So having previously made loads of very dubious excuses as to why it wasn’t suitable to go caching on my new bike, today I actually bit the proverbial bullet. Oh yes! The bike went in the back of the car, with the front wheel off, and off I went. I’d been havering about doing the Essex-Herts Broder series but couldn’t find anywhere I liked for parking. I don’t really like leaving the current cachemobile in the middle of nowhere on a concrete pad that a farmer might decide he wants to use for dumping organic fertilizer. So that series is quite hard work. I was, however, discussing “stuff” with a certain local reviewer-come-cacher and she suggested I take my bike over to Girton. It’s near Cambridge, and it has a couple of series that run over brand-new, beautifully surfaced cycleways. Ideal. That’ll do then.
So off I went and did my normal routine – diesel, coffee and snacks at the garage on the way out, and then hit the Bedford Bypass.
Through the Village
My first stop was in a public car park next to playing fields in the centre of Girton. I picked here for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a nice big car park in the middle of a village, so a low likelihood of the car being in someone else’s way. Secondly, it’s a convenient place for the first caching series. And finally, there was nobody else there when I arrived, so there was plenty of room to muck about with sorting out the bike and associated shenanigans. It was just before 9am on a Sunday morning, and there was nobody else in the car park at all.
First up I noticed there was a Church Micro within 100m, so I walked to that before getting on with prepping the bike.
Once on the bike I headed south down a busy road towards Girton College. And then turned north-west around another side of the college campus. Thankfully there wasn’t a lot of pedestrian traffic around and I was mainly able to cycle carefully on the road or often along the pavement. Once I turned the corner the pavement was marked as a cycle route.
Somehow, somewhere around here, a little earworm popped into my head. I can’t help it. Stuff happens. Anyway, the soundtrack to my day (apparently) went something like this…..
When me rock and roll records wake him up
When the Poles knock England out the cup
When the kids are banging on his door
When the barman won’t serve him any more
Chas & Dave have got a lot to answer for.
The Girton Pedal Power Series
At the point where the road crosses the concrete confusion of the M11 and A428 I crossed over onto the spanking new, perfectly surfaced and muck-free cycleway. This was the start of the Girton Pedal Power series. I’d previously been doing caches from the Girton Corner series.
Anyway, the Pedal Power series proved to be swift. Most of the hides were pretty easy and most of them were in good condition. In addition, I have a handlebar mount for my GPS and the bike has a kick-stand. Those mean that essentially I could cycle to “close enough” and then simply jump off the bike to make the find. There was no messing around with putting the GPS in and out of pockets, or trying to find somewhere to prop the bike. Just wash-and-go, as it were. This made it quick going.
The Pedal Power circuit goes about 4km out alongside the M11 on a completely new bit of road, and then turns back down the other side to come back straight into Girton. At the very far end there’s a further couple of km of the “Pedal Power Bonus” – and out and back, but on a bike that’s fine.
When I got back into Girton Village I rejoined the Girton Corner series for a few more around the western edge of the village. There was a stretch here where I got off the bike and pushed it, partly because it was narrow and partly because there was a lot of tree debris. I didn’t want to risk a puncture.
Histon to Rampton and back
From Girton I decided to head up to Oakington to do some of the “Histon to Rampton and back” series. There’s a loop at the top of that which goes out alongside the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway and back down a more “rural” route.
This section was somewhat harder going than the morning. The caches were a bit more difficult to find and I DNF’d a couple of them. Also, that “rural” route was a couple of km of worrying about punctures again. It was uneven, stony, and covered in broken bits of trees. I managed to escape unscathed though.
Cambridge American Cemetery
So after all that biking, I’d made 79 finds and it was about 3 in the afternoon. Too early to give up, but too late to start another big series. So I decided to finish my day at Cambridhe American Cemetery. There’s a set of Adventure Labs there with an associated bonus and a couple of others.
It made for a half-hour in a more reflective mood. The Ad Labs take you around the Cemetery site, so I plodded around at a leisurely pace taking in the mood and the scale of it. There are over 3,000 graves of known servicemen as well as a commemorative wall for over 5,000 further servicemen who were lost on air raids from the UK or lost in the North Atlantic and who were never found. It was well worth the visit and a very good place to finish off my day.
By the end of all this, I’d made 86 finds on my day at Girton. They were: