First there was my one week cycle camping around Normandie, France. It may have rained, but only on one of our parades that week. Brilliant scenery, well behaved drivers and endless pattiseries and boulangeries. I'll tell that story in a future post.
Last Sunday was a week since I returned from France and I had not been on any longer rides. England was sweltering in 30 Celsius heat that weekend and the whole village was out enjoying the excellent Fen Edge Festival. After my volunteering slot on the Bart Golf and a spot of lunch, it was time for my cycle.
I choose to take out my bargain second hand road bike on one of my standard loops, 49km via Upware, joining the Lodes Way, and skirting the edge of Cambridge. The route is below, or view in BikeRouteToaster.
|A 49km road loop via part of the Lodes Way.|
click to view in BikeRouteToaster
The start of the route runs north out of Cottenham up to Wilburton along the B1049. I started to pass cyclist after cyclist after cyclist - how unusual and pleasant. I later found out that these riders were on the Sportive Flat Out in the Fens on a 112 mile or 154 mile route. I was dehydrated after 31 miles and two bottles (bidons) of water so I hope they managed to finish and get plenty of fluids.
Side note: I keep meaning to do a Sportive or Audax ride but it always seems like hassle to get there. This one started in Peterborough, but if they had an alternative start point nearer to home I would have given it a shot.
After about 30mins I get to turn off the A1123 and truly relax into the scenery of the Fenland back roads.
It was in Upware, I passed a cyclist stopped at the side of the road. He was on a familiar looking hybrid bike with rack top bag. I turned around and then saw he was wearing sandals, ah ha, another clue, and yes it turned out to be Jamie, author of Keep Pushing Those Pedals. Jamie has the skill of putting together some superb photos of the local area and look like how I remember the views, but I can never get the same effect from my own compact camera. We had a good chin wag and watched so many cyclists pass by on this glorious day.
I also exchanged a few words with a retired couple cycle touring from Berlin in Germany. It is rare to see cycle tourists, even more so in this age range. It made me wonder where I would camp in the local area. There are actually a couple of campsites. One is the Cherry Hinton Caravan Club site - they do not normally take tents but this one does, and being a member I can tell you they are extremely clean and well run. Second is the Caravan and Camping Club between Trumpington and Great Shelford. I visited a relative here once and this one looks good too.
I continued on my way, pushing hard and enjoying the view and managing to average 29km/h (18mph).
I enjoyed my ride so much, I decided to do it again on the way into work in Cambridge in perfect sunny and 16C weather. Just before Upware, I was overtaken by a tractor while I was doing 20mph and then it held me up for the next mile doing 12mph on thin roads. This is a traffic jam Fenland style. Being held up like this in town would be met with such frustration, but being completely in the middle of nowhere with no other vehicles around I had to chuckle at the situation.
I arrived at work, dealt with the parking problem - carrying the bike up the stairs to my office - and was feeling so full of energy and bounce. Another superb ride, with sunshine and endorphins still flowing through my body.