Sunday, 30 April 2017

30 Apr: Sunday ride to Potton, Holme and Shepreth

Nigel writes: The dominant feature of today's ride was the wind, a fierce easterly that blew us easily to lunch, but offered a nagging obstacle for the ride home. Our leader today was David T, with seven others joining him for the first stage of the ride to Potton.


Lammas Land

Barton Road cycleway

We took a fairly direct route via Barringon, Wimpole and Gamlingay, and with a strong tailwind I couldn't resist the temptation to take advantage of it and flew along, arriving at The Coach House in Potton ahead of the others at about 10.40am. I went in, to be told that the pub was closed and wouldn't open until 11am. I went back outside and waited for the others, who arrived a few minutes later. We didn't fancy waiting around for the oub to open, so Rupert announced that we would go to the cafe at the Potton Cricket Club instead.

Coffee at Potton Cricket Club

This was my first visit to Potton Cricket Club, and it seems very nice: probably a better choice than the Coach House, which is just a pub.

Afterwards we regrouped and carried on to lunch at Jordan's Mill in Holme near Biggleswade. This took us to Everton and then down Tempsford Hill, over the A1 and then south through Moggerhanger and Blunham to Holme. As soon we we turned south we became aware of a strong cross-wind on our right, and we were warned that we would face a tough ride home.

Lunch itself was very pleasant, though the cold wind made it a bit chilly to sit outside.

Lunch at Jordan's Mill, Holme

Over lunch we discussed our options for the afternon. We decided to abandon the planned tea stop in Waresley because it was very close to Potton and would involve visiting the same area as in the morning. So instead we decided to continue south to Langford and then return home via Ashwell and Knessworth.

Heading home after lunch

Rather by accident we divited into two groups: I rode with Mike S (on pedelec), Joseph, Ray and Dimitris. As expected the headwind made us a bit weary, so by the time we reached Meldreth I suggested we give ourselves a reward with a tea stop at Wydale Garden centre north of Melbourn. This proposal was unanimously accepted, and we spent a pleasant half hour drinking coffee and enjoying some rather huge cakes.

Afterwards it was a short ride home via Fowlmere, Thriplow and the Shelfords. I arrived home a little before 5pm, having cycled 118km (73 miles).

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Nigel Deakin

Thursday, 27 April 2017

27 Apr: Thursday ride to Newport and Great Bardfield

John writes: With regular riders away in the Brecon Beacons, North Norfolk and Suffolk, and after an unseasonable hard frost, I arrived at Brookside unsure how many riders there would be to lead. I was pleased to find that Anne, Peter W, John J, Glynn, Simon, Jeff, Ian and Russell had all braved the cold.

We set off down the DNA path and on towards Whittlesford. After an impressive validation of several of Newton’s Laws of Motion by Glynn, we met up with Jacob, who had missed the Village starters only by a few minutes. We rode on through Duxford and up Coploe Hill, where we stopped to catch our breath and appreciate the view.

A pause for breath at the top of Coploe Hill

At the turn for Littlebury Green we parted company with Jacob, who proceeded direct towards Newport. We took the hillier route past the radio mast and down to Wendens Ambo, where we wound through the lanes and over the level crossing to arrive outside Dorringtons to find Edmund and his Village People already installed. There had only been 4 riders at the village start, and Edmund told us that they had made good time over Chapel Hill and across to Fowlmere, and on to Newport via Duddenhoe End and Arkesden. The service at Dorringtons was, as always, quick and efficient.

Outside Dorringtons in Newport

Edmund and I agreed to combine our rides, and 9 riders continued south along the B road before turning off onto the quieter North Hall Road which runs parallel to the M11 and the railway line. After passing the cycling club huts, and deftly avoiding the potholes under the railway bridge, we climbed towards Henham where we spotted what must have been another CTC group going the other way. We dropped down to the Broxted road, and then took a short detour via Tilty.

