Hills Road, Cambridge
It came as no surprise to find plenty of other riders already there, including David T, Andy, Sarah, Alex, Keith (on his pristine white bike), newcomer Sophie and Susan our leader for today. We set off from Brookside and made our way to Hills Road which we followed all the way out of the city.
The climb to Wandlebury
Just beyond Addenbrooke's Hills Road turns into Babraham Road, with quite a good off-road cycleway. It had now started to rain lightly, and it was nice to be able to keep us away from the splashes of passing cars on this fast and busy road. What we couldn't keep out of, though, was the path of a strong and relentless headwind which made this surprisingly hard work. As a consolation Alex advised me that my mudflap was working excellently: whereas other riders with mudguards were still sending a stream of spray on the rider behind, I was not.
After a few kilometres we turned off the main road to follow the new cycle path through the Babraham Institute to Babraham Village. From here Susan had planned to take the farm track and A11 footbridge to Abington, but I suggested that it might be muddy so we took a rather longer diversion via the A505 cycleway.
Just beyond Abington we crossed the A1307 to Hildersham and continued to Linton. Here we crossed back over the A1307 to Hadstock and began the gentle but long climb to Little Walden. By now we were beginning to get rather cold and this final leg over the hill and down again to Saffron Walden was a bit of a trudge, and it was a relief when we arrived at Bicicleta Coffee for our first break.
Bicicleta Coffee, Saffron Walden
Bicicleta Coffee is usually packed with sports cyclists at 11am on a Sunday morning, but today it was fairly quiet. The owner remarked that he could rely on CTC Cambridge to be out in weather that would put off less hardy riders.
Over coffee we discussed what to do, and I sensed a general feeling that most people wanted to skip the lunch stop in Langley Lower Green and head home after coffee. I was happy to go along with this, and afterwards we returned home via Audley End House, Chestnut Avenue And Catmere End, joined by Edmund who had joined us at coffee.
Chestnut Avenue, climbing to Catmere End
The rain had stopped, and with the wind behind us at last it felt rather pleasant. I think some of us were slightly regretting having abandoned the full ride, though every time the road turned west a blast of cold wind reminded us what we were missing. (We later discovered that John S had made his own way to Langley Lower Green and had wondered what had happened to us).
After a fast descent over Coploe Hill we dropped down to Ickleton. A short diversion via Hinxton brought us to Duxford, followed by Whittlesford and the Shelfords and we finally entered Cambridge via the DNA path and busway. I arrived home at about 1.15pm, having cycled a modest 62km (38 miles). Nigel Deakin
Download GPS track (GPX).