Sunday, 28 May 2017

28 May: Sunday ride to Wimbish, Hatfield Broad Oak and Braughing

Alex writes: Today I was leading the first of this year's longer rides, with a projected distance of 150 km. I was joined at Brookside by Camille, Nigel, Ray, Rupert, Sheila, Susan and Tom for this adventure.

Turning onto Hills Road (photo Nigel)

We took the B road up to Balsham and zoomed down to Linton where Joseph joined us en route to coffee. With a long way to go, I was conscious of the need to keep a steady pace, but the group seemed rather frisky and started riding ahead, meaning by the time we got to coffee (early!) I had only Susan as a wheelmate. Still, most people did manage to get to the correct coffee stop.

Bikes at rest, Elder Street Café

After a successful break at the Elder St Café (our first use of the café for coffee), we set out for a pleasant ride South, skirting Stansted airport and sticking mostly to quiet lanes.

Approaching Brick End (photo: Camille)

You are in a maze of twisty lanes ... (photo: Nigel)

It was getting rather hot as we arrived at Cammas Hall, and we were glad to be able to sit inside a marquee out of the sun.

Lunch at Cammas Hall

As usual the food was excellent, as it was good to come here before the wasp season had got underway.

Savoury at Cammas Hall (photo: Camille)

Sweet at Cammas Hall (photo: Nigel)

After lunch I had planned a loop to the south, taking in lanes which even Rupert confessed he had not ridden before.

Leaving Cammas Hall (photo: Nigel)

The loop proved rather pleasant, with very light traffic and the wooded lanes affording dappled light and some cover from the Sun.

A road less traveled (photo: Camille)

A road less travelled (photo: Nigel)

Soon, we turned North and rode through Hatfield Heath heading towards tea. There, a cricket match was in progress.

Howzat? Hatfield Heath (photo: Nigell)

At Much Hadham I turned left on the road towards Standon. I had an ulterior motive for this: the road is part of the London-Edinburgh-London route and I wanted to check it out. Amazingly, I had never ridden it before but in the event it held few surprises and Standon is an attractive village to cycle through.

As we approached Braughing we saw a large peloton of Stevenage CTC riders leaving. We wondered how much cake would be left and without a word, the pace picked up.

As it turned out, we were just okay – though Rupert noted that with only two slices of lemon drizzle cake left we were cutting it fine, especially since the early arrival of the afternoon ride had depleted the cake supply further.

Afternoon riders (photo: Nigel)

The church hall was quite crowded, so we were directed to sit in the Old Boys' room, which felt rather special.

In the Old Boys' Room, Braughing

After tea we had a fairly long ride planned to get home, taking in the "classic" trio of Quicksie Hill, Telegraph Hill and Coploe Hill. The sky had clouded over and there were a few spits of rain in the air, but it never started raining properly and the cooler weather was welcome.

Escape from Braughing (photo: Nigel)

Camille crests Telegraph Hill (photo: Nigel)

I arrived home at 18:30, having cycled 150 km (93 miles) and climbed 1,100 m (3,600 ft).

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