Sunday, 21 May 2017

21 May: Sunday ride to Hare Street and Thaxted

Nigel writes: There was a feel of early summer today, with warm sunshine for the whole of the day. Warm enough for me to set off to Brookside with exposed arms and knees for the first time this year. And about time too, given that we're in the second half of May. When I arrived at Brookside I found Alex, Eva, Tom, Cheryl, Joseph, John P on his first ride with us, Andy and Sarah.

Brookside

Our leader today was Sarah, with Andy acting as co-leader. The first stage of today's ride would take us to one of our most distant coffee stops in the village of Hare Street. To get there they led us west out of Cambridge along the Barton Road cycleway to Barton, where we turned left to Haslingfield.

Being overtaken on Chapel Hill, Haslingfield

We climbed Chapel Hill before dropping back down to Barrington. On the hill we were overtaken by a group of faster cyclists, the first of many others cycling groups that we met during the morning.

Approaching Shepreth

Fowlmere

We continued to Shepreth, crossed the A10 to Fowlmere and continued south to Chrishill Grange. Here our first climb of the day begun, the long but very gentle climb to Chrishall. Once at the top we maintained our elevation through Heydon, climbing very slightly to reach Great Chishill, the highest village in Cambridgeshire.

Great Chishill

There were so many other cyclists around in Great Chishill that it was clear that there was some kind of event going on. This was the Paul Simon Homes Road Race, which was based at the Village Hall.

We ignored the marshalls and continued straight across at the crossroads to drop down onto the glorious roller-coaster that took us down to Shafenhoe End. There we turned left for Nuthampstead.

Between Shaftenhoe End and Nuthampstead

Between Shaftenhoe End and Nuthampstead

Between Shaftenhoe End and Nuthampstead

We continued through Nuthampstead to Anstey and on via Great Hormead to Hare Street. Along the way we encountered riders on another cycling event. This was clearly a different event: unlike the riders earlier these ones didn't display race numbers on their bikes, and they seemed a bit slower. I stopped to ask a marshall. This was a charity bike ride for Isabel Hospice, with a choice of 50km or 100km rides (ha!)

We stopped for coffee at the March Hare cafe. It was very busy, with several large groups of cyclists already there. Although there was plenty of space to sit, and the staff seemed to be working as quickly as they could, they were clearly a bit overwhelmed and some of us had to wait quite a long time for our refreshments.

Coffee at the Match Hare Cafe, Hare Street

Afterwards we set off again, this time heading east towards our lunch stop in Thaxted.

Between Furneaux Pelham and Manuden

We reached Thaxted at about 1.30pm, which I thought perfectly reasonable on a two-stop ride. We stopped for lunch at Parrishes Restaurant. It was very quiet when we went in. They seemed pleased to see us, and directed us to the large table that Sarah had reserved for us earlier. Adrian was already installed and eating his lunch.

Lunch at Parrishes Restaurant, Thaxted

Thaxted

After lunch we set off back north to Cambridge. We followed the B184 to Saffron Walden, where the ride appeared to disperse. Andy and Sarah had invited us all to tea at their house in Great Chesterford, but when I reached it I found that only John and I had taken up the offer. After a very pleasant cup of tea and slice of cake John and I continued back to Cambridge via Ickleton, Hinxton and Whittlesford.

Thaxted

I arrived back in Cambridge just after 5pm, having cycled 118 km (73 miles).
Nigel Deakin



Download GPS track (GPX).

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