Tuesday 5 May 2015

Reach Ride - Monday 4 May 2015

The Reach Ride goes from Cambridge town hall to Reach, a village around 10 miles north east from the city. The goal is the Reach Fair which has been running for over 800 years since King John granted it a charter.

The Reach Ride has become a very popular ride amongst Cambridgeshire residents. People travel to Cambridge to do the ride from all over the county. The seat count reached over 800 again this year.

It's a good natured ride and is frequented by road racer types as well as families. The pace is aimed at the latter, so it makes it very welcoming across the widest spectrum of riders. It's great to see even quite young riders happy to take on the 27 miles round trip. When it's split into two, and with the promise of ice-cream and rides in the middle, it's a very attractive proposition!

And it's not only riders. That good humour extends across people outdoors. I don't think I've had so many smiles and friendly greetings when out riding normally. Yes, it happens, but rarely, for example, from single women out jogging or walking the dog. Perhaps it's one of those few chances we have to remind ourselves that normally people are good and we don't have to behave as if everyone is out to get us all the time.

There was a little confusion this year as the Mayor's cycle couldn't use the official route. This should really be seen as a little nudge that cycle-paths should be planned with all types of cyclist in mind. Not everyone is on two wheels. When I arrived on time for the proper start, everyone was already gone. And in trying to catch along the published route I managed to overtake main party quite early on!

As a result of trying to catch up with a group that was quickly behind me, I managed to have lots of time at the Reach end. I settled on exploring up through Wicken Fen and back round via Upware before the fair, then a brief rumble out to Burwell and back after lunch. I can't help feeling that some people, like myself, who may not have a great fascination for the actual Fair, might like to take a wander further up to Wicken Fen as a more official trip. I pushed it a little too far this time, managing a total of 47 miles. And "bonking" around 2 miles from home.

I managed to get several clips, and did manage to do several passes of the (smaller) group on the way back. Faces are always good on these rides, please tag yourself!

Click here to see the map bigger.

Slightly Lonely Journey There  (Go HD see * below)

0:11 A few people still at the start mopping up.
0:45 The normal jam under Victoria Avenue completely missing!
1:25 Relief at the first signs of a group.
1:40 Not a very big group though, huh?
2:25 Newmarket Road Park & Ride, some more groups, but not moving, huh?
2:30 Small discussion about ride. I continue.
3:25 A few stragglers at Quy, where is everyone?
3:40 Last rider? Unbeknown to me, I'd already passed the main group!
4:20 Bottisham centre.
5:05 Swaffham Bulbeck centre. Empty roads!
5:33 Road cyclists pass.
5:50 Swaffham Prior centre.
6:07 Closed Roads! Although this proved a little unreliable.
6:50 Reach Fair!

People on the Way Back (Go HD see * below)

Apologies for the sound track, it just seemed so appropriate!
0:11 Final look at the Fair
0:30 An awful lot of parked cars for a closed road?
0:43 A car, even more strange for a closed road!
1:11 Road Closed sign. Ignored by a lot of drivers. Illegally.
1:30 Nice to pass lots of riders after the mornings mix-up!
1:50 A good look at the front riders, face on!
2:30 And back to passing the group again
3:20 Another look back at the riders coming past.
4:15 A couple heading to Waterbeach, needing to walk some of the way.
4:40 And into Lode.
5:10 And the main Quy Road, nearly back up to the front.

Wicken Fen and Upware Circuit (Go HD see * below)

0:11 Leaving Reach heading north then east to Wicken Fen.
0:50 Some riders! Hmm, and a car on a closed road
0:54 Camera fail, restart at first junction.
1:35 Bridge over Reach Lode. Very nice!
1:49 Rejoined proper track
2:20 Very awkward bridge, I had trouble with just a little day bag.

              This is a barrier to quite a few riders, I expect.
2:55 Main part of Wicken Fen, lots of riders! Ely people coming to Reach Fair?
3:00 With space available and people walking and riding, a bit more path width?
3:45 Another camera stop to look up route round horrible A1123 road.
4:45 Pretty rough track, probably not good in winter.
5:00 The Upware road! 3 of 7 car passes were not good.

              This is the alternative to the problematic Wicken Fen bridge?
6:00 Upware! Always seemed so fantastically distant
6:45 This is mapped as an unclassified road, not a track!
7:30 Back on the NCN11 cycle-route.
7:45 Road Closed being ignored by drivers, again.
8:10 Pulled in to let a car pass.
8:30 Lots of non-local parked cars
8:40 To the cycle parking!

Burwell Short Circuit (Go HD see * below)

0:11 Bit confused by cyclists coming towards me on this side of the road!
0:13 And car on the other side?
0:18 Ah, all becomes clear, walking/riding one side, cars managed on other, very good!
0:24 Driver doesn't really understand road controls, can't go up to it!
0:35 Dip out into car space as none coming.
0:43 End of control section, take back road to Burwell.
0:50 Quite a few people walking and riding from Burwell.
1:03 And a driver!
1:12 Onto a back track up the Burwell Lode.
1:28 Burwell centre.
1:41 Turn back towards the Burwell Lode.
1:50 And back onto the back road back towards Reach.
2:05 Lots more people walking down the path, some the same as before!
2:11 Dad pushing young daughter learning to ride, Excellent!
2:21 Back to the road control.

Return from Lode (Go HD see * below)

0:11 Last big cluster of people, going forward
0:49 Bottisham centre.
1:10 And back towards Quy, be good when the Lode-Quy cyclepath is done!
1:15 Got caught by another faster rider, good chat along the way!
1:28 One of the fast little groups.
2:02 Road crossing in Stow-cum-Quy.
3:10 Newmarket Road Park and Ride.
3:45 Road Crossing in Fen Ditton.
4:40 Back to Riverside.
5:00 My final bit on the main route, I bonked after this!

* How to go HD.


  1. "from all over the county" - Oi, we were there from Norfolk! ;-)

    I did wonder about the change of route. Clearer announcements needed at the start next year?

    1. My apologies! Kings Lynn feels like it's almost Cambridgeshire! ;-)

      I think the needs were not communicated well before the start. So, once it was going, it fell apart a little. Mostly for me though, others did link up.

  2. Crikey, the comment form on this website is awful. Allow three sites to use javascript and then take an eyetest :(

    1. Again, sorry! For tagging it's better to do it on the YouTube clips.

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