Camcycle’s annual Reach Ride is a leisurely ride through beautiful countryside to the historic fair in the village of Reach. The next ride will be held on Bank Holiday Monday 6 May, 2024.
Why join the Reach Ride?
It’s free, fun and open to all! Hundreds of riders of all ages and on all types of cycle join the Reach Ride each year. It’s an uplifting experience to ride with others and a good way to start exploring the Cambridgeshire countryside for those who are more used to short, everyday cycle journeys. Enjoy the ride and the fun of the fair with family, friends or colleagues.
The main ride to Reach Fair departs from Cambridge, with a smaller group travelling from Ely with members of Ely Cycling Campaign. Other cycle groups sometimes run their own feeder rides too: for example, KLWNBUG from Norfolk and the Fens.
Departure and arrival times
Reach Ride participants begin assembling from 9am for departures at 10am. The pace is leisurely, but aims to reach the village of Reach for the opening of the fair at noon.
If you are riding from Cambridge, come and meet Camcycle in front of Great St Mary’s Church on King’s Parade. We will also have start points at the Green Dragon bridge (departing around 10.15am) and Jubilee Square in the Marleigh development (near Newmarket Road Park & Ride), departing around 10.30am. You can also join at points along the route: the ride passes Stow-cum-Quy church, Bottisham and Lode.
If you are riding from Ely with Ely Cycling Campaign, meet outside Ely railway station. The Ely ride takes a scenic off-road route on National Cycle Network route 11, passing through Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve.
Led return rides will depart from the Reach cycle park to Ely at 2pm and to Cambridge at 2.30pm, although you may wish to travel home independently.
Note two changes to departure points for 2023
In previous years we have met outside the Guildhall, joining groups at the Green Dragon bridge in Chesterton and Newmarket Road Park & Ride. For 2023, we have moved our start point to Great St Mary’s on King’s Parade to provide more space for gathering and reduce conflict in the Market Square. Please be considerate to other road users while gathering or parking cycles before the ride.
This year, we have also changed the Park & Ride section of the route to take in the new Jubilee Square in the new Marleigh development. Toilets are available in Marleigh Community Centre (shown) and Signorelli’s Deli will be hosting a pop-up stall providing coffee, pastries and hot sandwiches nearby.
The ride from Cambridge to Reach follows National Cycle Network routes NCN 51 to Bottisham then NCN 11 via Lode. It is around 15 miles each way. View a map of the route here.
The ride from Ely to Reach follows National Cycle Network route 11 via Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve. It is around 13 miles each way. View a map of the route here.
Cambridge route: The majority of the route from Cambridge to Bottisham uses off-road paths. Sections of the on-road route between Lode and Reach are challenging due to the poor condition of the road surface and may not be suitable for less experienced riders or those cycling multi-track cycles (e.g. tricycles) who are unable to dismount.
Ely route: This route includes more off-road, unpaved sections, which are unlikely to be suitable for some cycles e.g. road bikes. Please come prepared. The bridge at Burwell Lode (known as the ‘Cock-Up Bridge’) has steps with wheeling channels, but no ramp, and is unsuitable for wheelchairs and inclusive cycles.
Who can join?
There is no need to register or pay for the Reach Ride: it is free of charge and open to everyone of any age, ability and type of cycle (although please note details of the length and type of each route above as some sections are not fully inclusive). You can do choose a shorter ride by beginning at a later point on the route or joining for a section only. Some cyclists (e.g. those with younger pedalling children) start ahead of time to ensure they reach the fair by noon. Signs are put up to guide the route between Cambridge and Reach.
All children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Participants are responsible for their own safe and legal cycling and that of any minors they are accompanying. Please ensure you follow the Highway Code and that your bike is in suitable condition for the ride. You can join and leave the ride at any time.
Camcycle marshals will be on hand to guide the route and a team of mechanics from Outspoken Cycles can help with simple bike problems (there may be charges for parts).
The ride arrives in Reach for the opening of the historic country fair at noon by the Mayor of Cambridge.
The fair dates back over 800 years and still has the tradition of throwing pennies for “the poor villagers” – children today scrabble for as many as they can. There are stalls, fairground rides, a maypole, Morris dancing and food and drink tents. It’s perfect for a family day out.
Bike security at the Fair
Please ensure you park your cycle in the designated area. The cycle parking at Reach Fair is on the left as you approach the village centre (accessed via The Hythe). It is a field within walking distance of the fair. We suggest you lock bikes together in groups, at your own risk.
Note that the official cycle parking area is only accessible to those entering the village from the west (via Great Lane) which is the way the Camcycle and Ely Cycling Campaign groups will travel. Due to the size and busyness of the Fair itself, those riding to the event from the east (via Burwell and Swaffham Roads) will need to find alternative parking options.
What to bring
On the day, make sure you bring water, snacks, weather-suitable clothing (e.g. sunhats, raincoats), a bike lock and cash to buy food and enjoy the fair. It is also advisable to bring a basic repair kit including a cycle pump.
Toilets are available in Jubilee Square, at the Newmarket Road Park & Ride site and at the fair in Reach. For the Ely ride, there are toilets at Ely station and Wicken Fen nature reserve.
A fun day out!
- “I enjoyed the nature on the way to the fair and back. I even saw a snake (by the Lode’s path) but unfortunately it was dead. The fair was amazing and I got a lot of exercise!” – Jesaelle
- “I couldn’t believe we cycled as long as a marathon is, going to Reach and back. I’m proud of doing it.” – Garris
Some images from previous years
(video by Rad Wagon)
(video by Antony Carpen)
(video by Matthew Danish)
Previous years’ events
- 2022: Event report
- 2019: Event report
- 2018 : Announcement (web, newsletter, key info), Report (blog, newsletter, personal account)
- 2017 : Announcement (web, newsletter), Report (blog, newsletter)
- 2016 : Announcement (web, newsletter), Report (blog, newsletter)
- 2015 : Announcement (web, newsletter), Report
- 2014 : Announcement (newsletter), Report, Personal account
- 2013 : Announcement (newsletter), Report
- 2012 : Announcement (web, newsletter), Report
- 2011 : Announcement (web, newsletter), Report
- 2010 : Announcement (web, newsletter), Report
- 2009 : Announcement (web, newsletter), Report
- 2008 : Announcement (web, newsletter)
- 2007 : Announcement (newsletter), Report
- Other events: Ride for Joy (2010); rides in 2006
See also 10 years of the Reach Ride.