Monday, October 13, 2014

Cambridge to Kirtling and back– much on tracks and trails

Friday, 25th July 2014: After a bunch of days not riding my new bike I cracked and the temptation by Friday was too great. My plan was to cycle along a few of the byways and bridleways to the east of Cambridge. It was an excuse to go out on my 29er again really. I headed out along the Roman Road and then along the Icknield Way Trail to Balsham. I headed out of Balsham on another byway to a pumping station. then after a short ride up a hill I followed the Icknield Way trail across to Brook Lane (a byway) (connected by a short bit of road.) It was then byway (and a ford)  to Carlton where I should have turned left. Instead I turned right and took a slightly longer route to Great Bradley and Water Lane and another ford.

I then cycled along the Stour Valley Path past some weirs to Kirtling. from Kirtling there was a bridleway to Little Ditton. Then after a short climb up Maypole Lane another bridleway took me close to Newmarket.  At this point I then took a more direct route back eventually joining NCN51 at Bottisham. 

Here is the Bike Route Toaster map – the route is a shade over 70Km 43miles with a good chunk of off-road, which I have highlighted on the map below. As Cambridge is pretty dry and it was summer the trails were all pretty reasonable. until I got my new 29er I happily cycled on them on my Marin with 25mm tyres.

Loads of apples – Worsted Street

Map of the ride – yellow bits are byways/bridleways

A wiggly Roman Road – almost a cycling solitude

The turn to Balsham

this track can get pretty rutted and difficult when wet.  This time around it was pretty flat and dry – it would have been easy on a normal bike.

Byway to Balsham

The byway opens out – with crops ripening in the fields.

Byway to Balsham aka Icknield Way Trail

The view back down the Byway to Balsham

The view back down the Byway to Balsham

The unnamed byway out of Balsham

Thus track just before reaching the Pumping Station is awful on my Marin with 25mm tyres – it was fine on my 29er with 2.3” tyres.

Byway to the Pumping Station

Looking back at Wadlow Wind Farm (near Crick’s Farm)

Ripening Crops – just by the B1052

Brook Lane

Ford – River Stour – looks a bit dry!

My 29er has acquired a saddlebag, odd perhaps on an MTB but I don’t like to travel without a pump, multi-tool, patches, zip ties and spare inner tubes. I cycled through the Ford, but the ground was so dry you can hardly tell. It wasn’t much of a challenge.

Ford – River Stour – Great Bradley

Kirtling bridleway

Another unnamed bridleway  (leaving Woodditton)

You can see all the way to the Newmarket Race course

Another unnamed bridleway – heading towards Newmarket

Combining getting underway


There is a steep slow as you climb 2over” the Cambridge to Ipswich railway line – I stopped to take the pictures honest. Did I mention my new bike – well it is a 2x10, instead of having three cogs on the front it has two. The compromise is not the easy gears, but the higher gears. It was well capable of twiddling up the hill – even of the rider wasn’t.

Cambridge to Ipswich Railway Line

Cambridge to Ipswich Railway Line

I will have to check out ways of creating a larger b&b* circle route. (*bridleways and byways). it is so much nicer than cycling on noisy, smelly roads when you don’t have to. The 29er takes the sting out of trail riding – no doubt about that.

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