Thursday, 6 April 2017

6 Apr: Thursday ride to Cottenham and Ely

Edward writes: Two weeks ago we were in the Fens and today’s ride was another trip to the Fens. This time, however, there was a huge difference in the weather. Two weeks ago we all struggled against a cold east wind as we rode out to Isleham. Today, in contrast, we had lovely sunny weather, in fact a lot better than the forecast, and only a light breeze. In town, where once again John R did the honours, there were eleven riders and out in the country we started with thirteen. Starting a ride to Ely from Hauxton rather than Haslingfield proved a little tricky to plan a route. In the event, though, we left Hauxton by heading out to the A10 at Hauxton Gap where we were soon on to the new tracks developed for Trumpington Meadows and this turned out to be a very nice start to our ride.

Trumpington Meadows

Trumpington Meadows

This took us down to the entrance to Byron's Pool and on to Grantchester where the leak still hasn't been plugged and water still runs across the road. We came out on Barton Road where most of the early morning traffic had cleared and we were soon over into Grange Road. We reached Huntingdon Road via Madingley Road and Storeys Way and by this time we had been joined by Averil. After we had left Huntingdon Road at Girton corner the worst of the heavy traffic was behind us as we went through Girton and on to the road that leads to the busway.

Busway at Oakington

Busway at Oakington

By now the temperature had risen, the sun was shining brightly and we could see a good ride was in prospect especially with all the colour around us at this beautiful time of the year. Last week the oil seed rape was just starting, but this week there were lots of fields of bright yellow. There were some agricultural experts among us who wondered out loud if this was not a couple of weeks earlier than usual; an interesting point but nobody really knew the answer. Colour was abundant everywhere with trees in blossom and daffodils still showing strongly. After this discourse we found ourselves approaching Cottenham via Westwick. We arrived at the Community Centre at 10.45am, a few minutes before the City starters.


The Community Centre must be a very popular stop as we counted at least thirty-four and possibly one or two more as some had gone outside to sit in the sun. This is a paradox as many people claim that don't particularly like rides in to the Fens. The staff at the Centre did very well and it didn't take long to serve everybody such that we were able to get everyone organised ready to start the second leg by 11.20am. Maybe because it is school holiday time Twenty Pence Road to Wilburton didn’t seem its usual busy self which was good for us; obviously we travelled in two well separated groups, and made easy progress with a helpful breeze.


After Wilburton we crossed Grunty Fen to Wentworth where we had to cross the A142 and made our way to the little village on the hill of Coveney with its fine views to Ely Cathedral. Once again expert opinion was on hand to tell us about the design and construction of such a wonderful building.

Coveney (and Mike CC)

It was now only 12.15 pm so this allowed for a rearranging of the groups as some wanted to go directly into Ely whilst others went for a longer ride via Little Downham. Going via Little Downham gave us perfect timing as we arrived in Ely at 1pm. Although The Cutter is the nominated lunch stop our usual practice is to eat in Ely wherever we choose and meet for the return journey at the Cutter.

Bill P had very kindly extended an invitation to those with sandwiches to eat in his garden and so we all descended to Chez Perry and we had a very enjoyable three quarters of an hour relaxing in his garden and of course tea and coffee were provided. Thanks, Bill.

We all headed for the Cutter for 2 pm to find that, with the exception of Jill and Jim, who once again had joined us from Stevenage, everyone had left for home some twenty minutes earlier. So that left a group of twelve to head for home starting along Fen Rivers Way to Barway, past G's hostel to Padney.

Freight at Ely

As we approached Wicken we turned west on the A1123 for half a mile and then on to the road to Upware.


This left us with a trip across the Fens, including part of the Lodes Way and coming out in Lode. Rather than go straight to Quy we chose to go to Bottisham and join the cycle route beside the A1303.


Along the way people dropped off to head for their homes and the last few went via Airport way, Cherry Hinton, Addenbrooke's and Great Shelford. Those going back to Hauxton would have completed a round trip of 60 miles with the ride finishing at 4.15pm. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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