Thursday, 18 May 2017

18 May: Thursday ride to Newmarket and West Stow

Edward writes: When we met in Hauxton the weather was set fair for us. After yesterday's very welcome deluge, today we enjoyed very calm conditions and there being almost no wind made for almost ideal riding conditions. Back in the city Rupert was in charge of a group of nine whilst back in Hauxton Susan assumed command of thirteen for our ride out to Newmarket for coffee and then on to West Stowe for our lunch break. Before we left we had a chance to welcome Sarah who was making her debut on a Thursday having previously been out on a Sunday afternoon ride.

Hauxton

Susan promised us that the ride to Newmarket would be 26 miles and a further 14 miles to West Stowe. Soon after leaving Hauxton we ran into the familiar Great Shelford problem of a lengthy wait at the level crossing.

Waiting for a train in Shelford

After the crossing it was the DNA path and a short diversion through the Ninewells housing development before beginning the climb from Worts Causeway over the Gogs into Fulbourn. This was soon followed by the Wilbrahams, Bottisham and both the Swaffhams. This was a familiar route to most of us as we made for Reach, Burwell and Exning and entering Newmarket by way of Hamilton Road which hosts many of the horse racing facilities. We arrived at the Horse Racing Museum at about 11.50 am to find that the city group had fled and flown.

Newmarket

Newmarket

We had coffee booked in the Tack Room but it seems that the Tack Room and the little kiosk outside are part of the same organisation so it doesn’t matter where you buy your coffee. As we were a bit late in arriving Susan cracked the whip and we were on the road again at 12.40 and this took us on the road to Moulton which starts with a long climb out of Newmarket going past the Gallops.

Moulton to Gazeley

Moulton to Gazeley

Once at the top we were able to appreciate the fabulous countryside and as we passed the hedgerows the scent of the mayflower was very strong. Not only that some of the wild flowers are starting to show in the grass verges, at least those that the local council hasn't put a mower through.


We climbed past the pack horse bridge to Gazeley where we turned and went through Needham Street and under the A14 near Kentford. We now entered tree-lined roads which gave us welcome protection from the sun and more pleasant country lanes brought us to Lackford and two or three more miles we arrived at West Stowe for our lunch break where we finally caught up with those city slickers already enjoying their lunch.

West Stow

Most of the Hauxton group had sandwiches and sat outside on the benches. Soon after 2 pm both groups set off within a few minutes of each other with Susan’s group heading east before turning south going via Flempton and Risby where we crossed the A14. Although the breeze was against us it was so slight it was barely noticeable which was very different to recent rides when the wind has seemed to have blown continuously, and cold with it.


We continued to make good progress through Little Saxham, Barrow, Dalham, Ashley all the way down to Dullingham.

Ashley

After we climbed out of Dullingham on the way to West Wratting we were treated to the sight of a Barn Owl just ahead of us - what a treat. In fact this was about the time the weather started to change as some dark clouds started to appear in from of us and it became a question of would we make it home before it rained. As we left Balsham on the way down to Hildersham the first spots of rain started to fall although it was so light it hardly mattered. We finished our ride through Abington, Babraham, Sawston and Stapleford and by this time the rain was a bit heavier. The ride finished in Hauxton at 5.20 pm and those doing the full circuit would have cycled a very pleasant 78 miles. Our thanks to Rupert and from those who started from Hauxton a special thanks to Susan as she had worked hard in devising today's ride and was always mindful of everybody’s position in the group. Edward Elmer



Download GPS track (GPX).

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