July 29th, 2007


Cycling again

This has turned into something of a cycling blog, hasn't it?

Yesterday we woke up early, saw that the weather seemed good, and since we weren't getting back to sleep decided to make the most of it. So we warmed up chocolate croissants for breakfast, packed a picnic and our repair and first aid kits, covered ourselves in suncream, and headed out towards Fulbourn at around 9:40am.

The plan was to find the Roman Road marked as a byway on the map and cycle along it, probably as far as Mark's Grave or Horseheath and then come back a different way on the roads. Finding it wasn't too hard, though I made myself feel surprisingly ill at the top of the hill on Lime Kiln Road. We were mildly surprised to find that although it's a byway it has a TRO restricting motor vehicles from using it. Nothing seemed to indicate that cycles weren't allowed though, so we continued. The first couple of sections were rather fun, though a bit challenging. I still hate cycling on gravel, and it took a lot of nerve to stop braking myself back to almost stationary on those bits. Most of it was packed earth though, in little ruts which were occasionally a bit narrow and deep but mostly quite pleasant.

The third stretch seemed to allow cars again, and this bit had a very deep centre rut, with the bits at the side sloping quite steeply into it in places - leaving my grounding my right pedal in an attempt not to fall off to the left. When we got to the end of this bit we decided we'd had enough, and turned right towards Linton, mostly to get a better view of the water tower on the hill. Once through Linton we discovered we'd have to do a short stretch on the A1307 in order to get back towards Balsham, but it was nicely surfaced and had plenty of room to overtake. The next left took us back onto quite back roads, and we found a nice spot for our picnic. This was done properly, with a blanket to sit on and plastic beakers from which to drink our chilled lemonade. We had salmon and cream cheese bagels, chicken wings and posh crisps and it was all very nice.

After 20 minutes or so just chilling out in the sunshine we headed on. The next left took us towards Balsham, which is a very pretty village, then through and onto the Fulbourn Road, which goes on and on and on in just as straight a line as the Roman Road itself. We thought this stage would help lots with our average speed, but it was sadly a headwind all the way, which slowed us down quite a bit. Eventually we reached Fulbourn, and headed back towards Cherry Hinton, passing a rather impressive manor building of some sort which I never knew was there. And we retraced our route back home, arriving about 2:30. It was just over 28 miles, at an average speed of only 8.9 mph, and that's not counting the stops! Just goes to show how much quicker you can be on road than off!

Map of route is on Bikely, with help from toporoute.

It was a lovely way to spend the morning, and we had a very lazy afternoon to follow it and a fairly early night due to being very tired indeed. Today we're awake not quite so early, and planning to hit the shops once they open - in search of heavy duty sandals and birthday presents for my mum and sister. Then we might go see the Transformers film, which Mike in particular is really looking forward to, and if I have time I'll cook Duck Leg Cassoulet for tea, or at least my own variation thereof. A nice leisurely weekend all told.