The eponymous sign for Tilty

Here Ian recalled that there used to be a regular Sunday afternoon tea stop at the church. From there we took the road to Great Easton, where we paused to admire the Rolls Royce Merlin engine in the window of the car showroom before turning off towards Lindsell. Several of the roads we took had been recently re-surfaced, but it was surprising to see that although there was a new surface over most of the road, they had not taken the opportunity to fill in the potholes at the side of the road.

Checking out the Rolls-Royce garage in Great Easton

After Lindsell, we joined the B road to Great Bardfield, and proceeded to Bran End. Here Edmund took charge of the on-road group, while 4 of us turned off onto a Byway with a rough but ride-able surface that emerges just a short distance from our lunch stop for the day – The Blue Egg.

The weather had been kind to us in the morning, but after lunch it started to rain, and the north-westerly wind strengthened, so we had a rather tiring slog through Finchingfield and past Spains Hall to Helions Bumpstead, the Camps and Bartlow and on to Linton and Hildersham. Here Edmund took one group via Pampisford, while Glynn, Russell, Anne and I continued through Abington and across the footbridge over the A11. This is awkward at the best of times, and the wind and drizzle made it seem even more awkward than usual. From there we took the new cycleway through Babraham Research Park and joined the cycleway over the Gogs. Although you are safely off the main road, the constant stream of traffic leaving Cambridge makes this feel quite pressured, especially after the quiet lanes we had used in the morning.

I finished the ride having covered 70 miles. In the evening, I went to an excellent Transport Discussion Evening about cycling infrastructure around Stapleford, Shelford and Sawston. One of the pictures shown by Nigel Brigham (the former Sustrans manager for the Eastern Region, who has produced a Greenways report about local cycling routes) was of the same foot bridge over the A11 that we had struggled over earlier, and it was interesting to hear it confirmed that this crossing is recognised as a bit of a bottleneck that needs improvement, and find out about other potential ways to cross the A11, including a possible new path under the A11 next to the River Granta. John Seton, with contributions from Edmund Rose

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

26 Apr: Evening ride to Thriplow

Nigel writes: Spring seems to have taken a break for a few days, and tonight's ride was one of the coldest in recent weeks, with a temperature (according to my Garmin) of 5C at the start and dropping to 2C as the sun went down. Perhaps because of the wintry weather I had only one taker for tonight's ride, Neil, who accompanied me on a gentle loop down to Ickleton, over Coploe Hill, along Royston Lane and back over the A505 to Thriplow.

As we made our way out of Cambridge we paused the inspect this Ofo rental bike, waiting for business in a rather lonely location on the cycle path leading from Long Road to the busway.

First sighting of an Ofo bike near Long Road

Coploe Hill

We reached the top of Coploe Hill at about 7.30pm. That would probably have allowed time for the "full loop" via Catmere End and Littlebury, but given how cold it was I decided we should take the slightly shorter Royston Lane route instead.

Royston Lane

We reached The Green Man in Thriplow at about 8.20pm. The pub was full of diners, and we only just managed to find a seat at the bar. However it soon emptied out and we were shown to a table to eat. This pub is verging on being too busy to be able to simply turn up and expect a free table and food, but it's a nice place to visit, with friendly and accommodating staff, and we have always been able to manage to fit in and get what we needed. We'll be back before long: hopefully it will be warm - and light - enough to be able to sit outside.

Afterwards we returned back to Cambridge via Newton and the Shelfords, and I arrived back home at about 9.45pm having cycled 50km (31 miles). Nigel Deakin

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Sunday, 23 April 2017

23 Apr: Sunday afternoon ride to Wicken

Simon writes: Hello and welcome to today's blog for the Sunday 23rd afternoon ride to Wicken. A trickle of 5 riders came to meet me at Brookside today. Johns E and F and Neil S, with Lalita and Mark who recently upgraded their horizons from the Saturday rides.

Phil's request to meet just outside the densely traffic populated parts of town is sufficiently regular and so pre-empted his call by sending him a text message to suggest meeting on the railway bridge just off the bus way south of Addenbrooke's.

