Thursday, 9 March 2017

9 Mar: Thursday ride to Reed and Stansted Mountfitchet

Edward writes: For a long time now we have been waiting for a day like this and at last it duly arrived. Sunny, warm, no overnight frosts, not raining, all good ingredients for a day’s cycling. There was, however, a stiff north-westerly breeze to contend with and during the day it helped as much as it hindered. In the city, with John R leading, there were eight riders including Victor who was making his debut with us and to whom we extend a warm welcome. Out in the country at Hauxton ten cyclist met, namely Adrian, Averil, Mike C, Phil, Greg, Ian W, Eddie, Sheila, Sue H and Simon and as we came into Little Shelford we were joined by Susan and Yasmin. Now twelve strong we set out for our excursion into north Essex to Stansted for lunch via Reed for coffee.


As we cycled through Newton into Thriplow where the daffodil weekend will take place on the 18th and 19th of March we could see that their timing this year looks to be spot on. Already there are plenty of great displays and many more in bud so if the weather does its stuff they should be in for a successful weekend.

Flint Cross

Sadly though the snowdrops are dying back now but what a bumper year it has been for them as well. From Fowlmere to Flint Cross it was hard work with the side wind making it particularly difficult, but afterwards with the climb up to Barley the wind helped us as now we were heading more or less due south. We stopped in Barley for a breather before pressing on to Barkway only to be passed at speed by John R and Alex leaving their group to tag along with us. The last stretch into Reed gives the advantage of height to overlook Royston down below. When we arrived at the Silver Ball we were joined by Mike S, Jerry and David M.


CTC plaque on wall, plus a rather nice Honda

Leaving Reed

After coffee we had to go back to Barkway so that we could head south easterly to Anstey and Meesden. Now with the assistance of the wind, the countryside coming to life under the blue skies, riding was once again becoming a pleasure. We soon reached Clavering and joined the slightly busier road down to Manuden. As we approached Manuden there were constant signs warning of a road closure and we wondered if we would be affected. As it turned out we reached the turning for Stansted-Bentfield just before where the road works were to start, so that was a bit of luck. We entered Stansted and arrived at the Bean House at exactly 1 pm after twenty-nine miles.

The Bean House, which in the immediate post-war era saw life as a dairy but is now a beautiful airy restaurant. They had a wonderful selection of snacks in addition to more substantial meals and all at very reasonable prices. The staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming and also very efficient, so much so that by 2pm we were ready to start the afternoon session. We owe this find to Andy and Sarah and we all agreed that this was "the find of the century". A bit of an exaggeration maybe but a lovely place to visit and the staff made it clear that we would be welcomed back anytime. Memo to the Runs Committee.

Waiting for lunch at Stansted

We began the afternoon session through Elsenham and out onto the B1383 which took us through Newport. Now we were heading north the wind made it quite hard work. Rupert took a group which included the climb up Telegraph Hill whilst our group stayed on the B1383 as far as Chestnut Avenue where we turned so that we could get to Coploe Hill. As we went through Catmere End we could see Rupert's group behind us near the Littlebury Green turning and soon they were going past us on Coploe Hill - must have had a younger average age than our group. Our ride finished through Duxford and Whittlesford and Great Shelford at 4pm having travelled 55 miles. Thanks to all those involved in the decision making process. Days such as this don’t come along too often at this time of the year but when they do they are most welcome. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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