Thursday, 29 June 2017

Maurice Teulon

Many will remember club member Maurice Teulon, who passed away in November 2015 at the age of 90. He rode with the club for many years, and those who knew him will have fond memories of his cheerful and friendly manner. We would like to let members know that we have now received a £200 legacy from Maurice's estate. Nigel

29 Jun: Thursday ride to Newmarket and Barrow

Edward writes: Greg may not have mentioned but, as last week, he came off the bench as an 89th minute substitute for the original leader who was nursing an injury. Greg not only brought us to Newmarket but made another contribution with one of his quotes saying that this ride was becoming Darwinian. He can probably explain this himself.

Hauxton Photo: Edward Elmer

Little Shelford Photo: Edward Elmer

The DNA Path at Addenbrooke's Photo: Edward Elmer

Passing the Beechwoods Photo: Edward Elmer

Six Mile Bottom Photo: Edward Elmer

Approaching Dullingham Photo: Edward Elmer

Greg continues: A bright, sunny and summery day dawned on Thursday – but somewhere other than in where we were! Despite the dull, dreary day some of the Village People had gathered ready for a fun filled Thursday adventure, starting from Hauxton.

After a pleasant ten minutes chatting with Greta there was heard a cry of ‘Let’s be going,’ from one or two of the assembled troops. Greg was acting as stand-in leader and consulted his watch as he considered this early rebellion from the ranks. He regained command (briefly) by declaring that it was only 9.29 and we should leave on time! He tarried a minute – sufficient time to allow Gerry to sweep up in magisterial splendour (well, he appeared from around the corner!) at exactly 9.30. Stylishly done and the team was now complete.

The Dirty Dozen Depart Photo: Greg Tucker

To the cry of ‘Wagons Roll’ the Dirty Dozen departed. 2 x Eds, 2 x Mikes, 1 x Averil (there’s only 1 Averil – I feel a chant coming on…) plus an Andy, Richard, Peter, Gerry, Ian, Sarah and myself made for a single peloton of 12.
We powered on through Little and Great Shelford – well more of a chatting gaggle really – making astute observations about the state of the roadsurface, the likely effects of Virgin Media work digging up the road, how cold it was compared to the forecast etc. etc. In short, the usual CTC moans – so clearly all was well with the world then!

Vigorous Cycling Photo: Greg Tucker

Domestic Bliss Photo: Greg Tucker

We went through Gt Shelford and picked up the DNA path which we followed towards Addenbrookes before taking the right fork through the new Ninewells estate. Much tutting over the price of these new houses and the lack of personal outside space. I consider a CTC ride is at its finest when complaining about weather, roadsurfaces and housing developments. I think we really are World Class at such matters. If Channel 4 wish to make a Gogglebox special programme around this then I am sure we could be hired at favourable rates….

After a slight left/right jig we emerged onto Worts Causeway. Richard shouted something about the questionable legality of traffic manoeuvres – but he frequently does this to all and sundry so he was ignored – a response he seems equally at home with…

We hit the first real incline of the day as we went over the Gogs. Mike CC calling out the increasing percentage of the gradient made for a well known and much loved rhythm to the pedal strokes – though Andy & Sarah decided they wished to enjoy the sound of silence and they roared on ahead. The group reassembled at the top of the hill. Here we were all now slightly warmed at long last and we enjoyed the rapid descent into Fulbourn.

As we went through Fulbourn Mike CC announced the church had more than he did! Somewhat bemused at this line some further investigation was required. It transpired that he was referring to the name of the church – St Vigor’s. A quick check amongst those close to Mike at the time established two salient facts:
  1. We agreed that the church looked suitably vigorous and somewhat more so than MikeCC at that moment
  2. no one had a clue what St Vigor could have done to earn his place in paradise – but it sounded fun.
Subsequent Google analysis has established that Fulbourn’s church is one of only 2 in the UK to be dedicated to this Saint and he was responsible for leading the devil into the woods at some time in the past and so saving a French village. That Mike CC should be so enamoured of a saint who actively supported the French at some stage was the revelation of the day – Mr Farage should be told!

From Fulbourn we went on to the two Wilbrahams. This is a relatively rural piece of road with some pleasant sweeping turns. However, today it was to be the scene of an epic Road Racing piece of action. With the Tour de France starting next week clearly the juices were up!

