Simon writes: "What a rip roarlingly perfect, galactic wow factor ride we had this afternoon!" For a start this is the first time in two and a half ice ages since I've seen a ride without a headwind in double figures. It was comfortably warm but cool enough to enjoy Rupert's recent promotion of a winter's end crop of windproof jackets with unzipable arms.
Phil N rang me earlier this morning to ask if he could meet us where I planned to cross the A505 and the Ickleton road cycle crossing was nominated.
Having met David S, John E, Greg T and guest rider Sophie D at Brookside it took us just 39 minutes of easy riding that was more akin to floating on a cloud of evaporated 50 year old single malt Laphroaig.
This was Sophie's second ride with the club, the first being that slightly ill-fated windy damp Sunday a few months ago on the all day ride when we very nearly did more mileage in the afternoon than they deemed sensible with caution in mind.
From Ickleton we took Quickset Hill to Elmdon, crossed over Royston Lane to Duddenhoe End and down to Langley Upper green. Now at this point many might expect to be led turning right towards Langley Lower Green, but with the extra half hour that our Sunday afternoons runs organiser Ray had given us to play with we swung a left to explore hitherto unknown territory. It's a three and a half mile loop round somewhere called Butts Green, Roast Green and Further Ford End. Actually if one were taking tea at Clavering lakes it might be visible just half a mile to the west. We were half way round and deep within its off-beat recesses. I needed to check my hand drawn map on the back of the rider registration form to make sure we were following the loop. The other riders hovered waiting and hoping for the telltale happy leader signs. Yup! That’s it, don’t turn left into Sheepcote, that's a dead end.
Further Ford End did have mud and water running downhill on the tarmac but the signs warning against large vehicles and the moss growing down the middle gave us a sense that we really weren't likely to meet anything menacing coming the other way. A mile ahead brought us to Brent Pelham and from there is was three miles straight to tea at the Old Swan.
Like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn, who appears at the end of another exciting and thought provoking adventure, Adrian L was there to greet us (If anyone under 50 asks who Mr Benn was, I’m showing my age), and most unusually the three remaining all-day riders caught up with us only 30 minutes later.
The visit to the tea shop toilet was intrepid, after the daughter of the tea room owners warned me that it was home to a VERY big spider. My nieces and nephew are older now but I can still do the "petrifyingly-scared expression" for their amusement.
Leading the day ride, Alex announced his intention to take his group back home along the "efficient" B1368 but we voted to explore yet more lovely quite lanes though Hormead, Anstey, Nuthampstead, Shaftenhoe, Chishill and Heydon. I arrived home (the boat) having pedalled a distance that a beam of light would only take 0.3 milliseconds (now there's efficient), otherwise known as 62 English Earth miles." Simon Gallaway
Download GPS track (GPX).