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Glorious clockwise circuit from Widdington, 26 November, 34 miles

This late autumnal ride on a fine day, but a bit wet under the tyres, was more or less the reverse of a ride a few weeks back. A good turnout comprised Deputy Dawg Andrew, Ken, Keith, John T, John B, Rod, Brian and Moley Martin. Other nicknames were discussed en route but the only ones that stuck (ho ho) was Sticky Toffee John (T) for his valiant attempt to devour a large pudding at the Fleur de Lys. Keith is also known as Two Scones from now on following his mid morning snack.

Having first repaired Brian’s puncture, we set off riding through Debden, Radwinter and Great Sampford, and it wasn’t long before we reached Finchingfield for another excellent coffee stop in Bosworth’s, the cafe by the green. The light outside was at its best due to the low sun, as depicted here:

 

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Happy bikers outside Bosworth’s in Finchingfield

Enriched with caffeine, beer, scones and jam, a fast pace was then set homewards until a suspected slow puncture affected Andrew (who will be awarded the 2015 puncture prize at the Christmas lunch), followed by his chain coming off and, meanwhile, Rod was still having difficulty with his granny (gear). But by 1.15 pm we were back at the Fleur de Lys where we were joined by our leader Maurice and an excellent lunch was enjoyed by the knights at their round table washed down with some fine ales.

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Contented Knights at their round table

Thanks to Andrew for organising the ride and the gods for the excellent weather.

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Chilly circuit, 23 November, 19 miles

Three hardy souls, Deputy Dawg Andrew, Keith and Moley Martin, set off from The Pheasant earlier than usual at 2.15 due to the dark evenings, wrapped up well to survive the 5C temperature. But going downhill to Duxford didn’t produce any warmth and it wasn’t until Coploe Hill in Ickleton that the first trickle of heat was felt in the extremities. And, of course, with DD being the aviation enthusiast that he is, a mandatory stop to view Duxford airfield was necessary despite the cold. A Gnat was spied, the sort with a jet engine. Both Andrew and Keith were wearing matching Sleazy Jet orange jackets and here they are viewing the runway:

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Returning via Littlebury Green, Elmdon and Heydon, The Pheasant’s fire was particularly welcome along with a fine cheese board kindly provided by Simon and Ollie, and it was good to be joined by John B who was recuperating from having split too many logs.

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Simon and Charlie (DD’s hound) warming up

Thanks, Andrew, for organising the ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Death defying ride, 19 November

Today’s ride of 29 miles, led by Deputy Dawg Andrew and accompanied by John B, John T, Keith, Brian and Moley Martin, took us through Barkway and on through uneventful lanes to Hare Street, past a well known Volkswagen dealer M J Warner, and on to the pretty village of Furneux Pelham. Then we approached the pothole capital of Essex, Manuden, and if those didn’t bring us close to death then being shot at by a shooting party near Maggots End certainly did. Guns went off all around us, just a few metres from the road, but despite hitting a hail of pellets we survived to tell the tale.

Next it was a pleasant break for coffee / beer in The Cricketers at Rickling Green and a final run back through Arkesden, Duddenhoe End and Chrishall, with the odd light shower now and then. The roaring fire in The Pheasant was a very welcome sight, as was our leader M J Warner who joined us for lunch. We hope his bug will have bug…ed off soon and that he will be back in the saddle.

Thanks, DD, for organising the ride.

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Yellow men in The Cricketers.

 

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Monday,15 November. Anti-clockwise circuit of 20 miles via Barkway, Anstey, Brent Pelham, the Langleys, Duddenhoe End, Chrishall and Heydon

What a load of bull in Lower Langley! Sadly it was shut.
What a load of bull in Lower Langley! Sadly it was shut.

Setting off at 2.30pm, led by Deputy Dawg Andrew and followed by puppies Keith, the two Johnnies, Andrew G (minus huskies) and Martin, a reasonable pace was set in dry but darkish conditions, averaging 12mph overall. Andrew G took a different route back from Lower Langley, probably longer, and got back to The Pheasant ahead of the peloton. Altogether a very pleasant autumnal ride and thanks to DD Andrew for organising it. We were sorry not to have Maurice with us, who was down with a bug, but we wish him a speedy recovery.

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What to do with all those old bikes

Follow Ai Weiwei’s example, weld them together, make a chandelier and sell it for millions!