Our esteemed leader – no not me but the Club Chairman – was riding at the front chatting when from nowhere (well obviously from somewhere but we didn’t know them) a group of 6 cyclists swept past. This would have been OK if said cyclists were in their twenties etc. but these riders looked – well, old enough to be in the CTC! The honour of the club was at stake and Andy, Greg, Sarah and Ed decided that ‘This would not do!’

We gave chase and the 200 yard gap that the imposters had opened up as we left Fulbourn was reduced to zero by the time we left Great Wilbraham. The other group had obviously been chastened by their clear and public humiliation by Cambridge CTC and they slunk off, defeated (well actually they carried straight on and we turned right to start the haul towards 6 Mile Bottom). Our victory complete we then waited for the rest of the group to catch up – the group had become spread out and we were in danger of losing some of the back markers. Greg declared that this was because he was leading a ‘Darwinian Ride.’ Much head scratching and puzzlement but the others reappeared and no more was said – for now.

This pause gave Andy a chance to check the phone message he had received….only to discover that the ferry he had booked for the crossing to the Scilly Isles the next day had been cancelled due to inclement weather.

‘Never mind’, said Sarah, ‘At least we had that Ferry cancellation insurance they offered so prominently in the booking.’

The look on Andy’s face was somewhat difficult to discern for us mere mortals but his spouse knew all too swiftly what was being revealed….Andy had clearly decided that his extensive professional experience in the field of transportation and logistics meant that he could absolutely, definitely and categorically be 100% certain that ferries being cancelled in June was so unlikely as to be a ridiculous prospect and insurance would be a waste of money….

The group departed towards 6 Mile Bottom leaving Andy frantically making calls and trying to rescue the situation!

Go West! Photo: Greg Tucker

The Dirty Dozen paused to regroup at the Cemetery Crossroads (it sounds like a scene in a Western!) A somewhat breathless Andy now reappeared having caught us up. Flights were now booked in place of the cancelled ferry and domestic bliss had been restored….we were now ready to turn left and head towards Newmarket.

On the fast descent many of us were somewhat surprised to see Peter streaking (metaphorically not literally!) past. He was duly hauled in on the next incline by the rest of the peloton. All became clear as Peter had become something of a ‘New Yoof’ and was adopting a more modern and contemporary approach to the task of cycling. He proudly declared that he was pursuing a policy of ‘Momentum Cycling’. This was clearly Peter’s response to the surprising election result and he had decided to become one of Jeremy Corbyn’s acolytes. Peter’s new role in senior echelons of the Momentum organisation and its advance of socialist principles would be something we would follow in the coming months with interest. When he went on to describe what Momentum Cycling meant (ie. To wizz on the free downhills to reduce the uphill pain) then it became clear that I had somewhat misread his message. Ah well, Momentum Cycling as a route to global domination will have to wait!

Though what couldn’t wait a moment more was a learned discussion between the two Ed's (yes, Two Eds are better than one – a joke that simply had to be cracked.) Greg had announced earlier that it was to be a Darwinian Ride and he was pressed for an explanation. He was merely making a quip that those at the back could be dropped since it would be survival of the fittest. Now, as we all know Darwin never wrote that term and so in a strict sense it is not a Darwinian explanation – though it is a neat encapsulation of his theory….The eyes of both Eds (yes I know I am flogging the ‘Ed/Head’ bit a little far) glazed over as the tedium of the explanation ended their desire to hear more. They shut their ears (no, no more!!) to any further details – we resumed the cycling.

Two Eds & friends! Photo: Greg Tucker

There was one final steep ascent and as we laboured uphill the cry went up from Andy, ‘White Avenger approaching’.

Now I know that there has been some adjustment to the acceptable lexicon of CTC terms to describe traffic approaching from either direction but this was clearly a new page that was vouchsafed only to senior committee members. Were we now to have to describe the colour and model of any vehicle that was approaching? What if we weren’t sure if it was a Quashqai or a Subaru – the potential for chaos was immense and this struck me a step too far! I asked for clarity to the calls rules. It turns out that actually ‘The White Avenger’ is not a 70’s throwback (oh no!) but was actually Andy’s new term for Averil. I believe the technical term for such a thing is ‘Brave’. Perhaps his hastily arranged flight tickets were an attempt to avoid the wrath of more than one woman – we should be told!

