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Sunny morning at Madingley

Two groups of cyclists set off from Shelford bound for Madingley Hall on a glorious Monday morning; the first group comprising two Brians, Alan and Lewis - followed 15 minutes later by Jenny, Janet, Hilary and yet one more Brian. Christmas elves - Jenny, Hilary and Janet - guarding the Christmas tree at Madingley Hall Last week we froze, this week we were basking in sunshine as we clocked up 24 miles, stopping only to enjoy coffee and cake at the Hall.

Foggy foursome

  A cold and foggy Monday morning saw Lewis, Jeremy and two Brians heading out of Shelford bound for Elmdon. We must be mad, was the general consensus, though it felt good to be putting the second lockdown behind us. With the temperature just above freezing, special measures had been taken to keep out the cold; Brian C and Lewis sporting various items of ski-wear and Jeremy in waterproof footwear, while Brian H was muffled up in his trusty Cambridge United scarf. Jeremy's choice of footwear was prescient, coming in useful at Hinxton where the road was flooded either side of the ford. But the highlight of the outing was our stop for refreshments at Café 19 in the spanking new Duxford Community Centre, where we stoked up on sausage sandwiches, fruit scones and mince pies. The only downside was that Tier 2 restrictions meant sitting outside. Excellent as the refreshments were, it was nevertheless a relief to head back to home and hearth in Shelford, where we thawed out having clocked

Photo shoot on Garret Hostel Bridge

Monday morning saw two Brians, Jeremy, Chris and Phil heading out along the DNA cycleway . . . followed some fifteen minutes later by Jenny, Hilary, Alan and yet another Brian, heading off in a more westerly direction towards Grantchester; both groups bound for Cambridge and, ultimately, Milton. Along the way everyone paused for photographs on Garret Hostel Bridge, Hilary pointing out the fine architecture of Trinity Hall's Jerwood Library. Jeremy, Brian, Phil and Brian heading west on Garrett Hostel Bridge. Alas, we have no photo of Chris. Probably just as well; rumour has it he tried to relieve a passing cyclist of his laptop, though Chris swears it was accidental. On that exact same spot an hour earlier - Alan, Hilary and Jenny - heading east Brian struggling to frame a socially distanced selfie Alongside the bridge, the Jerwood Library All enjoyed coffee and cake in the café at Milton Country Park and returned to Shelford having clocked up a very respectable 22 miles. 22 miles

Madingley Hall

A chilly Monday morning saw nine riders heading away from Shelford Rec bound for Madingley Hall; Jenny, Janet, Alan, Lewis and Brummie Brian in the first group, followed shortly afterwards by BrianC, BrianH, Jeremy and Chris. Socially distanced on the Madingley Hall terrace By the time we reached Madingley the sun was shining and most enjoyed coffee and cake as we took in the view from the Hall terrace. Trencherman BrianH, however, opted for more substantial fare, tucking into a gargantuan sausage roll - with an apologetic bit of salad on the side. Jenny and Janet enjoying coffee al fresco Returning to Shelford via Trumpington Meadows, we had clocked up 28 miles; a few miles more than planned due to Brummie Brian's wrong turning at Haslingfield. 28 miles clockwise, including a wrong turn and reversal at Haslingfield

Getting high in Essex

According to Wikipedia, the village of Chrishall marks the highest point in Essex, some 147 metres above sea level. While Monday's route barely skirted the village, we got pretty close to the summit, topping out at 125 metres. With Great Shelford sitting at a lowly 20 metres, you can see our ride was somewhat more hilly than usual.  Coploe Hill - 89m and counting So it was that six hardy Shelfordians set off for a 25 mile circuit taking in Littlebury Green, Elmdon and skirting Chrishall before the descent towards Duxford, Brian C leading the way followed by Janet, Jenny, Jeremy, Alan and Brian H. Near Chrishall and pausing to get our breath back Hill climbs, eh? Tough on drama teachers but easy peasy for PE teachers  25 miles clockwise

