Thursday, 16 November 2017

16 Nov: Thursday ride to Horseheath and Kentford

Edward writes: In Hauxton sixteen riders met for our ride out to Horseheath and Kentford, with Edmund doing the honours. Back in the city Rupert led a group of nine. The weather in the morning was benign with barely any wind, but the forecast reckoned it would start to turn cooler later in the afternoon. At the start Edmund outlined the route he would take as we would leave in two groups; in the event this became three groups. We made our way along to Whittlesford and in the process picking up one or two others, Horseheath being a popular coffee stop.

Sawston

The cycleway into Sawston and out to Babraham brought us to the farm track over the A11 to Abington. We carried on via Hildersham and Linton and then Bartlow.

Running repairs in Babraham

Great Bradley

Owing to a puncture we had become a well-scattered group of riders with the leading group taking the correct route from Bartlow via Shudy Camps, the second group, however, made their choice to go from Bartlow to Streetly End. The third group who had the puncture eventually arrived in Horseheath a little later than all the others, route unknown.

As ever, Horseheath was the venue for several others who had journeyed out independently, and among them was Vic - always good to see him out. Our leaders decreed that coffee should be a short break and almost everybody had started the second leg by 11.30am. This was necessary as the ride to lunch would be twenty-one miles. This leg took us up to Carlton and then via the club favourite road to Little Thurlow and Great Bradley.

Autumn colours near Gazeley

Now followed the country lanes in this Cambridgeshire-Suffolk border region through Kirtling, Upend, Ashley and Gazeley and as we passed through the tree-lined roads the autumn colours were truly spectacular. From Gazeley it was but a short run down to the B1506 with our lunch stop at the Animal Health Trust less than a mile away.

Lunch at Kentford

Fortunately it was still just about warm enough to sit outside but our numbers overwhelmed the staff and for a while they struggled to cope. However, Rupert applied all his well known diplomatic skills and was able to soothe ruffled feathers. Those who wanted food did eventually get it and by 1.45pm we were on the road again, starting in a brief shower.

Our return journey took us up to Moulton with the climb over the hill into Cheveley and the undulating roads to Dullingham. Here there was the final parting of the ways with Rupert taking his city residents via Swaffham Bulbeck and Edmund's groups set course to Balsham via West Wratting. The darkness seemed to have come early and lights were on most of the way home as we finished the ride via Hildersham, Abington and Sawston with the ride finishing at 4pm and 64 miles to the good. Thanks to Edmund and Rupert as manoeuvring such a large group over 64 miles is some feat! Edward Elmer



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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

New committee for 2017-2018

At our AGM on Sunday 12th December a new committee was elected for 2017-2018. The new committee is listed here. Minutes of the AGM are now available here or by following the link on the agenda page.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

12 Nov: Afternoon ride to Hauxton for the AGM

John F writes: Almost perfect cycling conditions, only slightly marred by a cold North Westerly breeze, and the prospect of an excellent tea at the AGM tempted 14 riders to set off from Brookside at 1pm. On Grange Road the number increased by Phil making 15 in all. That must be some kind of record for a winter afternoon ride.

I had planned a route that could be shortened in order to fit into the arrival time of 3pm. In the event we arrived two minutes late. Most riders were familiar with the route through Coton, Madingley, Dry Drayton, Hardwick, Kingston (with magnificent views from the hilltop). From there it was downhill through the Eversdens, Harlton (now sadly with no pub) to Haslingfield. Here I discarded the planned route over Chapel Hill to Barrington and Fowlmere for the direct route through Harston to Hauxton. The so-called "cycle track" beside the A10 is here nothing more than a narrow, twisty and bumpy footpath. How long does it take to make a cycle track?

As leader I was somewhat spooked by the number of riders so no photos and Strava refuses to upload the route. John E did sterling work as sweeper: an essential role with so many cyclists. Tea was as anticipated excellent so many thanks from the afternoon riders to all the providers and helpers. The AGM business was expeditiously dealt with too so it was altogether an enjoyable afternoon.

After tea I returned to Cambridge with three of our group through Trumpington Meadows Country Park - a very pleasant ride after dark. Here Mike K spotted an owl quartering the terrain but the rest of us missed it. John Ferguson

12 Nov: Sunday ride to Saffron Walden, Clavering and Hauxton for the AGM

Ian B writes: In response to Rupert’s recent appeal for leaders for the Nov/Dec rides, I spotted this ride to Saffron Walden and (at the time) Lower Langley. With the finish being at the AGM in Hauxton, I figured that this shorter than usual Sunday ride would be relatively stress free. I planned the route and went out to test it. That was a good idea as RideWithGPS had mapped me through some private property. So after a slight tweak the route was set. That was until a few days before the ride when Rupert found out the chef at the Bull Inn had heard we were coming and suddenly required a holiday. Fortunately Rupert found some spare lunch capacity at the Fox and Hounds in Clavering and after another route change, everything was in place.