In a display of group harmony we sped downhill towards Newmarket in a united peloton. The traffic caused a brief split into two smaller groups but we arrived at the tea rooms at the museum at 11.26. A fair effort considering the adventures on the way and the hills – 23.5 miles in a shade under two hours is absolutely bang on CTC pace. The remainder of the ride was to be lead by Rupert who was waiting with the City Slickers who had already arrived at the café. Their earlier start meant they had had an advance look at the cakes but the Village People were not to be denied – there was plenty to go round and that fuelled them all for the next stage as they prepared to ‘Go West’.

Best wishes go to Susan who had to retire from leading the ride at the last minute due to injury. Get well soon!

Many thanks to all who took part – here’s looking forward to when The Dirty Dozen Ride Again! Greg Tucker

Edward continues: With our late arrival for coffee we were unable to leave with Dr John's group and Rupert took over the role of leader. Unsurprisingly he suggested a change of venue for lunch and finally Barrow was chosen as Hawstead seemed a bit too far for us to reach in a reasonable time.

With Rupert as leader there was always the possibility that he would disappear into the distance behind a cloud of dust, but credit where it's due he stayed close to us and carried out his role diligently.

Eleven of us left Newmarket on NCN 51 to Moulton which is always a nice ride, especially after the climb past the gallops is over. In Moulton we passed the Packhorse Bridge and then did a bit more climbing on the road to Gazeley.

Gazeley Photo: Edward Elmer


Gazeley to Barrow Photo: Edward Elmer

NCN 51 continues along the road to Higham and takes us onto a beautiful up and down route all the way to Barrow where we arrived at 1pm. Three adjourned to the Udder Room for lunch whilst all the others ate their packed lunches on the village green, and later to the Udder Room for drinks. This is the Thursday ride's first visit to the Udder Room, although it has been used for Sunday rides, and it was very nice and reasonably priced.

Lunch at Barrow

Finally, at 2.15pm we started for home by heading south towards Denham and passing near to, but not actually going through, Dalham and Ousden before reaching Wickhambrook.

Whichever way we go in this part of the country we are guaranteed a nice ride on mainly quiet country roads although the odd car or two may be held up because of the twists and turns in the road. We came to Great Bradley and then downhill to Little Thurlow and onto a club favourite, the two mile stretch to Carlton Green.

Weston Colville was next, followed by West Wratting where some accepted Peter's generous invitation for a cup of tea and no doubt one of Lesley’s cakes.

This left three to head for home via Balsham, Hildersham, Abington, Sawston and Shelford, finishing the ride at 5pm and after 67 miles. As always thanks to all the leaders, especially Greg and Rupert who were late replacements. Edward Elmer



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28 Jun: Evening ride to Hemingford Abbots

Nigel writes: Today didn't feel very summery at all: rather cool, with a strong north-westerly wind that was strong enough to put off all the other regular evening riders from turning up at Brookside for the start of tonight's ride. Fortunately I was joined by two relative newcomers to the evening rides: John and Andrew, and later by Paul. John, Andrew and I rode a repeat of our last ride to Hemingford Abbots. This started with a ride east along the river to Cambridge North station and then along the busway to St Ives.

With a strong headwind all the way this was quite hard work, at least for me, and it was a relief to reach St Ives and turn onto the much more sheltered Thicket Path to Houghton. Along this section we caught up with Paul who was making his own way to the pub.

On the Thicket Path

From Houghton we crossed the Ouse Meadows to Hemingford Abbots where we stopped for food and drink at The Axe and Compasses.

Afterwards we returned back to Cambridge. With the wind behind us at least this was an easy, comfortable cruise and we arrived back in central Cambridge at about 10.15pm. Nigel Deakin



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Sunday, 25 June 2017

25 Jun: Sunday afternoon ride to Braughing

Ray writes: After leading one of the most popular Wednesday evening rides of the year, today it was only Simon who accompanied me on the ride to Braughing, with John E riding with us as far as Fowlmere. After a different route out from Cambridge, we repeated the climb from Chrishall Grange to Heydon that we had enjoyed on Wednesday, but this time carried straight on in Great Chishill towards Barley. A left turn after Shaftenhoe End took us down one of my favourite lanes to Nuthampstead. Simon was on a new, lighter bike he had built from parts from e-Bay, and he was dancing up hills while I puffed and panted behind him.