Delicious slow release energy smoothie

Half an avocado
Half a cucumber
200ml almond milk
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
50 gm almond nuts (pre soaked)
25 gm cashew nuts (pre soaked)
2 hand fulls spinach
1 hand full kale

Blend it all together to make two servings of super healthy, easily digested go faster fuel for the longer distance cyclist, something our webmaster Nigel might like to benefit from on future Audax rides, as an improvement on burgers and chips.

Hence as Mike K rang me earlier today to ask the same question it seemed logical to offer him the same suggestion. No wonder then that the pair of them were waiting for us as we reached the bridge, super charging our collective to a harmony of eight.

Mike and John F know I prepare for a cycle ride by eating a delicious slow release energy smoothie. It’s a bit like Popeye's spinach and Brazilian Monica’s tea, but you'd need to be a fan of reading Turma da Monica to appreciate the comically battering effect it has on the boys in her stories (and does actually have spinach in it). So, by popular petition here is the recipe for said smoothie.

Our designated leader David S had to pull out not long before today’s ride so I volunteered to step in and follow his route. This was a familiar course starting with the bus way from the train station and leaving Addenbrookes via the locked gate on Red Cross Lane. I missed the path that takes cyclists along the grounds of the Forvie Site with the shiney copper coloured sculpture so for my oversight I had to lift everyone’s bike over the gate. Lalita must be the fittest of us as her bike was the heaviest.

The Gogs hill to Fulbourn was our only hill for today. From there we naturally took in the Wilbrahams, over the A14 and into Bottisham.

Once through the Swaffams, Reach and Burwell the landscape charms us with the uncomplicated and traffic free Fenland lanes. Who should we meet at Wicken village hall but a trio of Ian, Julia and Flo enjoying the warm sun in the grassy area out the back of the hall.

Actually Flo was running off his own go faster fuel so it should have been little surprise to see him fast asleep in the child seat on Ian’s bike as we passed them on the way back through White Fen. Simon Gallaway

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23 Apr: Sunday ride to Ickleton and Buntingford

Nigel writes: I had done rather a lot of cycling over Easter so was happy that today's ride was relatively short: what we call a "short day ride", which means that it had stops for coffee and lunch and then returned back directly to Cambridge without stopping for tea. My companions at Brookside for the first part of the ride were Alex, Rupert, Ray, Tom, Susan and John S our leader.


It's really not very far from Cambridge to our coffee stop in Ickleton, and with a full two hours to get there John took an appropriately circuitous route to get there.

On the Barton Road cycleway

We set off along the Barton Road cycleway to Barton, turned off to Haslingfield and climbed over Chapel Hill to Barrington.

Chapel Hill

It was a rather dull morning, and although it felt relatively mild whilst we were stationary, the moment we started moving we felt the chill of the cold air.

From Barrington we continued through Shepreth to Fowlmere, crossed the A505 to Chrishill Grange and then undertook the long but gentle climb to Chrishall.

On Hertford Lane approaching Elmdon

That was just about the last of the climbing for now: after Elmdon we enjoyed a long and fast descent back down to Ickleton, and arrived for coffee at Riverside Barns about fifteen minutes early at 10.45am.

After coffee at Riverside Barns, Ickleton

After coffee we re-grouped: Rupert and Susan returned to Cambridge and we were joined by Sue, Ian B and Mike S (on electric bike) for the next stage of the ride, to Buntingford for lunch.

As we climbed Coploe Hill, the sun came out and the armwarmers came off.

Coploe Hill


After a very pleasant meander through Langley, Meesden and all three Pelhams we arrived in Buntingford at about 1.30pm. Our lunch venue was Buntingford Coffee Shop, where we found David W waiting for us.

