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CTC Cambridge

21 Dec: Thursday ride to Willingham and Wyton

Thursday, 21 December 2017 

Edward writes: Today there was a change in the weather. Gone was the cold and in came the more typical winter weather of dark, damp and mild. Maybe the winter solstice does strange things to people but sixteen turned up in Haslingfield with a further two joining en-route, while back in the city they had eight riders. Our leaders today were Mike P in the city and in Haslingfield we had Sheila, yet again, and what a good volunteer she is.

The "village start" at Haslingfield

With sixteen riders we split into two groups and made our way towards Barton where we joined the road to Comberton and the lengthy climb up to the Hardwick road. It was a relief to realise that this would be the last climb of the day, better to get it over with early. It was downhill for a bit and we soon zipped through Madingley and Dry Drayton and headed for the A14 flyover to bring us into Oakington.

Haslingfield to Barton

Dry Drayton to Oakington

There was hardly any wind to speak of but what little there was gave us some assistance as we progressed to Cottenham and the last leg to coffee, passing through Rampton before reaching our destination at Willingham.

This is probably the first time the Thursday riders have visited Willingham Auction Rooms. When we booked we gave an estimate of fifteen to twenty but in the event we counted thirty-two, and not only this also there was Bill Perry and his Octagon group from Ely. How did they cope? Very well is the answer and we were able to leave again by 11.45 am.

Coffee at Willingham

After coffee at Willingham

Possibly it was the winter solstice after all but Rupert managed to interject a few thoughts as to the route that should be taken for the ride to Wyton which left some of us at least a little baffled. The first bit went well and we went to Over and Swavesey and then down the busway to St Ives. We in the second group (only three of us) could see the leaders in the far distance but when we reached St Ives we were not able to discern which route they had taken. In the event they actually followed Sheila’s original route out to Kings Ripton, whilst we three went via The Thicket to Houghton and Wyton and this took six miles off the journey. Good move that as we beat the considerable queues for lunch at the Wyevale Garden Centre. Sheila with the main contingent arrived a bit later. Subsequently we found out that some of the city group had seen the queues and returned to the Oliver Cromwell in St Ives for their lunch.

Christmas in St. Ives

After everyone had dined we were able to leave for home just before 2 pm. This was a group of eleven and we returned to St. Ives via The Thicket where Rupert left us to go on the busway to Cambridge - and the rest went to Fenstanton, used the underpass at the A14, and then set the course for the St Neots Old Road.

At the Fenstanton underpass

From Fenstanton to the St Neots Road is a five mile long slog as for the most part it climbs gently through Connington and Knapwell, but we all arrived safely and it was similarly downhill to Bourn, then Kingston, the Eversdens and Harlton and reaching journey’s end in Haslingfield at 3.30 pm, and for those who followed Sheila to the letter would have covered 52 miles. Thanks to our two leaders, especially Sheila who has led quite often in recent weeks. Edward Elmer



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