We continued on small lanes through Great Hornmead and Little Hornmead before joining the B-road for the last few miles to Braughing, where we arrived at 3.50pm to find the all-day riders well into their tea and cakes.

I had coordinated with Alex so my outward route would not duplicate his route home; this allowed the two rides to join forces after tea and we stuck together all the way back to Cambridge. I arrived home after a hot 60 miles in the saddle.



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25 Jun: Sunday ride to Holme, Whitwell and Braughing

Nigel writes: Last week's early summer heatwave has now passed, and today we enjoyed more typical June conditions: warm and breezy with periodic sunny intervals. We wouldn't have wanted a repeat of last Sunday's 30C temperatures anyway, since today would be one of our longest club rides of the year: a Sunday longer ride of over 90 miles.

Our numbers today was rather lower than usual, with leader Alex leading a small group that consisted of Mike CC, Rupert, Joseph and me. Our first stage was west to coffee at Jordan's Mill near Biggleswade. Although this was only slightly further than usual there was a persistent westerly wind which made this part of the ride slightly harder work than usual.

Barton

Barton

Between Bourn and Caxton

We followed the "usual route west" along the B1046 to Bourn and then through Caxton and Great Gransden to Waresley. From here we turned south-west to Potton and Biggleswade.

I have spent much effort in the past trying to find a good cycle route through Biggleswade, but without success, and Alex had no doubt done the same with a similar result. However on this occasion the streets weren't particularly busy and we navigated through without difficulty. However it's all rather dull, so I was pleased that after passing through the centre Alex turned right towards the river and onto an off-road path across the meadows and under the A1 to Jordan's Mill.

Meadows by the River Ivel, Biggleswade

Under the A1, Biggleswade

Despite the headwind we made good progress and we arrived at Jordan's Mill at 11am exactly, about ten minutes earlier than Alex had planned. We ordered food and drink and sat ourside on the pleasant terrace by the River Ivel. Here we were joined by Ian B who had led last week's ride.

Coffee at Jordan's Mill

There were quite a few other cyclists in the cafe, including a large group from Cambridge Cycling Club, another from the Hitchin Nomads and a small group from Hertfordshire CTC, several of whom joined us for the next stage of the ride. This took us south through rather more undulating countryside than earlier to Whitwell, where we stopped for lunch at Emily's Cafe.

Apsley End

Lilley Bottom, approaching Whitwell, Approaching Whitwell

Lunch at Emily's Cafe, Whitwell

The next stage after lunch took us east to tea in Braughing, and with the wind directly behind us this was a rather more relaxing than in the morning. Our route was essentially the reverse of the Chiltern Pathfinder, and took us east through the pleasant undulating farmland that forms a kind of green belt between Stevenage to our north and Welwyn to our south.

Codicote

Whempstead

There was just one point where we deviated from the Chiltern Pathfinder route. This was east of Dane End where, instead of heading directly to the south end of Puckeridge we continued north to Great Munden before turning east to cross the A10 at a pedestrian crossing point which brought us to the northern end of the town. There was little traffic on the main road so this was straightforward enough.

Crossing the A10, Puckeridge

Braughing

We arrived at Braughing Village Hall just after 3.30pm, about half an hour early. A short while later we were joined by Ray and the afternoon ride, which today consisted of just him and Simon.

Tea at Braughing

After about an hour Alex gave the signal that it was time to return home.

Braughing

Today's two leaders, Alex and Ray, had previously agreed that both groups would ride back to Cambridge together, following a very pleasant route that took us north-east through Furneaux Pelham and Berden before turning north to Clavering and over what Alex calls "the three peaks" - Quicksie Hill, "Telegraph" Hill and Coploe Hill.

Heading home from Braughing

The wind was still mostly behind us for most of this final section; Rupert certainly had a spring in his step and was repeatedly off the front. Rather to my surprise my own legs were beginning to ache and I had to work hard to keep up, which is unusual on a normal club ride and which I attributed to a few strenuous hikes in the Lake District earlier in the week.