After lunch at Buntingford Coffee Shop

After lunch we returned directly back to Cambridge along the B1368. I arrived home at about 4.20pm, having cycled 105km (65 miles) Nigel Deakin

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

19 Apr: Evening ride to Hardwick

Nigel writes: It may be late April but it's still getting quite cold in the evenings, so I donned my winter windproof jacket before setting off to Brookside where I was joined by Alex and Sven. This spring we're trying our some new pub stops, and tonight was our first visit to The Blue Lion in Hardwick. To get there we started with a run up to Girton and then along the busway to Swavesey.

Sven and Alex were both up for a fast ride and I was happy to follow behind them for much of the way. After leaving the busway we continued to fenstanton before crossing the A14 and cutting back south along empty roads to Knapwell before a short final leg along the old St Neots Road to Hardwick.

We arrived at The Blue Lion just after 8pm, a few minutes after sunset. When we went in we found that the pub was very quiet. Instead of ordering drinks and food at the bar we were invited to sit down and receive table service. The staff were friendly and the food and drink, when they arrived, were entirely satisfactory. The food took quite a long time to arrive: it was probably just as well that we had arrived so early.

Relaxing after dinner

Afterwards we set off back to Cambridge, following the direct and very fast route down Madingley Hill. I arrived home at 10pm exactly, having cycled 54km (33 miles).Nigel Deakin

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Sunday, 16 April 2017

16 Apr: Sunday afternoon ride to Newmarket

Neil writes: Gina, David, John and Simon joined me at Brookside for the Easter Sunday afternoon ride. I led the group out of Cambridge via Hills Road and Worts Causeway, and on through Fulbourn, the Wilbrahams, and Six Mile Bottom. On Easter Sunday, of course, most of the shops are closed, and the roads are noticeably quieter than usual. My planned route continued to Newmarket from the south, from Dullingham, Stetchworth and Woodditton, and into a long downhill straight on Duchess Drive.


Our tea stop was the 'Tacks Room'. This is the cafe of the National Horseracing Museum, now relocated to a new site on Palace Street, not far from Coffee and Co. I believe this was the first visit to the new venue by the Sunday ride, though I'm told the Thursday ride had been there already. Anyway, the Tacks Room offers table service and a good selection of cakes and scones at usual tea shop prices.


The forecast heavy rain arrived while we were in the tea room, but had mostly cleared by the time we left. We returned to Cambridge on National Cycle Network route 51 (Exning, Burwell, the Swaffhams and Bottisham). I rode 69km (43 miles) from home to home (ascent 264m). Neil Spenley

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Saturday, 15 April 2017

15 Apr: Saturday social ride to Sawston

Ian writes: Somebody casually mentioned after the previous social ride that our next ride would fall on Easter Saturday. I hadn't considered that but I thought "no problem" as I hadn't planned to be away. However things didn't go precisely to plan. Easter Saturday turned out to be a fine day and it was even more encouraging when I found twelve members and one guest rider waiting at Brookside, which together with my own group made a total of sixteen.

We took the scenic route out of Cambridge, passing through Newnham to Grantchester Meadows then by way of Trumpington Meadows to Hauxton. We were then back on the minor roads, passing through Little Shelford on our tailwind-assisted way to Whittlesford to pick up Sustrans Route 11 by the church to head back towards Sawston where coffee was planned to be at The Brickhouse.

I had visited The Brickhouse a couple of days before returning from the Thursday Ride. However that was late afternoon and I wasn't surprised to find the cafe closed as it was gone 3.30pm by a long way. I did, however, notice the counter well covered and chairs and tables stacked. However the standard opening times were still displayed in the window so I reckoned it would be fine for our visit today. However this was not to be, since when we arrived on Saturday The Brickhouse was closed.

Sawston, I thought, has numerous alternative cafe options to offer, but all were found to be likewise closed except got Dorringtons. So there we all queued for our coffees and cakes whilst the trainees behind the counter seemed programmed to trying to sell us packets of hot cross buns which were evidently on offer!

In due course we all got served and we headed back over the road to sit in The Brickhouse outside seating area, which was adequate but slightly draughty, perhaps with the sunshine only just compensating.

