welcome sight of Les making a return after a bit of an absence. Full day next time, Les? With all the formalities completed, we set off through the Shelfords and onto the DNA path where we were able to see yet another area of Addenbrooke's fenced off for more building, and this was right beside the DNA path.

On the DNA path near Great Shelford

On the DNA path near Addenbrooke's

The DNA path brought us to Red Cross Lane, all ready for the climb over the Gogs and down into Fulbourn. The ride out to Anglesey Abbey is pretty straightforward and we made good progress through the Wilbrahams and Bottisham, which just left the last mile or so into Lode for our first break of the day, arriving at 11am.

Between Little Wilbraham and Bottisham

With more than twenty miles to Isleham and a lively breeze to contend with there would be no time to linger over coffee. I didn't get the numbers from the City start, where Rupert was leading, but there were certainly in excess of twenty members at the Abbey.

We managed to leave the Abbey by 11.20 am with Rupert's group going first followed a few minutes later by Mike's group. We went through Swaffham Bulbeck and when we got to Swaffham Prior we turned onto the Lodes way which we followed to Upware and, of course, now that we were in the Fens, the wind made every effort to make it difficult for us.

On the Lodes Way

From Upware we went through Padney and past G's Hostel at Barway before joining the road known as The Cotes for a very windy ride into Soham. When in Soham we witnessed the unique occurrence of Adrian taking a wrong turning and we had to retrace our steps back to the main street through the town. So, he is fallible!

From Soham to Isleham is probably somewhere between three and four miles but what a slog. The wind had picked up and it was head-on all the way to the Isleham to Prickwillow road and it was such a relief to reach it as spirits were flagging a little. This left just a short distance into the village and the Griffin pub.

The Griffin, Isleham

This is a new lunch stop for the Thursday group and, as two weeks ago in Stansted, we can put this down as a success, a tribute to our Runs Committee who have worked hard to find new venues. We rang the pub from coffee to expect about a dozen for lunch and they were well prepared for us. Although we arrived later than our estimate of 1 pm (that wind again) all fifteen who had lunch were quickly served such that we were able to leave by 2.20pm. Their 'light bites' menu was just right for a group of cyclists and all reasonably priced and, just as importantly, friendly, welcoming staff.

Preparing to leave Isleham

We left Isleham in two groups and this time we had the pleasure of the wind behind us which meant we made rapid progress down to Fordham where we joined the busy A142, luckily only for a short while, until we reached the turning for Exning. We left Exning on the heath road, past the solar farm and adjacent to the very noisy A14. This brought us to Burwell and then Reach before coming back to Swaffham Prior for the second time today.

Our ride was nearly over as we visited Swaffham Bulbeck again and Bottisham where we joined the cycle path along side the A1303 all the way to the airport turning. Some went back into the city with Mike leading the last few back through Cherry Hinton to Great Shelford. Rides out into the Fens are not always the most popular especially with a stiff wind but Mike devised a good route and we discovered a good lunch stop, so all in all a good day out. Anyone going back to Hauxton would have cycled 64 miles. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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