The magnificent 7

Mick’s latest destination for the Sunday ride was Trumpington, Cambridge. The Magnificent Seven were comprised of Mick, Ian, Paul, Brian, Chris, Peter and me. It was another idyllic ride on quiet, unclassified roads.

We headed out due north up Panfield Lane through Jaspers Green, Church End and Shalford where we took our usual left turn to go through Walthams Cross to Finchingfield. We had a bit of a debate about what to wear on autumn days, the quote being “if you’re not too cold when you start an autumn bike ride, then you’re over dressed”. I believe in being able to shed layers as required – so today’s health & safety tip is to set out wearing a buff, windproof jacket and full gloves, and shed layers/ go to fingerless gloves once warmed up.

Mick took us on a little turning through Finchingfield, which mean we skirted the back of the Church, avoiding the steep downhill, and headed north on the B1057, before turning immediately left towards Helions Bumstead. I’d never ridden this road before, directly north past Spains Hall. Spains Hall was built in 1540, and named after Hervey D’Ispania who owned the manor in the times of the Domesday Book, 1086. Only three families have owned this property, the most recent being the Ruggles-Brise family from Bocking since 1760. Paul told us of how at a charitable function at Spains Hall, his brother had asked the Lord of the Manor if they could fish in the 7 ponds, and to their surprise, the Lord consented, saying ‘sort it out with my Butler’. Which they did over the next few years.

We pedalled on through Castle Camps, reaching Linton, where we had a little detour, managing to pick up the A1307. Fortunately Mick got us off this road at the first opportunity, back on minor roads running parallel to the main road. We took small roads, then footpath to cross the A11 on an impressive stepped pedestrian/cycle bridge. Quite steep, but with a metal gully to guide the bike wheels. Going up was quite hard (my touring bike is heavy) but going down was harder (one step at a time, with judicious use of the brakes all the way down).

Reaching the Cambridge area was quite apparent – suddenly there were lovely cycle paths running along side roads. We pedalled to Waitrose in Cambridge, where my husband Jim was just turning into the car park, when Mick cycled in front of him at the lights. Paul and Brian decided to have a little spin into Cambridge, while the rest of us fell on our food in the café. At this point, I put my bike in the back of the car to go home, having done 35 miles, average 11.7mph (astonishingly fast for me) in 3 hours 13 minutes.

The remaining six returned via: Duxford, Saffron Walden (coffee stop); Radwinter; Great Sampford; Great Bardfield (further coffee stop); Rayne. Congratulations to Peter Skirrow on a new one day personal best and thanks to Mick for both organising and navigating such a grand day out.

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