The promised rain never arrived, and I arrived home in Cambridge at 6.30pm, having cycled 150km (93 miles). Nigel Deakin



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Thursday, 22 June 2017

22 Jun: Thursday ride to Ashwell and Braughing

Edward writes: This morning in Haslingfield the stifling heat of the last few days had come to an end and today we had far more civilised temperatures. Our rides today were to Ashwell for coffee and on to Braughing for lunch. In the city with Peter W as leader there were seven riders, and out at Haslingfield there were sixteen. Our thanks are due to Sheila who came off the bench as a late replacement to lead our ride.

With the formalities completed we were just about to set off when lightening and thunder preceded a five minute downpour causing all to scatter and seek shelter. With this over we started with a climb over Chapel Hill into Barrington, Shepreth and Meldreth.

Ladies' team (almost) in Barrington

Men's team - Road not wide enough for everyone

Another few moments of rain meant a stop in Meldreth with some putting on waterproofs which must have been pretty hot.

Cambridge Express in Shepreth

It rained in Meldreth

We were soon on our way again as we wound our way up the hill to Kneesworth followed by Bassingbourn. Here Sheila put in a loop round Abington Pigotts which would have met with Mike C's approval had he been with us. This brought us to Litlington, then Steeple Morden and we arrived in Ashwell just as the church clock was striking 11 am which was perfect timing.

Coffee in Ashwell

With almost thirty riders to deal with it was as well that we had pre-warned Day's bakery that we would be coming and they got through all the orders in good time. At 11.30am, again with the church clock striking, we started the second phase of our day.

Leaving Ashwell

Leaving Ashwell

This next phase was to take us due south for ten miles though Redhill and Rushden to Cromer. In Cromer we turned south easterly which gave us the benefit of a fairly stiff westerly breeze. At this point the clouds started to dissipate giving us a lovely sunny ride through Ardley and Wood End before arriving in Great Munden. This left only a few miles to travel into Puckeridge, a short bit on the A10 and we all arrived at the Brown Bear in Braughing by 1pm.

About twelve people chose to have lunch there and this caused the pub some difficulty and it was 2.40pm before the last group could start for home. This isn't a criticism of the pub; they provided nice food but twelve lunches obviously stretched them a bit, and this would always be a problem expecting a small establishment to be able to cope with large numbers all at once, even if a booking has been made. Before leaving we thanked the pub for their efforts as we know they had worked hard. We did, though, enjoy the spectacle of a low flying red kite passing overhead!

Lunch in Braughing

When Sheila's group of ten started for home it was decided to make some changes to the original route and we went along the B1368 with the intention of going all the way up to Barley. However, after we passed through Hare Street we changed our minds and took the turning to Anstey and on to Nuthampstead. This put us on much quieter and far more pleasant roads.

Family life in Braughing

As we passed through Shaftenhoe End it looked as if we had surprised a buzzard which took to the skies immediately in front of us. Another debate at the Barley turn and we decided to carry on to Great Chishill which, despite a couple of steep climbs, would give us the long two mile plus descent to Flint Cross. Our ride ended through Fowlmere, Thriplow and Newton which was the last parting of the ways. This gave a journey of 57miles, for the countryfolk at least, and our thanks to Peter and Sheila for their efforts in making a successful day out. Edward Elmer



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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

21 Jun: Evening ride to Barrington

Ray writes: We are in the middle of the hottest June for 40 years and I had foolishly taken the week off to sort out my garden. Instead of sitting in a cool, air-conditioned office, I have been hiding from the sun with all the windows open (it was too hot to work outside, the garden remains neglected). I was glad to get out on the bike into a light breeze as the evening came on. I arrived at Brookside to find a handful of riders waiting, including first-timer Alex and Brian on his recumbent. More arrived as I was sorting out Alex's guest entry form and by the time we set off we were 10. On our way out of town we were joined by Chris, riding in from Sawston. I don't think I've seen this many riders on an evening ride before!

The regular Alex volunteered to act as back marker until we got to Duxford, which made my job as leader much easier. We took the usual route to the guided busway then the DNA path to Shelford, Whittlesford and Duxford. Then it was Grange Road and up the hill to Heydon. I was planning to take the minor road via Shaftenhoe End to Barley before dropping down to Flint Cross on the B1368, but this turned out to be too ambitious if we were to get to the pub on time, so we turned right in Great Chishill for the long descent to Flint Cross we had enjoyed on Nigel's ride to Shepreth last month.

