29 May 2016

29 May 2016: Baldock to St Neots

The ride start was outside Baldock train station making it suitable for riders arriving by train, car, or even bike. We welcomed Bob on his first Sunday ride and set off at 9:30 into an unseasonably cold north wind, appreciating the gentle climb over to the village of Ashwell, source of the River Cam. 

line of riders on narrow bridge
The bridge over Potton Brook in Sutton
On reaching Sandy, we stopped at Mama’s cafe, which we discovered last year. It’s good to support local coffee shops and the coffee was excellent – the quality being in a linear relationship to the time taken to produce it, so we had a long wait and plenty of time for chatting.  This time Adrian, our expatriate member now living in Bedfordshire, had arrived before us.

narrow stream flows through field
riders leaving cafe
Carol checks her nails on leaving the cafe in Sandy
On departure, we crossed under the A1 motorway by using the cycle path on the old railway line to Blunham. We then headed due north to Rootham’s Green across windswept fenland before turning east to cross the A1 and reaching St Neots before 1pm. The town was crowded on this bank holiday weekend and the Weeping Ash pub had a 45-minute wait for food, so instead we used the Ambience CafĂ© in a park by the River Great Ouse, praying for the sun to come out.

Leaving St Neots, we were soon picking up a tail wind as we headed south past Yelling, where we had seen the veteran tractor procession last year. No sign of them this year and Steve was very disappointed not to be able to use his pathetic ex-tractor fan joke again.

The mood lightened considerably as the sun came out and we were soon removing several layers as we headed for Waresley garden centre, where we enjoyed coffee on the sunny patio.  It was an easy ride back compared to last year, when we had a strong head wind on this stretch.  This time the hills between Ashwell and Baldock seemed very easy with a following wind and we were soon back at Baldock Station.  This had been Bob’s longest ever ride, which was hard to believe as he was up at the front at the end of the day, proving it’s much easier to go further when riding in a group. 

Jon 29/05/2016

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