The Sunday weather forecast was for the first cold snap of the autumn, with a max. of 6C and gusts of 20mph into our faces expected on the return leg. By 9.30am five of us had mustered at Brookside in full winter kit, Alex, Mark, Rupert, Simon and myself, with Tom H just catching us as we set off. Sheila joined us in Shelford on the usual CTC route to Saffron Walden.

Brookside

The wind was behind us so we made good time but at the base of Coploe Hill, Alex realised that as it was Remembrance Day, the centre of Saffron Walden would be closed. Rupert redirected us through Littlebury so little time was lost.

At Bicicletta Coffee we met up with several more CTC members who had made their own way there and thankfully were served relatively quickly. Worryingly at one stage a police car arrived outside and an armed officer alighted but thankfully it was just security for the Armistice Ceremony being held at the Cenotaph.

We observed the 2 mins silence in the cafe and, having walked up the hill past the road blocks, set off on the 1 hour leg to lunch, via Widdington and Rickling. Now there were nine of us as Alex went back and Andy, Sarah and Nigel joined us. (Nigel was on his way back from Great Dunmow after receiving his Essex Super Randonneur medal).

Rickling (Photo: Nigel Deakin)

After lunch in Clavering (Photo: Nigel Deakin)

The Fox and Hounds in Clavering was a welcome, warm haven and lunch went down well enough for Rupert to be adding this to our Stops List. However I was conscious that we had 18 miles into a strong headwind back to the AGM in order to get our Runs Secretary re-elected. (I knew I would be drummed out of the CTC if we were late). We needed an average of 12mph to achieve the 3pm deadline, so we set off and in convoyspeak "put the hammer down". Our route home was via Lower Langley, Shaftenhoe End and Fowlmere. At times, unfortunately, the group became fragmented and apologies to Simon who, with his handlebar gauntlets creating some serious drag, lost contact and missed a turn at Barley.

In the end, Rupert sped ahead and was well in time. So all's well that ends well but I'll be more experienced the next time I plan a ride which has to be back by a certain time. The ride totalled 46 miles in all. Ian Bamborough

At the AGM (Photo: Nigel Deakin)



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Thursday, 9 November 2017

9 Nov: Thursday ride to Gamlingay and Biggleswade

Mike P writes: Our ride from Brookside to Gamlingay and Biggleswade turned out to be an eventful one – at least for me! Seven "regular" riders joined me for the 9.15am start where we welcomed Dennis who was joining the Thursday run for the first time having recently become a Cycling UK member.

The morning was overcast yet dry with the forecast suggesting improving conditions with the promise of sunny intervals by the afternoon.

Dr John led the group out of the City along the Barton Road cycleway with myself taking up position at the back of the group. Crossing the M11 we continued along the cycleway towards Barton before forking right towards Comberton.

The bend in the cycle path at this junction is blind and, unfortunately for me, an approaching cyclist and I collided at speed with both of us coming off our bikes. I escaped unharmed save for a minor sprain to my wrist although, unfortunately, the same could not be said the city bound rider who was in a bad way with a broken collar bone and several bruises from the fall.

An ambulance was called. Peter W and I remained with the casualty for the 50 minutes or so that it took for the paramedics to arrive. In the meantime, Rupert and Dr John assumed “joint” leaders to take the remainder of the group onto coffee at West View Farm.

With the casualty safely on board the ambulance back to Addenbrookes, I checked over my bike to ensure it was rideable. Apart from the shifters having taken a knock out of alignment, all was fine and Peter and I set off to catch up with the ride. We duly achieved this by taking a more direct route to Gamlingay than originally planned albeit arriving just as the main groups were exiting the café.

After a quick pitstop (latte and huge slices of chocolate cake) Peter and I routed via Potton, Everton and Sandy before once again departing from the planned route to arrive at Jordan’s Mill in time for lunch some 5 minutes later than the remainder of the Brookside group and well before the village group.

As ever lunch was served very efficiently, and we were soon being led out of Jordan's by Rupert on one of his "secret" cycle paths which runs north along the River Ivel into the centre of Biggleswade.

Thereafter, we reverted to my planned route home along the B1042 to Dunton and Wimpole. Several of the group turned left at Wrestlingworth to take a more northerly route back to St Ives whilst Rupert, Peter W, Simon G, Dennis and myself continued back to Cambridge via Orwell and Barrington. By now the sky had cleared and, with a tail wind helping progress, it made for very pleasant cycling.

I left the group at Barton to head home at 3.30pm whilst the remaining riders headed into town.

On Reflection: This is the second incident in the past three months when I have come off the bike and count myself very fortunate that I haven't picked up any injuries save for some minor grazes and bruising albeit at the cost of one Condor bike frame.