Welded bike chandelier at the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy
Welded bike chandelier at the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy
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Local circuits, 2 November

Starting at 2.30pm due to the dark evenings now, Maurice, Andrew R, John T, Bridget, Keith, Andrew G and Pete set off from The Pheasant on circuits ranging from 18 miles to 22 miles and were joined somewhat later by Martin who only clocked up 9 miles and so was allowed only half his usual number of goujons. Andrew G, Pete and Keith did the longer route but, sadly, Keith came a cropper when rounding a sharp wet bend in Arkesden and fell off his bike, scraping himself in various places. See the gruesome photo below! Hopefully he will mend quickly (a pint was applied quickly back at The Pheasant) but it just goes to show how easy it is to skid on wet, leafy roads, so check those tyres and take special care over the coming weeks.

Keith’s accident led to a Pheasant discussion over goujons and chips about the need for a first aid course, which Maurice hopes to organise soon, (and also the need for someone to carry a spade in case a member needs burying by the roadside!).

Thanks, Maurice and Deputy Dawg Andrew for organising the ride.

Keith looking battered but happy after his accident
Keith looking battered but happy after his accident

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Chef de Blog report, 29 October

Thanks to Deputy Dawg Andrew for uploading today’s ride around Essex lanes (see below) and to Maurice for planning the route.

The ride started and finished at the Fleur de Lys pub in Widdington, a lovely village near Newport. The weather was mild and leafy and nine hi-viz riders set off at a pace led by Rod and followed by Maurice, Andrew, the two Johnnies, Ken, Keith, Martin and new member Brian (welcome Brian!). It wasn’t long, however, before an error of course was made by Rod in Henham who disappeared rapidly up the High Street when he should have turned right, taking three riders with him. Hollering had no effect and so Martin’s afterburner was required to catch him and do a U-turn back to where the others were waiting patiently. Then it was under the Stansted flight path to Broxted and a nice tail wind through delightfully quiet lanes to a coffee / tea / beer / cake stop in a cafe in pretty Finchingfield, almost exactly half way at 17 miles. The ride back was via more hamlets and villages until we reached Widdington at 1.00pm after 34 miles in total, with a challenging final uphill climb which created substantial thirsts all round.

Seated at a round table, the Knights of the ride were joined by Kell and we all tucked into a splendid two course lunch and sampled some fine ales before finally departing to sleep it all off.

Thanks again to our leader and his deputy for organising an excellent ride.

The Knights of the Round Table at lunch.
The Knights of the Round Table at lunch.
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29th Oct 15 Cycle ride Widdington – Henham – Finchingfield – Great Samford

Here is a copy of the route from Widdington.

No doubt Chef de Blog will summarize a stunning ride in the Essex countryside

//www.mapometer.com/embed/route/4192091?view=roadmap&units=miles&notes

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Autumnal incidents, 22 October. 29 miles around the lanes.

Autumnal incident ride
Autumnal incident ride

Today’s ride started and ended at The Pheasant – those pedalling were the two Johnnies, Rod, Maurice and Martin. Sadly, it wasn’t long before the first incident of the day materialised when Rod’s chain misbehaved whilst changing down to the granny cog on the front whilst applying much pressure on the pedals. Result, a chewed up granny which resisted the efforts of chief mechanic Maurice to beat it back into shape with a chunk of wood and so Rod decided to head back to The Pheasant to seek a new granny. Shortly afterwards, just outside John T’s lovely house in Widdington, Maurice declared a puncture which was mended in John’s garage whilst the rest of us enjoyed a coffee prepared by Bridget. Thanks, Bridget!

On we pedalled through potholed lanes admiring the autumn colours when Martin thumped into a deep pothole at full pelt whilst behind Maurice, who had pointed it out but Martin was not paying attention, as usual. Result, loud swearing, threats to sue the Council, a dislodged water bottle and handlebars but, luckily, no other damage to bike or rider. A stop at The Yew Tree in Manuden proved coffee-less as the staff were busy eating and so we set off for Rickling instead. Incident no. 4 then emerged – a serious noise from the front forks of John T’s bike which turned out to be a leaf situation only. Sub-mechanic John B was able to dislodge said leaf with the help of the stem of another leaf, of which there were many to choose from. The Cricketers in Rickling was a splendid stop and the friendly landlord was a keen cyclist. We all agreed a return visit was necessary.

