Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Too nice a day to be in the office

Well, I seem to have chosen the right year to take an extended summer break; we've not really had a summer with quite such extended spells of warm (verging on the too hot) since '03.

So yesterday I decided to take a spin out along the busway cyclepath up to St. Ives, using the handy map of cycleways that the council produced a while back as guide. And on a bright sunny morning with just a little breeze, covering ground on the generally level -- being the old railway line, after all -- path, it was easy going and great to be out in the countryside, away from roads (though by the same token I can imagine that it would be a horrid ride if you're using it to commute at the weather is dull, windy and wet, with no shelter from the elements.

St Ives

The river at St. Ives

Now, I had been intending to just run up the cycleway, then loop back through the villages; but by the time I got to St. Ives, it was still before midday, and the map showed paths leading onwards that didn't seem to add too much to the total distance I'd have to cover going home.

Hemingford Abbots

Hemingford Abbots church

So I stopped for refreshment at the Axe and Compass -- an eminently civilised pub, with bike stands provided in the car-park, before heading onwards to Huntingdon, and then -- well, since I'd come that far, it wasn't that much further to St. Neots via Grafham Water

Grafham Water

Grafham Water from the cafe

and from there it would only be about as far as from home as St. Ives; and that could all be done on the B1046 until I picked up the normal way home from work.

Trouble was that, by the time I was committed to that loop, it was getting to the hottest part of the day, and there was a total dearth of pubs on the quiet country lanes (where it wasn't actually farm tracks cross country) -- that is a big defect of the Sustrans cycle route I was following -- until it got to be well past closing time, if, indeed they opened at all on Mondays. At least there was a cafe on the side of Grafham Water where I could get a cold drink, but even with that, the fruit and half-gallon of drink I'd packed were on the scant side given the way the heat built up during the afternoon -- memo to self : make it a whole gallon, like I did in France, next time.

That aside, getting home with time for a leisurely soak in the bath before making supper, and sitting out to eat in the cool of the evening over a beer wrapped up what was an enjoyable day, doing about 60 miles in all. And today, probably a gentle ride to the shops by way of recovery.

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