By this time Ed, Adrian and Averil had joined us so we were quite a throng. Once we had managed to distract Flo from his forestry operations involving some bark chipping mulch and bulldozers and dumper trucks we all initially headed in the direction of Cambridge but soon diverged at the crossroads, Phil and Sue retracing to Whittlesford, some heading straight ahead and the majority turning right to divert via the recently opened Babraham Institute cyclepath. This was all very pleasant until we joined the cyclepath along side the A1307. What with heading into the wind, and the traffic noise, conversation was somewhat restricted so it was just a case of concentrating on climbing up to Wandlebury and coasting into Cambridge where Tom H, Beverley, Mark and Lalita peeled off, soon followed by Rachel leaving Dennis, Liz, AngelaW, Simon, John and the three of us heading for the Busway into town.

All in all a good way to spend a Saturday morning, away from the hustle and bustle. We completed a leisurely 20 miles. Ian Wright

Thursday, 13 April 2017

13 Apr: Thursday ride to Ashwell and Ardeley

Edward writes: In the city Mike P looked after a group of nine and out at Hauxton Edmund had to deal with a group of twenty-one for our ride to Ashwell for coffee and Ardley for lunch. The weather had stepped back a pace from the glorious sunny days we enjoyed for the last couple of weeks. The temperature, after a cold night, didn't really get above 13C all day and we had a cool, brisk west-north-westerly wind. Edmund organised us into two groups and we started with a climb over Chapel Hill which brought us into Barrington. The morning was always going to be a bit of a toil, being mainly into the wind, as we passed through Orwell on our way to Wimpole Hall.


We quickly cycled through Arrington and Croydon, down the hill onto the A603 into the road between Wendy and Steeple Morden. Once at Steeple Morden it was just two more miles to Ashwell for the first stop of the day.

It was as well that we arrived in two groups because we caused the women in Day's to work really hard to complete the orders for coffee and cakes; and they did it, and all with a cheerful smile. As usual we sat on the little green in the heart of the village and there must have been in the region of thirty-five members milling round.

Coffee at Ashwell

On leaving Ashwell we remained in three groups. Edmund's led his group by to Baldock via Bygrave, whereas we in the following group made a last minute decision to reach Baldock via Newnham on the basis that this was one less hill to climb. The downside, though, meant a mile or so on the A507 and a few busy roads in Baldock. We soon reached the turning for Wallington and back on to quiet roads again; also very hilly! In Wallington we paused to look a house once occupied by George Orwell before pressing on to Redhill. This had the effect of bringing us onto the road we most often use on our way to Ardley, meaning we next cycled through Rushden and then Cromer.

Rushden to Cromer

The Mill at Cromer, which is still under renovation, is only a short distance to Ardley where we arrived after thirty miles at 1pm. As usual Adrian checked in having followed his own route and Greg is convinced that Adrian has a twin brother as he frequently disappears and pops up again later.

Cromer Windmill

In the past we have sat on the little green outside the farm entrance to eat our sandwiches, but today we found a nice green area about a couple of hundred yards away and this proved very satisfactory, even more so on a nice summer's day.

Lunch at Ardley

The three groups left separately and we, being a group of nine, followed Ed's recommended route. Aided by a following wind and with Rupert out in front setting a furious pace we soon covered the four miles to Great Munden. On our way home on several occasions we were lucky enough to see buzzards circling above us; and as we passed some of the fields we could hear the skylarks. Facing northwards we went through Nasty, Westmill, Buntingford and Wyddial before arriving at the B1368. We paused briefly here where Greg fell off the second time today. No harm done but he should be aware that we don't keep records for the number of times people fall off their bikes. More lovely lanes followed on the road through Anstey to Nuthampstead where we stopped to look at the memorial for the U.S. Airforce Bomber Group who used to be stationed at Nuthampstead.

