25 July. Hot dawgs and cool dudes. 19 miles. 38.7C.

Cool dudes. From the left, Rod, Lawrence, Ric, Graham, Maurice, Andrew, Ken, Geoff.

On what turned out to be the hottest day ever recorded in the UK, 38.7C in Cambridge, nine Windmillers decided to venture out from The Fox and Duck in Therfield in an initial temperature of around 30C. But Maurice knew what they were letting themselves in for and arranged the first stop at his house to cool off and take it it easy whilst reacquainting members with his fine collection of automobilia.

The ride as far as Maurice’s house was very pleasant – a nice breeze along the ridge towards Barkway and then down the long long hill to his house some recording a speed of 34+ mph on the way with a strong tail wind. By this time it was only around 10.15am but once settled in, having cool drinks and coffee laid on by Maurice and Lyn, there seemed to be no desire to rush off………….

Lolling around at Maurice’s
Hot Rod and cool dawg
Maurice’s modified Douglas motorbike nearing completion. It has a Honda engine, disc front brake and sports a new four branch exhaust system.
Reluctant leavers in the shade of Maurice’s driveway

Having decided to eventually make a move, there was relief all round that we took a right out of Maurice’s driveway and not  a left back up the hill. At the first junction with the Royston – Barley road it was fascinating to see a machine stabbing huge straw bales with a fork and then transferring them to a trailer behind the large tractor – a stark contrast with the ancient old binder we saw the previous Monday cutting wheat straw for thatching. Here it is in action:

A fancy new bale stabber / loader in action

The onward route was planned to be Barley, Nuthampstead, Anstey, Buntingford, Sandon and back to Therfield but it only took as far as Shaftenhoe End to realise that this was a bit ambitious on such a hot day and so a revised route from Nuthampstead via Barkway was substituted, resulting in a shorter ride which got us back to The Fox and Duck by noon, at which time the temperature was touching 36C. Lunch in the shade of the garden and a cooling beer was a pleasant end to a ride that certainly got pretty hot towards the end.

More lolling around, this time in the shade of the garden of The Fox and Duck. Graham declined the offer of a lift back to Ickleton, having cycled from there in the first place, clocking up around 40 miles on the hottest day ever recorded in the UK!

And this is where we went:



Huge thanks to Maurice for tailor making the ride to the extraordinary weather conditions of the day and for his and Lyn’s kind hospitality – certainly one for the record books in every sense. Thanks also to Andrew for getting us to the start line and for the Strava pic of the ride.


PS. On the way back to Ickleton, Martin’s car thermometer recorded 39.5C at Ickleton  Old Grange.





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