The hi-viz brigade outside The Cricketers in Rickling
The hi-viz brigade outside The Cricketers in Rickling

Then it was back for a delicious lunch at The Pheasant via Arkesden, Duddenhoe End and Chrishall, to end a very pleasant but incident filled autumnal ride. Thanks to Maurice for organising it, who announced over lunch that a grand total of approx £1,000 might again be raised for charity this year.

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Not strictly a Windmill Club ride……………………………….

On Thursday 15 October, Ken W and Martin W deserted their fellow members to take part in a 70km bike ride around the Peak District organised by a specialist bike tour company, Le Domestique, and which was sponsored by Barclays Bank. Starting and finishing at Bakewell, the hills were more challenging than our usual Thursday rides, including a short 25% incline, and climbing to 425 metres at one point. The steep descents on muddy lanes were quite scary. A half way stop at Buxton provided a much needed coffee and tart (of the Bakewell variety) for the return leg, the ride taking 5.25 hours in total. Although Ken and Martin were the tail end Charlies the whole way, they somehow survived the ordeal. The weather was overcast and wet at times but when the scenery could be seen, it was stunning.

Here is a link to the route taken. Note the elevation plot!  https://www.strava.com/routes/2947652

Buxton Opera House
Buxton Opera House
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Pleasant Pheasant circuit, 12 October. 17 miles.

Deputy dawg Andrew R, also now known as dirty dawg, organised a very pleasant anti-clockwise ride around the villages of Little Chishill, Lower Langley, Clavering, Arkesden, Duddenhoe End, Chrishall and Heydon, before returning to The Pheasant for a scrumptious helping of goujons and chips. Those taking part were both Andrews, Lynn B, Keith and Martin W. John B joined us at the pub where a jolly time was had by all. Thanks go to DD, for organising the ride, and Ollie and Simon for their kind hospitality.

All the colours of the rainbow in Arkesden
All the colours of the rainbow in Arkesden

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The Cycling refreshment challenge

Quite a variation in refreshments consumed on a recent cycle ride to St Ives.

Question is which has the highest alcohol content and who drank it ??

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01 October 15 circuit Wendens Ambo – Ashdon – Cornish Hall End – Thaxted – Widdington.

Maurice W,John B, John T, Keith Naylor met at Andrew R’s house in Wendens Ambo to enjoy some late summer Essex sunshine completing a 37 miles circuit   Wendens Ambo – Ashdon – Cornish Hall End – Thaxted – Widdington.

The coffee stop was at Thaxted accompanied by Maurice’s obligatory Scone & Jam followed by a brilliant over 60’s £8.50 !! lunch at the Fleur De Lys in Widdington.

Mechanics Warner and Rusack came to the rescue of John B’s aging Peugeot stuck in reverse gear. Unfortunately it was not a quick fix and the old banger was pushed using all hands on deck to Wenden Garage who had it repaired the next day much to the relief of John B.

Here is a copy of the stunning country route.

//www.mapometer.com/embed/route/4177466?view=roadmap&units=miles&notes

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8th October Guided Bus route Trumpington – St Ives – Click on this link to see the detailed route

//www.mapometer.com/embed/route/4181426?view=roadmap&units=miles&notes

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8th October, guided down the guided busway to St Ives and back via Willingham. 40 miles

Today’s ride, organised by our leader Maurice and attended by Andrew R, John B, John T, Keith, Howard and Martin, started from Trumpington Park and Ride and took us swiftly into Cambridge along the guided busway, but not as swiftly as the buses which whizz along silently at high speed, perilously close to cyclists at times. From the centre of Cambridge we had a scenic ride over Midsummer Common and then alongside the river and the grubby narrow boats to Chesterton, where we headed up to Milton Road to join the guided busway again to St Ives, crossing various roads en route. Whilst smooth and fast the route got a bit tedious after a couple of miles but counting the many buses helped to pass the time. Howard had a puncture which Maurice helped mend whilst the rest of us pedalled on to St Ives for much needed caffeine, to avoid falling asleep on the return leg. It wasn’t long before Howard and Maurice arrived to join us at the splendid River Tea Rooms on the River Ouse by the disused bridge (for traffic).

The River Tea Room at St. Ives on an idyllic Autumn day.
The River Tea Rooms at St. Ives on an idyllic Autumn day.
The Johns in deep discussion
The Johns in deep discussion

Then it was off to say hello to Oliver Cromwell who was born in Huntingdon in 1599 and lived in St Ives from 1631 until 1636.