Could either incident have been avoided? These were unrelated accidents which occurred on unforeseen occasions. Perhaps it was just bad luck although the lessons I have taken away are always to wear the correct gear and to exercise more caution especially when you least expect it.

Cambridge has many cycleways which make travelling and around the City both safe and enjoyable to all. As an inevitable consequence they are popular for commuting as well as for pleasure and heavily used particularly in the rush hours and mid-afternoon when the schools finish. Particularly when cycle paths are narrow (for example the DNA) keep an eye on your speed and exercise considerable caution on bends / junctions and when passing others. Mike Pearce

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Notice of AGM

The Annual General Meeting of CTC Cambridge will be held at 3pm on Sunday 12th November at Hauxton Village Hall, followed by a club tea during which there will be an opportunity to ask questions of the new committee and socialise with other members.

Update: The agenda has been updated and links to the various reports added.

Please bring your CTC membership card with you if you intend voting on agenda items. Both our rides that day will arrive at Hauxton at time for the start of the AGM.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

5 Nov: Sunday ride to Fordham and Ely

Nigel writes: I often hear the view within our club that members don't like going north. I don't mean to the real north. I just mean to Ely. It's set in a rather flat and bleak landscape and there are few decent options to get there. So I was surprised that when Sheila led our last foray into the fens on 15th October we had a decent turnout and a rather pleasant day. But I was even more surprised when, only three weeks later, we returned to Ely with an even bigger turnout.

Our leader on both occasions was Sheila, though our route (and our coffee stop) would be different this time. Today was a rather fine sunny day, which encouraged nine other riders to join her on a foray into the northlands.

Brookside

Our morning coffee stop was in Fordham, and with a 9.30am start there was really only one route to get there: east along the river to Fen Ditton and the "old" NCN51 route through Bottisham, the Swaffhams, Reach and Burwell. With bright sunshine and a very slight tailwind this was a pleasant and very easy ride.

Passing Quy Church

Reach

After coffee at Simpson's Nurseries in Fordham we set off north to Ely. There really is only one sensible route to take, along B-roads via Isleham and Prickwillow, which we had another easy to Ely. Here we stopped for lunch at the same place as last time, the Cutter Inn by the river.

After lunch Sheila decided to abandon her planned route home via Wicken because NCN11 south of Ely was expected to be muddy. So at Sheila's invitation I took over the lead for what is in practice the only alternative route, via Wilburton and the B1049. After crossing the River Great Ouse we turned off onto Long Drove and returned to Cambridge via Landbeach, Milton and the A14 cycle bridge. I arrived home at about 4pm, having cycled 84 miles (52 miles). Nigel Deakin



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Saturday, 4 November 2017

Book now for the Christmas Lunch

Our annual Christmas Lunch will be on Sunday 10th December 2017 at Bourn Golf and Fitness Club. 12.30pm for 1pm.

Three courses are £25.95, two courses £21.95, with the club paying the service charge. To book, please print the menu, make your selections and send it with a cheque to the address on the form by Sun 26th Nov.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

1 Nov: Evening Ride to Barrington

Tom N writes: The evening rides have now become night-time riding and despite clear skies and a near-full moon we were down to three riders at the 18:30 start: Gareth R(leading), Andrew S and me. Although a little lower on numbers than the summer evening rides, the smaller group enabled us to do more of our own thing.

So we set off at a good pace heading southbound down the DNA path to Great Shelford, then on to Whittlesford and Ickleton. From Ickleton we took a turn to the right, heading west up Quickset Road and we started the inevitable and steady climb to Elmdon.

This was the point at which the pace we had initially set started to differentiate us. Gareth climbed the hill as if nothing was really there, Andrew was somewhere in the middle, recovering from a cold and doing impressively well in the circumstances, and I dropped down a gear to make a slightly slower ascent (albeit faster than my normal uphill pace), us all regrouping at each suitable mini-summit before pushing on again.

We were making great time and were enjoying the opportunity to set a faster pace and and for each of us to push ourselves a little bit more than a typical CTC ride, particularly as the evening rides are relatively short.


A right turn at the end of Hertford Lane and we were downhill all the way though Chrishall Grange to Fowlmere which we cruised through at about 8pm and then pedalled the last few miles to Shepreth and beyond to our pub stop at the Royal Oak in Barrington, arriving at 8.15pm. Here we had a drink and some great pub food (I can recommend the fish and chips), which set us up well for the immediate climb over Chapel Hill and, once completed, the gentle ride home.

We arrived back in Cambridge with approximately 55 km (34 miles) behind us, although Gareth's cycle computer was double-counting and indicated an impressive 110 km (68 miles) had been completed. We may have been slightly faster than normal but not that fast!