Tuesday, 7 March 2017

5 Mar: Sunday afternoon ride to Ickleton

Ray writes:It can be difficult to motivate yourself to go out for a ride at this time of year. The wind, grey skies, and threat of rain all conspire to turn you into a couch potato. I counter this by volunteering to lead rides - that way I'm forced to put on my cycling gear and get to Brookside, and once I've got that far I may as well go for at least a short ride. Today was one of those days, with wind and heavy rain forecast for the whole afternoon. But I donned my wet weather gear and headed for Brookside. I hadn't accounted for road closures for the Cambridge Half Marathon so arrived a couple of minutes late to find regulars Simon and David waiting for me, along with newcomers Lali and Mark who were trying their first afternoon ride.

We set off down Trumpington Road then turned towards Grantchester, leaving Cambridge via the cycle path across Grantchester Meadows. Our route would take us through Hauxton, Newton, Thriplow, Fowlmere, and Chrishall Grange, then Royston Lane to the top of Coploe Hill. We battled a headwind all the way out, but apart from a couple of short showers the threatened rain never materialised. I stopped in Chrishall Grange to take off my waterproof trousers before the climb, and was pleasantly surprised at how much more comfortable it was to ride without this encumbrance.

(Photographs: Simon Gallaway)

There are several options for extending this route, but it was almost 2.45pm when we arrived at the Littlebury Green/Catmere End crossroads, so I decided to take the most direct route to tea. We stopped to admire the view from the top of Coploe Hill then descended rapidly to Ickleton and made our way to Riverside Barns for welcome hot drinks and cake. We arrived almost dead on time and were joined a few minutes later by Mick C, who had made his own way there.

Our bikes could have found the way home from Ickleton on their own: we must have ridden the route through Hinxton, Duxford, Whittlesford and Shelford dozens of times. We now had a tailwind, so the ride home was quick and pleasant. I arrived home at 5pm having covered 37 miles. Despite the poor forecast, the sunny spells dominated the afternoon and we all enjoyed the ride - definitely better than spending the afternoon on the couch.

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