Wednesday, 7 June 2017

7 Jun: Evening ride to Lode

Nigel writes: I very nearly cancelled tonight's ride: the previous day had been very windy and although today had turned out to be rather quieter a band of heavy rain was forecast to arrive in the late evening. Fortunately the forecast suggested a spell of dry weather earlier, and when I arrived at Brookside for the 6.30pm start I found six other riders waiting to join me: Beverley, Neil, Camille, Simon, Carina and Alex. With Chris promising to join us along the way that made eight of us in total.

Our route this evening was one of our classic routes, and started with a ride over the Gogs to Fulbourn. To get to the start of the climb we normally head straight down Hills Road to Wort's Causeway, but tonight Alex reminded me that there roadworks near the Long Road junction, where some new cycleways were being constructed, and suggested we take a slightly longer alternative route via the Biomedical Campus. I readily agreed, forgetting that I had previously advised Chris that we would be coming down Hills Road, so he missed us and after an exchange of SMS messages chased after us, catching up just before Fulbourn.


We continued through the Wilbrahams to Six Mile Bottom and climbed Brinkley Hill as far as Cemetery Crossroads. It was a rather dull, overcast evening, but although there was a noticeable westerly breeze it was behind us for this part of the ride.

Cemetery Crossroads (Balsham Lane)

We turned onto Balsham Lane and continued to Dullingham before turning left again for the long road to Swaffham Bulbeck. I had expected this to be hard work with a strong cross-wind, but the hedges along this section (plus the fact that it is slightly downhill) provided enough shelter to make this a relatively easy journey.

The descent to Swaffham Bulbeck

After a short loop around the back of Swaffham Bulbeck we arrived at Lode just before 8.30pm. As usual this huge pub was almost empty, and the staff seemed very happy to see us and serve us dinner.

Dinner in The Shed

As we relaxed over our pints and burgers, Alex remarked on the way that our evening rides have changed over the past year or two. Originally they were quite short stops, where we were happy to have just a drink and a packet of crisps. Gradually a tradition of ordering bowls of chips emerged, and we stopped going to pubs where these were not on offer. And since last winter riders have increasingly started to order full meals, with the food stop forming a more important part of the whole evening. This change definitely suits me but I would welcome comments from others on how they view this development. Riders need to be aware that since we don't make an advance booking we can't guarantee that food will be available, though we've not gone hungry so far.

After a pleasant meal we returned back to Cambridge, taking the direct route along the main road to Quy and then back into Cambridge via Fen Ditton and the Jubilee Cycleway. We felt a few drops of rain, but it didn't amount to much and we remained dry. I arrived home just after 10pm (which is my target for these rides), having cycled 53km (33 miles). Nigel Deakin

Download GPS track (GPX).

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