The Reach Ride approaches

This article was published in 2017, in Newsletter 131.

Enclosed in this newsletter is a leaflet for the eleventh annual Reach Ride, a cycle ride to the Fair in the village of Reach which will be held on Bank Holiday Monday 1 May.

As many of our members already know, the Reach Ride is a free event and there is no registration required – just turn up and ride!

The distance to and from Reach is 29 miles in total. There are marshals to help keep everyone on the right route and there will also be signage to direct people.

The ride is mostly off road, following designated cycle routes, and therefore is perfect for a leisurely, relaxing cycle ride and excellent for a family day out. Plus of course there is the Reach Fair itself, a traditional country fair with dancing around the May Pole, fun-fair rides and food and drink stalls.

The route starts from the Guildhall at 10am although people begin to gather from 9am. The ride from Cambridge takes us along the river, passing through Newmarket Park & Ride at about 10.30am, a convenient place to start for people who wish to join a little later. We follow National Cycle Network (NCN) route 51 to Bottisham which runs along an off-road cycle path all the way to the village. At Bottisham we turn left and head towards Lode following NCN route 11. This is on road, though for some of it there is a shared-use cycleway that some will prefer to use. After Lode there are a few miles in open fenland, where the roads are quiet with occasional agricultural traffic. We arrive at Reach after a half mile of gentle uphill – the only gradient on the route – in time for the official opening of the Fair with proclamations from dignitaries and the traditional throwing of pennies.

Bicycle parking is in a field where riders can lock bikes together and there may be some temporary bicycle parking available. As usual we’ve been asked to remind participants not to lock their bikes to the cemetery fence.

Ely Cycling Campaign will also be bringing a group of riders from Ely via NCN11 along the river and through the scenic Fens. They will be leaving from Jubilee Gardens in Ely at 10.15am and plan to meet up with the Cambridge contingent in Reach at noon. The distance to Reach from Ely is 13 miles.

Image as described adjacent

Both groups will leave the Fair at about 2pm and riders can choose to return to Ely or Cambridge. Riders could even combine the routes and either start or finish the ride in Ely and take their bicycles on the train. All train companies accept bicycles without reservations except the Birmingham to Stansted train run by CrossCountry.

Would you like to help? We always need help distributing leaflets before the Ride, plus marshals on the day. We also have a reconnaissance ride on Saturday 26 April to sweep the route and check for problems. Meet at 10am at the Guildhall.

So put the Reach Ride into your diary for 1st May, and the leaflet on your pinboard, or even better put it up at your workplace, or around the city. Convince your family and friends who haven’t been before to join us – it really is a great day out.

Willa McDonald