Swaffham Bulbeck and Back

Monday morning saw six socially distanced riders heading for Fulbourn; Alan - energised by a hearty breakfast - setting the pace ahead of Hilary, Phil and three Brians. Great Wlbraham, Little Wilbraham and Bottisham came and went before we pulled up for a breather at  Swaffham Bulbeck. Thence it was on to Lode and, via a somewhat hard-to-find cycleway, Stow-cum-Quy and Fen Ditton. Approaching Cambridge from the east we were curious about the melee outside the Abbey Stadium; why  queue here at midday on an August Monday? Stopping for a chat, we learned these were the true believers queuing for their season tickets; a friendly bunch of ever hopeful, die-hard Cambridge United fans. We wished them well. Traversing Coldham's Common we headed for the Tony Carter Cycle Bridge over the railway. Named after a Labour councillor of the day, opened in 1989 and listed for a time in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's longest covered cycle bridge, this is a wonderful shortcut. Its on

Willingham Auctions

A fine Monday morning saw Jenny, Jeremy, Phil and three Brians pedalling to Cambridge along the DNA cycleway. Crossing the city via quiet backstreets and picking up the guided busway near the Science Park, we headed out towards Histon and on to Willingham, where we pulled in at the Auction Rooms for refreshment. Coffee at Willingham Auction Rooms This being an August Monday, Rishi Sunak's Eat Out to Help Out lark meant we got coffee and a stonking great slice of Victoria sponge for just £3; thank you, Rishi. And  Brian H called up an ex-colleague and cricketing mate - Alan, who lives in Willingham - inviting him to join us for coffee. Back on the bikes, we wound our way south through Longstanton, Oakington and Girton - and thence back to Shelford via Grantchester and Trumpington. A tad longer than our usual Monday outing, we clocked up 30 miles, arriving back in the village just before a downpour. Alas, poor Yorkie Brian still had 3 miles to go to Sawston and got a good soaking. 

Starting with six - but finishing with four

Monday's outing started with six riders but ended with just four. Alan - with an appointment elsewhere at 10.30 - could only join us for a few miles. Lewis - poor chap - had a bad knee and decided to turn back at Haslingfield. One of BrianH's cycling mates passed us - going the other way - turned around and tagged along for a while. And poor old BrianH himself was suffering from post-weekend heatstroke - but somehow managed to keep going to the bitter end. The final four - Brian, Brian, Chris and Phil - pausing for a breather at Kingston At the finish, it was just Chris, Phil and two Brians. We had clocked up 23 miles visiting Harston, Haslingfield, Harlton, the Eversdens, Kingston, Toft, Comberton and Barton. As ever, the highlight was coffee and cake, this time at Burwash Manor where the cherry galette is highly recommended. 23 miles clockwise from Great Shelford

No coffee at Balsham

Monday morning saw Hilary, Chris, Alan, Lewis and two Brians pedalling out of Great Shelford, headed for Balsham where BrianC had assured us of refreshment at the Old Butchers Coffee Shop. 24 miles clockwise It was a leisurely start, along the cycleway to Sawston and thence on to Babraham. There followed some upper body exercise as we hauled the bikes up and over the A11 footbridge between Babraham and Abington; not a problem for those of us on pedal bikes, but Hilary's e-bike required considerably more man-handling. Our next challenge was the long ascent from Hildersham to Balsham, but the prospect of coffee and cake saw us crest the hill in anticipation and roll up in front of the aforementioned Old Butchers Coffee Shop. Alas, it was closed for refurbishment! BrianH suggested trying the Black Bull - where we similarly drew a blank. Humph! What's the point of a ride leader if he can't even organise a coffee stop. There was nothing for it but to make the descent into Linton

Along the Cam to Milton

Another fine Monday morning saw our five-strong peloton set off towards Cambridge via the DNA cycleway, BrianC leading the way followed by BrianH, Alan, Hilary and Lewis. Winding our way from Cambridge Station through the backstreets to the River Cam, we headed north along the riverside for the very pleasant two mile stretch to Milton. The Green Dragon footbridge Pulling in for refreshments at the Country Park café, Alan lamented the relegation of Norwich from the Premier League while BrianH anxiously checked his phone for news of the England v West Indies test. Back on the bikes we took the cycle bridge over the A14 to Chesterton and on into town, crossing the river once more at Garret Hostel Lane bridge. Pausing for a breather at the Cambridge Real Tennis Club, we headed for Newnham and on to Grantchester Meadows for the return leg via Trumpington Meadow, Hauxton and Little Shelford. Great Shelford to Milton and back - 21 miles anticlockwise

