Saturday, 21 October 2017

15 Oct: Sunday ride to Chippenham and Ely

The Dalek, the Fens and the Music. John S writes: I was surprised by the huge turnout and low average age of the riders I found waiting at Brookside as I turned the corner. The crowd of younger riders I had seen turned out to be a University cycling club who were meeting at the same place. Across the road, I found a more typical number of eternally youthful riders – Tom, Nigel, Mike P, Susan, John R and Andrew.


We set off across Parker's Piece and along the river path. Soon after starting, Nigel had a puncture on Riverside, and stopped to make a quick repair. Nigel informed me of the unwritten club rule that pictures are not to be taken of members who are mending punctures, so instead I photographed Mike, Susan and John offering their full moral support from a safe distance.

The quick repair turned into a longer process, as Nigel discovered that the replaceable valve core in his inner tube had developed a fault, that meant that it leaked when pumped up. Fortunately, John R turned out to have a dedicated anodised aluminium replaceable valve core tightening tool, but even this was unable to recover the situation, so the only option was to replace the inner tube a second time.

Riverside, waiting the Nigel to fix a puncture

We moved on, and were not surprised to find that Rupert had given up waiting for us at the Green Man Bridge. We proceeded through Fen Ditton and Bottisham to Swaffham Bulbeck.


Between Quy and Bottisham

In Swaffham Prior I deviated from the route I had sent out before the ride, and managed to lose Nigel, who had paused to remove arm warmers, and then tried to catch us up by following my route on his Garmin. My own Garmin is somewhere in one of 24 identical cardboard boxes in the garage while we have some work done at home, so I was instead using my flawed recollection of the route I had sent out.

A quick phone call allowed us to find Nigel again, who had passed a Dalek and an elephant on his more direct route, and we bade farewell to John and Mike in Burwell, and then to Tom in Exning.

Scarecrow competition in Swaffham Prior

As just four of us rode on through Snailwell to Chippenham, Susan and I discussed the way that rides to the north of Cambridge don't seem to be so well supported, and the limited route options there are for getting to and from Ely.


We arrived at La Hogue to find Adrian, Rupert and Keith already installed. We were soon joined by Dave W, and after assorted permutations of bacon, egg and sausage baps and some reassuringly expensive apple pie, we continued towards Isleham, seeing a magical display of brightly coloured pumpkins along the way.

While riding, there was a discussion about 'you and the night and the music' – I have no idea how this came up, but the Fens can do funny things to people. I maintained that this was the name of a Radio 2 programme, while Nigel insisted it was originally a song, and backed this claim up with a very tuneful rendition. He then went one better, and managed to track down an earlier version by someone called Frank Sinatra, and was also able to play this through the Bluetooth speaker he has fitted to his bike to pass the time on long night rides.

Pumpkins in Isleham

After Isleham, where Rupert turned off to go home, we met Edward coming the other way, and then proceeded via Prickwillow to Ely, taking care on the three successive level crossings in Queen Adelaide.

Lunch in Ely


We stopped for lunch at The Cutter in Ely, and then continued home via the river path, Padney, Upware and White Fen Drove. This involved riding into quite a brisk headwind, and as ride leader, I was somewhat chastened to find that I was slowed down more than the rest of the group, who kindly waited for me to catch up at various points. A range of non-cycling distractions (a.k.a. 'real life') have stopped me doing any full day rides for a couple of months now, and riding into the wind revealed just how quickly you can slip backwards in terms of fitness.

Along the River Great Ouse south of Ely

Rather than ride the planned route into the wind through the Wilbrahams and Fulbourn, we collectively decided to cut the ride short after Lode, and took a more direct route home, checking out how they are getting on with the new cycle path on the way. I arrived home after cycling around 70 miles. John Seton

Download GPS track (GPX).

1 comment:

  1. Careful scrutiny of photos will reveal one additional participant and presumably a name missing from the list!