Reach Ride 2024 brings miles of cycling joy!

Two women on cycles - one wears a red helmet and bright pink coat, the other wears a pale blue helmet with blue and grey clothing. Behind them are green willows and nettles and tall white cow parsley.

Despite a pessimistic forecast of rain and lightning, around 850 people cycled to the 2024 Reach Fair on the May Day Bank holiday, enjoying mild weather, beautiful spring countryside and all the delights of the historic fair. Camcycle and Ely Cycling Campaign were delighted with the turnout for their annual guided rides, which saw many people discovering the cycle event for the first time alongside hundreds of happy returners.

Easha and Fatima on the Reach Ride

Fatima Zahra (right) rode from Cambridge with her friend Easha, who persuaded her it would be a nice way to explore further than the city with the assistance of a guided ride. They found the journey, of around 15 miles, easier than they expected. Fatima said:

“I started cycling in September to get to work and back in Cambridge – it’s really accessible and easy for a beginner to get started – but I haven’t been on any long-distance cycle journeys before. It’s been a lovely day for a cycle ride. We were a bit concerned about the weather, but luckily the clouds took mercy on us!”

Aura and Ella in Reach

Aura, aged 12, and Ella, 11, thought the ride was hard, “but we did it!” Aura said the best bit was “cycling with everyone”, while Ella enjoyed “seeing the countryside and all the flowers we were passing – it was really pretty.”

Steve and Nina the dog, six-year-old Kitty
Nina gets ready in her basket at the start of the Reach Ride; six-year-old Kitty from Bottisham celebrates reaching Reach!

There were two Penny-Farthing riders on the route, three dogs on bikes and a brilliant bunch of six-year olds who were pedalling the journey for the first time. One of them was Kitty from Bottisham who received a big welcoming cheer when she cycled down the hill into the village.

Departure photo before the Reach Ride from Ely.

Other cyclists included around 30 who rode from Ely with Ely Cycling Campaign (above), King’s Lynn-based representatives of KLWNBUG (the Norfolk and Fens Cycling Campaign) and cycling visitors from Essex, Suffolk and Kent. The most far-flung Reach Rider was Mary from Michigan, who fulfilled a long-held ambition to take part!

In keeping with its 823-year old tradition, the Reach Fair was opened by the Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Jenny Gawthrope Wood, and pennies were thrown for children to collect. The return rides which departed to Ely at 2pm and Cambridge at 2.30pm saw some rain, but thankfully not as much as expected.

Reach Fair
View from the top of the Reach Fair’s Big Wheel and Mayor Cllr Jenny Gawthrope-Wood continuing the tradition of throwing pennies for children

Camcycle’s CEO, Roxanne De Beaux, said:

The Reach Ride just gets better and better: today has been an amazing success. Camcycle would like to thank all those who make this event run so smoothly – our brilliant staff and volunteer teams, our busy team of roving mechanics from Outspoken Cycles, Cambridge City Council who support this ride and Cambridgeshire County Council who were busy mending potholes near Reach just last week. We’re delighted that so many people enjoyed riding with us and hope it’s just the start of a wonderful summer of cycling around Cambridgeshire.”

The 17th Reach Ride is planned for Bank Holiday Monday 5 May, 2025. Camcycle invites expressions of interest from Cambridgeshire organisations that would like to find out more about joining the ride as a local sponsor.