A Three Brian Ride

Monday morning saw Janet, Jenny, Lewis and three Brians - Yorkie, Brummie and Local - gathering outside Cara Coffee for our weekly outing. We were off to Wimpole Hall where we were sure of a coffee, albeit a takeaway one with nowhere to sit. Along the way we passed the meridian marker at Orwell before pulling in for eagerly anticipated refreshments at Wimpole. Sipping coffee on the lawn in front of the café, as ever, the conversation was wide ranging; Yorkie Brian lamenting the disappearance of the cash economy, Janet and Lewis extolling the delights of Australia, while Brummie Brian and Local Brian wondered why you never come across a Brian who's younger than sixty. Our time has definitely passed. Making short work of the return ride to Shelford, we paused for final photo outside Cara Coffee; still closed but we hear normal service will return soon. 26 miles anticlockwise

Socially distanced (and a bit lost!)

Our first outing since lockdown and we were following all the rules; six riders max, all socially distanced. So it was that Jeremy, Lewis, Jenny, Ian and both Brians set off from Cara Coffee - sadly still closed - heading for Whittlesford, Duxford, Ickleton and Coploe Hill. The ever windy Coploe Hill Pausing at the summit to get our breath back, we headed for Chrishall Grange - and it was here that Brian somehow managed to lose half the peloton as Lewis, Jenny and Ian overshot a turn and ended up in the traffic on the A505. Oo-er! Catching up with each other again near Whittlesford, we made short work of the home straight to Shelford where Lewis kindly invited us all back to his place for coffee. 22 miles clockwise

Last ride before lockdown

Little did we know this was to be our last outing for some months. The Great Lockdown was just a week away as Hilary, Jenny, Janet, Paul, Lewis, Jeremy, Alan, Christine, Phil and two Brians set off from Cara Coffee.  Alas, poor Phil sustained an early puncture on Trumpington Meadow and opted to turn back, leaving the rest of us to clock up 25 miles visiting Grantchester, Coton, Cambridge and Milton. Pausing for a breather on Garret Hostel Bridge Notable moments included BrianC's muddy off-road excursion around Hauxton, sipping coffee in the café that Alan built, BrianH's impromptu pub crawl, and Christine's close encounter on the guided busway; though we think the Cambus driver got a bigger fright than she did. The route was mercifully flat, give or take the odd bridge approach, and nobody fell in the river. Well done all! 25 miles clockwise

Coploe Hill Climb

A windy Monday morning saw Jenny, Hilary, Janet, Lewis, Jeremy, Ric, Alan and Brian clock up 22 miles visiting Little Shelford, Whittlesford, Duxford, Hinxton, Ickleton and Coploe Hill. Taking in the view from Coploe Hill Hinxton Ford footbridge 22 miles

Our first outing

Brian's advert in the Village News did the trick, four Great Shelford stalwarts turning out for the club's inaugural ride on a chilly Monday morning in March. The Millennial meridian marker at Orwell Setting off at 09:30 from Cara Coffee in Great Shelford, Jenny, Hilary, Lewis and Brian clocked up 22 miles visiting Newton, Fowlmere, Shepreth, Orwell, Barrington and Haslingfield. We stopped for a photo astride the meridian at Orwell and, having laboured up Chapel Hill, it seemed only right to pull in for refreshment at The Moringa Tree, a delightful little café opposite the church in Haslingfield. It was here that we bumped into Iain and Biddy, who were on a similar ride but going in the opposite direction. Brian, Jenny, Lewis and Hilary Returning to Great Shelford, there was general agreement that the club had a future and we should meet again for a similar outing next Monday. 22 miles clockwise