Anstey to Nuthampstead

American Memorial at Nuthampstead

The last leg of our day out took us through Shaftenhoe End, the climb up to Great Chishill before the two mile descent to Flint Cross. This wasn't as pedal free us usual as the wind today was against us. This left us with Fowlmere, Thriplow, Newton and Great Shelford to finish the ride after 64 miles at 4.20 pm. Thanks to our two leaders, particularly Edmund who volunteered as a late replacement. Edward Elmer

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

12 Apr: Evening ride to Lode

Nigel writes: There were just two of us tonight. Dimitris and I enjoyed a loop over the Gogs, down to Six Mile Bottom and then up to Cemetery Crossroads. A run along the ridge to Dullingham was followed by a fine descent down to Swaffham Bulbeck. After a short diversion to visit Commercial End we reached The Shed in Lode at about 8.15pm.

Ditton Meadows

After a pleasant meal we returned to Cambridge. I arrived home at 10pm after having cycled 50km (31 miles). Nigel Deakin

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

11 Apr: Senior cyclists ride around Santon Downham

John S writes: This week Adrian organised and led a Tuesday car-assisted ride starting from Santon Downham – a village between Brandon and Thetford. This used to be part of the Downham Hall Estate, but the Hall was demolished in the early 20th Century, and the village found a new life, and grew as the Forestry Commission developed a new community with housing for its employees, hidden away in the middle of Thetford Forest.

These car-assisted rides make a nice change from our regular rides, as they give a chance to explore different areas. I knew from Thursday and Sunday rides that Adrian is always keen to explore short-cut off-road sections that usually mean he re-appears ahead of the main group, but I had not yet been on one of his rides that planned go off-road for quite a distance.

Seven of us (Regular Tuesday riders Adrian, Clive, David and Vic, joined for this special ride by Steve G , Mike Bonner, plus me) met in the (free) car park in the middle of the village, and we set off north east across the railway and along a Forestry Commission road.

Clive, Vic and Steve riding along Harling Drove Road

After a short distance we turned east onto Harling Drove Road and began exploring some of the off-road trails through the forest. These were variously sandy, gravel-y or just a series of parallel ruts in grass, and presented quite a technical challenge for those of us used to riding on roads with narrow tyres.

A pause on the Forestry Commission trail (Photo: Adrian Lee)

It was quite depressing to see that these beautiful secluded trails had been used for fly-tipping, with piles of rubble, old fridges and washing machines dumped beside and across the path at several points.

On Hereward Way near East Wrentham Heath

We all made slow but steady progress, with a few gentle skids and slides along the way, and after a short spell back on tarmac, we joined the off-road Hereward Way before passing under the railway line and crossing the A11. Here we turned off the trail, and in a clearing found what looked like a shipping container that had been re-purposed as a snack bar.

The Pit Stop Snack Bar at Roudham Heath Picnic Area

I went for the misleadingly-named breakfast baguette. This turned out to be a full English breakfast – sausage, 3 rashers of bacon, 2 fried eggs and fried mushrooms – somehow shoehorned into most of a large baguette.

Others wait as John struggles with breakfast baguette (Photo: Adrian Lee)

Although very good value, this proved to be more than even I could cope with, and I am ashamed to admit that while I ate most of the contents, but found myself unable to deal with all the bread! Others had been here before, and so knew to select more moderate choices from the menu.

Five riders on the Peddars Way

At this point we had just left the Hereward Trail, and instead joined the Peddars Way and headed south for a short distance. As we crossed the next road, we found that the path was temporarily closed, and so Adrian improvised a road detour past Shadwell Park.

No pedalers' way for Clive and Vic at Peddars Way

We then joined the road through West Harling Heath. Before North Lopham, Adrian decided to turn North West towards East Harling, and on to lunch at the Angel Inn in Larling, which we have visited several times before.

