Having taken on the task of organising this year’s Reach Ride, bank holiday Monday found me up early to get the Campaign’s stall bike out of storage and down to the Market Square before anyone else turned up. However, it turned out that if you say ‘9.00am for 9.30 departure’ you’ll get people arriving before 8.30 …
Among the early arrivals were the team from You Can Bike Too, there to deliver the mayor’s transport. We were soon joined by Mayor Gerri Bird and her team of councillors who would be pedalling her to the fair. As the crowd gathered, there was time for a photo shoot with Cambridge News.
Flags were handed out and as departure approached I decided it was time to welcome everyone and give a briefing – only to see the mayor on the other side of the square already heading out, keen to get to the fair, with many people following. So, quickly packing up, I ended up forming a rearguard, chatting away happily as I went. I was very grateful for the assistance when the stall bike had a minor mechanical problem.
On the way I rode with families merrily making the journey, some who’d been before but many for the first time… but no sign of the mayor. At the agreed rendezvous… no one. But I was early. A call was made which confirmed that she wasn’t already at the fair, so I and a few others waited. Sure enough, the mayoral party had rested at the railway bridge. They then appeared, all smiles, so we set off on the final stretch into the fair. With most people already having arrived it was a slightly less grand entrance than planned, but everyone was happy. The mayor and councillors headed off to the village hall to change, while I headed off to park and meet with our chairman.
A team led by Tom set to work putting Campaign ‘thank you’ flyers on the handlebars of every bike they could find – I hope that this leads to a few new members joining us. Robin, our chairman, headed off to further reaches of the fair to post more flyers and to count saddles, finding over 800. Not everyone had ridden from Cambridge – quite a few came from the surrounding villages, with some very enthusiastic riders coming all the way from Kings Lynn.
With the day being fine and there having been no return briefing, the ride home was rather more spread out. I left with friends some time after 2.00pm, joining a fairly steady stream of riders on the roads and paths out across the fens and into town.
All in all, it was a grand day out and the mayor says she did enjoy taking part in the tradition of travelling to the fair by bike. Thanks to You Can Bike Too and Marshalls Group for making that possible, to the Reach Fair committee for organising the bike parking, and to everyone who came along. Special thanks also to Simon for all the work he’s done over the years to create an institution. I hope to see you all there next year.