We were a few minutes late setting off, which was my fault because I rather incompetently tightened some loose spokes in my back wheel, causing it to develop a kink that I couldn’t quickly fix. But I let out some slack on the brake cable and we got going at about 09:05.
Ian led nine of us out to Coton by the cycle path, where the may trees are blooming white, unlike the ones in the city, which are mostly pink. From Coton we joined the old A428 past Hardwick, and then though Caxton (where we later returned for tea), Great Gransden and Abbotsley (pictured), arriving at St Neots a bit after 11:00. In the narrow streets of Eynesbury a bit of a queue of cars built up behind us, leading to some rather aggressive overtaking attempts—one SUV driver hit my back wheel on his first attempt to squeeze past.
At St Neots marketplace the touring section of the Cambridge Cycling Club had arrived shortly before we did, so there were at least 25 bikes and a very busy café. Here we were joined by four more riders, but after coffee Greta and John headed for home, leaving eleven to head to lunch.
Somewhere in the lanes around Honeydon, Bedfordshire.
From St Neots we crossed under the A1 and entered a maze of country lanes. I failed to keep track of all the twists and turns here, but I think we went through Duloe, Honeydon, Church End, and Keysoe Row before arriving at the Chequers Inn in Keysoe at about 12:40. In the garden here there is giant fibreglass globe displaying a map of the Earth, about 2m in diameter, cracked and weather-stained but still turning. Very Ballardian.
Bustard Hill near Tilbrook.
After lunch five riders departed for their various homes, leaving only six for the best part of the ride, north through the small hills of Huntingdonshire district, through Riseley, Upper Dean, Lower Dean, Tilbrook, and over Bustard Hill to Kimbolton. North of Kimbolton we cut through some fields to join the off-road cycle track that runs around the west and north sides of Grafham Water, which was swarming with mountain bikers (the track, that is, not the reservoir).
The cycle path along the north side of Grafham Water.
Ian stopped at Grafham Cycling to do some shopping, and then we headed for tea. With time fairly short, we took the direct route through Graveley, Yelling, and Papworth Everard, and then straight down the A1198 to the Cross Keys at Caxton, arriving about 17:10 to find that the hordes of afternoon riders had already made considerable inroads on the sandwiches and cake. But there was plenty for everyone in the end.
The weather was gorgeous throughout the day, sunny but not too hot, with a gentle northwesterly breeze.
I had 84 miles on my computer, but that was from and to home, so I would estimate the mileage to from Brookside to Keysoe and back to be 77 miles.