We skipped the detour past the nature reserve and rode directly to Barrington down the B-road, arriving at the Royal Oak at about 8.25pm. Some of us ordered full meals (fish and chips, veggie burger, home-made soup) while others went for the usual bowls of chips. They obviously run an efficient kitchen here as our food arrived quite quickly.

Re-energised and refreshed (did I mention the excellent beer?) we set off for the short ride home. Today was the summer solstice and the sun was just setting as we left the pub. We made our way over Chapel Hill then rode into Cambridge down the Barton Road cycle track. We'd left two riders at the pub, and everyone else dispersed as we came into the city, leaving me and Tom to make our way north via (a different) Grange Road and Storeys Way. I arrived home at 10.10pm having covered 36 miles.



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Sunday, 18 June 2017

18 Jun: Sunday afternoon ride to Clavering Lakes

Simon writes: I had hoped that this would be the hottest day this year, but there could be worse jobs to have to do in a heatwave. Mounted sentry outside Buckingham Palace for hours at a time, or being locked in a car with Derek Jameson and Tony Blackburn on the radio... in any weather. Though in my case it's rolling around the floor in grinding grit, welding sparks and the rust and sticky underseal that falls off the remains of a VW camper-van that's even older than but about the same condition as me!

Still it was my pleasure to lead our first Sunday afternoon visit to Clavering Lakes. A small posse consisting David S, Simon D, Johns E and F joined the start of the ride, soon to be joined on the railway bridge at Addenbrookes by Mike K.



Our ride out, and its mirror image return back, followed the fast-track no-frills standard CTC route to Ickleton so as to have more time for exploring villages and hitherto never seen before little country lanes beyond, normally only visible from behind an all day ride leader.

Speaking of which, I'm sure we met them just outside Lower Langley Green on our way to further Ford End. With the snapshot fleeting glimpse in passing I recognised David W and John S, our membership secretary (or "Paperwork Troll" as he describes the role to us).

Having orbited Clavering instead of by-passing it we reached the Fishing Lakes, to add a mile and a half to the 24 mile distance.

All the staff that we met there were friendly and enthusiastic which enriched our experience and I look forward to taking our group there again.

The outlook over the lakes from the veranda appended to their Lodge Cafe is reminiscent of the Riverside Café at Ickleton, on a slightly more grand scale and they stayed open until the time that their website says they do.







It was about 5pm as we were passing Duxford back towards the A505.

I was occasioned by a young Z750 ninja rider wearing cut off jeans, who felt it necessary to try telling me from inside his full-face helmet, that despite being on a vehicle not much wider than mine and a power to weight ratio greater than a twin turbo Porsche 959 Sport, that he couldn’t get past us with only a meagre 10 foot gap and half a km of dead straight visibility ahead, because we were flouting his interpretation of the Highway Code by riding two abreast!

But to start a sentence with a conjunction, we all got home safely having covered 52 miles including my 6 mile round trip to Brookside and back. Simon Gallaway



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18 Jun: Sunday ride to Baldock and Much Hadham

Ian writes: When you're just about to set off on a day’s ride at 9am and it's already 25C and flat calm, you know you're in for a testing day in the saddle. Fortunately for me, leading my first ride, there were six very experienced riders to share the first leg out to coffee at Tapps Garden Centre at Baldock, namely Mike CC, Alex, John R, Dave C, Rupert and Alan.


After the Barton Cycleway, Chapel Hill, too many miles of vibrating handlebars through the poor road surfaces of Shepreth, Meldreth and Steeple Morden, we climbed out of Ashwell via Bygrave to arrive at the Garden Centre at 11am, where Dave W was waiting for us, (we had already picked up John S en route). So, with a maximum of nine, I was wondering how many were just out to coffee and whether I would have any company for the last 50 miles. Well if you are wondering how many CTC "Englishmen" were going to "go out in the midday sun", it was five, as Rupert, John R, Dave C and Mike CC returned to Cambridge via a variety of routes.

Having had our water bottles refilled, we set off with most of us knowing that the infamous Chalk Hill beckoned. This is the longest, steepest hill I have ever climbed and having struggled up it twice on cooler days I was not relishing the challenge now that it was pushing the high 20s. In the end we all managed it OK and continued on the middle leg through the very pleasant lanes of North Herts, travelling predominantly SE through Ardeley and Haultwick towards Dane End.