Oliver Cromwell and his  faithful supporters
Oliver Cromwell and his faithful supporters

And then it was back more or less the way we came but with a pleasant diversion through Over to Willingham where we stopped at the auction rooms for lunch outside in blazing sunshine, and an interesting selection of beers of varying alcoholic strength.

Thanks, Maurice for guiding us along the guided busway!

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25th September, extended edition

This was indeed a glorious ride and thanks to Deputy Dawg, alias Andrew Rusack, for organising it (and not stopping every 5 minutes to repair punctures). After last week’s record tally of punctures, Andrew had a couple more on returning from the Duxford Air Show, but claimed he enjoyed the walk back to Wendens Ambo.

Today’s ride included a fast downhill from Therfield, followed by a panic pedal along suicide alley (the A505) before quiet lanes again to Litlington, Steeple Morden and Ashwell, where we stopped at The Jester, near the station for coffees / beers in about equal numbers. Then it was mountain climbing time with a long ride back to the Therfield / Sandon ridge where the views were superb and the riders split into 2 groups for the final miles home. Those who went via Therfield clocked up 29 miles whilst those who took the scenic route via Sandon did 33 miles. Needless to say, the final ascent towards Great Chishill up the Seven Sisters resulted in Alison being very busy on the beer pumps in The Pheasant, where a good lunch was had by all.

Happy jesters / piss artists at The Jester in Ashwell.
Happy jesters / piss artists at The Jester in Ashwell.
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24th Sept 15 Gt Chishill -Reed -Litlington -Ashwell Circuit

24th Sept 15 Gt Chishill – Reed – Litlington – Ashwell circuit.

Here is the map for our glorious Thursday ride in the company of Andrew R, Vernon G, Martin W, Ken W, John B & John T.

//www.mapometer.com/embed/route/4173027?view=roadmap&units=miles&notes

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Christmas lunch at The Pheasant on Thursday 10th Dec 15

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Christmas Lunch  (note the amended start time)

We shall be having our annual Christmas lunch at The Pheasant  on Thursday 10th Dec 15  – 12.00  for 13.00, everyone is welcome including others halves .

If you are planning to go and wish to book places, please send Deputy Andrew an email headed Windmill Club Christmas Lunch indicating how many in your party.  The email address is andrew@thsolutions.org.uk

Deputy A

andrew@thsolutions.org.uk

07711579162

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17 Sept 15 ride map slightly delayed publication due recovering from multiple punctures !!

17 Sept 15 ride map – slightly delayed publication due recovering from multiple punctures !!

//www.mapometer.com/embed/route/4169202?view=roadmap&units=miles&notes

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17 September 2015, circuit from / to The Pheasant via Barley, Fowlmere, Great Shelford and Ickleton. 28 miles.

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The ride started at 9.30am and stopped almost immediately outside the windmill at Great Chishill for a photocall – watch for a change in the blog’s cover pic soon, as above, featuring our leader Maurice, deputy dawg Andrew R, Vernon, John T, Ken W and Martin W. This was to be only the first of many more stops!

The second was a stop at Fowlmere aerodrome where we were allowed into the hangar to see a collection of aircraft in use, including a magnificent Gypsy Moth biplane. We also saw this memorial to Canadians based at Fowlmere during WW II:IMG_20150917_102635714_HDR

Then it was a stop at the deli in Shelford for a delicious cup of coffee before the first of THREE punctures affecting our erstwhile deputy. Here he is mending the first outside Sawston with the help of our chief mechanic Maurice:

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Stop no. 5 was for refreshments in Martin’s garden in Ickleton followed by nos. 6 and 7 to attend to Andrew’s additional punctures, the first of which involved squirting gooey stuff into the rear tube to save taking the wheel off. Did it work I hear you say? Half a mile later Andrew was surrounded in foam emerging from his tyre in vast amounts at which point we left him to it and cycled on!

IMG_20150917_132339261Being late for lunch by this time, Maurice generously came to Andrew’s rescue by bringing his van to pick him up but by the time they met our deputy had fitted a new tube and pedalled furiously as far as Heydon. The moral of this story? Check tyres for small flints before each ride and buy quality tubes and tyres! 

So, eventually, we all sat down to an excellent lunch at The Pheasant where we were joined by Kell who was looking very well and had been back on his bike.

Thanks to Andrew for organising such an interesting and eventful ride!