After a nice lunch in this friendly pub, and stories of past CTC Cambridge off-road cycling adventures and late-night encounters with farmers, we proceeded over the bridge across the A11 from where we could just about see the motor racing circuit at Snetterton. We passed through Snetterton village and on to Shropham, were our planned route was blocked by another road closure. Adrian again improvised a detour on the fly, and we headed north to Mount Pleasant, and then zig-zagged towards Stow Bedon, where we crossed the A1075, and joined the Pingo Trail, which runs along the path of the former branch-line to Watton.

Adrian and Steve clearing the blocked Pingo Trail

Like me, you are probably wondering what on earth a Pingo is. I looked it up here: "Pingos were originally low hillocks that formed 20,000 years ago during the last ice age when water beneath the surface froze to form lenses of ice pushing soil upwards. During the summer thaw, the soil on the surface would sludge off and accumulate around the periphery of the hillocks. Shallow craters were left when the ice finally melted, causing the hillocks to collapse". The English word pingo is apparently derived from an Inuvialuit (Western Canadian Inuit) word for ice.

Even Adrian had to dismount to avoid the "sludging off" on the Pingo Trail

This stretch was probably the most entertaining part of the day, as the track had certainly been doing some recent "sludging off", and was made even more exciting as several trees had blown over across the path in the recent storms. These gave opportunities for a bit of amateur Ray Mears-style bushcraft, and much lifting of bikes. This trail was very much singletrack, with several boggy sections where we had to wheel our bikes.

We left the trail at Hockham Heath, and proceeded on-road through Stonebridge and East Wrentham to rejoin the morning’s route through Thetford Forest where we had earlier joined Hereward Way.

Mike, Clive and Vic back on-road again near East Wrentham

We finished our adventure around 6pm, having cycled about 40 miles in total, enjoying perfect weather conditions along the way.

A big thank you to Adrian for devising such a fantastic route for us, and for dealing with the various unplanned diversions. It made a nice change to avoid traffic for hours at a time, and to experience a wide range of different off-road conditions. I am now very much looking forward to Adrian’s next car-assisted ride in Derbyshire in early May (see here for details). John Seton

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Sunday, 9 April 2017

9 Apr: Sunday afternoon ride to Potton

Ray writes: Today was the warmest of the year so far and the spring sunshine had brought out most of our regular riders and a few new faces for this afternoon's ride to Potton. Ten of us set off from Brookside, quickly leaving behind the city centre pedestrians and traffic as we made our way down Barton Road. Today's route would take us over Chapel Hill, through the grounds of Wimpole Hall, up the hill to the Hatleys, and on through Gamlingay to a welcome cup of tea at The Coach House in Potton.

There were a few comings and goings on the ride out. We were joined at Barrington by Mike S and Phil N, taking our number to twelve. David F left us shortly afterwards, as we came through Orwell, and John F made his own way home from Gamlingay via Waresley, so we were ten again. John E left us after tea for a more direct route home (he had to get all the way back to St Ives).

I wanted to make the most of the nice weather, so had planned quite a long route home. We headed south from Potton then turned left for Sutton and Eyeworth. Our plans to ride this road earlier in the year were scuppered by roadworks, so this was my first time here. It turned out to be a quiet, pleasant lane. When we got to the ford at Sutton, most of us crossed on the footbridge while Simon braved the water - without incident, I am happy to report.

From Eyeworth we made our way towards Ashwell. We had been fighting a headwind most of the way out, and it was a very noticeable sidewind on this exposed stretch of road. We didn't get the tailwind I had been looking forward to until we reached the edge of Ashwell, where we turned towards Steeple Morden. From here it was a familiar route home, the "Bassingyawn" route as Mike K calls it, through Littlington, Bassingbourn, Meldreth, Melbourn and Fowlmere, then Shelford and the DNA path to Cambridge.

We stopped briefly while Simon scavenged a spirit level someone had fly-tipped at the side of the road. He cycled all the way home with this zip-tied to his crossbar, but texted me later to tell me it didn't work; his bubble was burst.

I hadn't been paying attention to the time, but it had gone 6pm as we came through Newton and it was 6.45pm when we got to the railway station, a round trip of 55 miles from Brookside.