Perfect weather, effectively targeted leafleting and careful planning all helped make this bike ride a very well attended success on bank holiday Monday, 5 May 2014.
After very short welcome speeches we left promptly at noon from the Guildhall. Riders joined us at many locations along the way: at the river crossings, the Newmarket Road Park & Ride site and beyond. At Bottisham we’d changed the route and we reckon about 100 or more went the old way via the Swaffhams. The new route took the rest of us slightly further via Lode, approaching Reach from the north-west. We counted 575 riders entering the village from that direction. We had a new cycle parking area, which had flat and mown grass, and it soon filled up with bikes parked in groups. Robin surveyed all the cycle parking in Reach and counted a total of 988 seats – and that means that over 20% of the people attending the Fair arrived by bicycle.
There were lots of children with their families at the event – many more than we’ve seen before – and that is a tribute to the very effective distribution of our leaflet to schools, thanks to Outspoken Delivery. The perfect conditions enticed us to cycle a little faster than normal and the head of the ride arrived soon after 11.30am in good time to witness the opening of the Fair at noon.
We received many delightful comments via the #ReachRide Twitter tag and on Facebook. For many it was the first time they’d done the event, for others the first time they’d cycled so far, and others mentioned that they’d brought their kids.
We started our way back at 2pm with a big group that gradually spread out then dispersed as we got nearer to Cambridge. A core group of veterans rode back the Guildhall for our annual survivors’ photograph at 4.30pm.
After ten years of developing this ride we’ve decided to have a fallow year, and so the ride will return in 2016.