Thursday, 3 August 2017

3 Aug: Thursday ride to Newport and Great Saling

Edward writes: It seems that summer has disappeared on us with some autumn-type weather creeping in to spoil the party. Today, being a typical example, with blustery south-westerly winds blowing all day and grey skies overhead. With the holiday season upon us numbers were down with only eight riders at Haslingfield and about the same at Brookside.

From the city Rupert led out as far as Great Shelford where he passed the reins over to Edmund. From Haslingfield, which really should have been a Hauxton start, we set off to Harston where we were joined by Simon. With the wind in the south-west, and our heading south east we knew that at times going would be quite tough. We all had to bear in mind, though, that our heroic LEL riders were going to have to pedal into this all day, and our thoughts were very much with them; so no grumbling permitted.

Crossing the A505

Sarah joined us in Fowlmere and we crossed the A505 to Chrishall Grange and into Royston Lane where suddenly Averil was missing. On the steep climb her chain had become stuck between the chainrings. Luckily Mike was soon on hand and after some deft handiwork he fixed the problem and she was on her way again.

Royston Lane is much nicer now having been resurfaced from the top of the hill all the way to Coploe Hill. Following the delay we changed the route, missing out Telegraph Hill and Wendens Ambo, instead going down Chestnut Avenue and onto the B1383 for the run into Newport where we arrived at 11.15am.


In Newport we found the city slickers and, as usual, a number who had cycled out independently. Soon after we arrived the city group left. In view of our late arrival we shortened our break and were ready to leave at 11.40am. We left Newport heading south on the B1383 to the Henham turn and on the way we met a tired looking LEL rider who said that the ride from Edinburgh had been "brutal"; nevertheless he was doing very well to be this close to London with a day in hand.

In Henham we took the road towards Debden Green but turning off to go through Sibleys and Sucksted Green to reach the B1051. We headed towards Thaxted before turning off to Monks Green. This was unfamiliar territory to us and required one or two stops to check maps and electronic devices, causing Greg to observe that we weren't lost but just exploring.

Sucksted Green

All was well as we arrived where we intended to be which was the road to Lindsell. With the protection from the hedgerows and our basically easterly direction we did quite well with the wind. After Lindsell we joined Lumberhedges Lane which is a lovely quiet road all the way to the track which leads to the airfield at Great Saling.

Great Saling

Those with sandwiches observed the new etiquette and had our lunch outside the grounds of the airfield before moving in for teas and coffees. As we arrived the first group was in the process of leaving, so they must have put some hurry-up into their outward journey, compared to our more leisurely approach. Inside we found that they had abandoned Peter who was just finishing his lunch, or maybe he found the racing from Goodwood too much to resist.

By 2.15pm we were on the move again and once off the airfield we had the wind behind us as we headed for Bardfield Saling onto a long stretch of road recently resurfaced with the dreaded chippings.

At Great Bardfield the other Peter left us and Adrian also disappeared only to keep popping up in different places all the way home; there must be more than one Adrian!


We continued through the Sampfords to the B1053 to Radwinter. Another three miles took us to Ashdon and the two miles from here to Bartlow seemed to contain every Kamikaze driver in the whole of Essex; it almost required a head count to make sure everyone was still with us. We finished the ride through Linton, the farm track to Babraham, Sawston and Great Shelford arriving back at 4.30 pm and 65 miles. Thanks to everyone who defied the weather and came out; despite the wind today's ride was really enjoyable. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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