After cooling our feet off through the river Rib ford, at 1.15pm Hopleys Cafe appeared out of the heat haze in Much Hadham. This is great spot to have lunch on any day but none better than when sitting outside under the shady trees. As it was Father's Day the service was understandably relatively slow but we were in no hurry.


With 45 miles achieved, there was just the 30 miles left to Cambridge, navigating through Stocking Pelham, Meesden and Chrishall. One of the many good cycling customs is that most fellow cyclists acknowledge each other but on approaching Langley Lower Green I thought we were overdoing the banter a little until I realised that the party coming the other way was Simon leading his CTC Sunday afternoon ride out to Clavering. With some of our water bottles dangerously short of water, it was decided that an emergency stop was necessary at the Bull Inn. Suitably refreshed, and after an off-road short cut suggested by John, we were soon back onto the plains of Cambridge. At Fowlmere I was dismissed, leaving the intrepid 4 to cruise back to Cambridge where those completing the full route would have clocked up 75 miles.

With thanks to Rupert for suggesting the route and having the foresight to book us an outside table at Hopleys, and to my fellow cyclists for looking after me on my first lead. And to any of you thinking it’s time you led a ride, go for it - you will get loads of support. Ian Bamborough




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Thursday, 15 June 2017

15 Jun: Thursday ride to Wicken and Kentford

Edward writes: Summer continues. Twelve members started from Hauxton and in the city where Glyn was the leader there were fourteen. Today's ride would take us out to Wicken for coffee and on to Kentford for the lunch interval. We could expect temperatures in the mid-twenties but accompanied by a stiff westerly breeze. This would help in the morning but would be a bit less forgiving in the afternoon. In view of the distance to Wicken we brought forward the start from Hauxton a quarter of an hour to 9.15am. The start from Hauxton took us through both the Shelfords to the DNA path via the hospital. As always it never ceases to amaze us how rapidly the building landscape changes here in such a short time; already a large building is appearing out of the ground right beside the DNA path. We made use of the new access to Hills Road by going through the Ninewells development ready for the climb over the Gogs and down into Fulbourn.

With the wind behind we made good progress through the Wilbrahams to Bottisham and both the Swaffhams. In Swaffham Prior we turned to go into Adventurers Fen and the Lodes Way. Given the choice of taking the shorter route to Wicken, using the gravel tracks, only John F and David H opted for it with the rest remaining on the road up to Upware. With the wind behind we made good progress and we arrived at Wicken Methodist Church at 11.15am and after 24 miles, thus justifying the decision to leave earlier.

When we entered the church hall we were overwhelmed as not only were there the fourteen city riders but numerous others and apparently someone counted thirty-five members - some turnout. The church laid on lots of cake and it was unlikely that anybody went short, and for this we thank Simon and Sara for organising such a successful coffee stop.

Wicken Methodist Church

As usual these days quite a few returned home from Wicken leaving two groups to head for Kentford. We left Wicken on NCN 11 to Barway as far as the G's hostel where we set our course for Soham. When we arrived in Soham we had to use the main road to bring us to Fordham, but this was achieved without too much discomfort and now it was on to Chippenham where we noticed that the Tharp Arms is under new management.

After Chippenham as we approached the A11 there was a bit more traffic about but with only Kennett to go through we were almost at the Animal Health Trust where we duly arrived at 1pm and a further 16 miles.

Lunch at Kentford

With the weather so good everybody sat outside in the courtyard, later to be joined by those with packed lunches. At 2 pm we started the return journey and this would be a lot harder than this morning’s effort, especially as it seemed the wind had increased in strength.

Preparing to leave Kentford

When we got to Moulton we had the biggest hill of the day before dropping down to Cheveley. A brief stop here enabled Averil to pursue one of her favourite pastimes with a visit to the local library.

Cheveley's Librarian

Cheveley

When we were all assembled again we went via Saxon Street to Woodditton, Stetchworth and Dullingham. In Dullingham Averil, Clive, Adrian and Tony left us leaving the last six to head for home via West Wratting, Balsham, Hildersham and Abington. We finished the ride at 4.45 pm and those going back to Hauxton would have completed 70 miles. Edward Elmer



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