Out and About

If you feel like a break and a change of scenery, we’ve found that there are plenty of ideas around. Here’s a quick summary.

Organised Rides

Our Leisurely Sunday rides are on the second and fourth Sundays of every month (until November, when we revert to just the second Sunday). We leave at 2 pm from Lensfield Road’s junction with Brookside. We never race along, and we guarantee a welcome, and never to leave anyone behind. Numbers usually range from three to ten people – and there’s always room for more. We invariably stop for tea and cake along the way.

Members of the local CTC (Cyclists’ Touring Club) organise a range of rides all year long. Non-members are welcome (though regulars are encouraged to join the CTC). There are two rides every Sunday (an all-day ride and an afternoon one), Tuesday and Thursday evening runs mainly for mountain bikers, and Thursday all-day rides.

Sponsored Rides

We try to publicise as many local sponsored rides as possible (those that can be reached by bike, train or bus). They can be a great way to discover new routes, enjoy the camaraderie of cycling in a larger group, and raise money for good causes, all at the same time.

Suggestions for Routes

If you feel like being more independent, or setting out at another time, here are some more sources for ideas.

Paul Cane has put together a very nice web site, called Cambridge Corners , of walks (and rides) away from the Cambridge crowds. It’s aimed at both residents and tourists. Each route is well described, with pointers to places of interest, and an increasing number of photos. Watering holes along the way form an essential part of the routes!

Geoff’s Bike Hire publishes a leaflet with interesting suggestions for rides of varying lengths. It’s available free from their shop in Devonshire Road.

The East of England Tourist Board is continuing its England’s Cycling Country initiative. A 40-page booklet in English and Dutch lists day trips, touring holidays and forest trails in the area. Three cycling packs, full of detailed information, are also available for purchase, for ‘Cambridgeshire & Suffolk’, ‘Norfolk & Suffolk’, and ‘Bedfordshire, Essex & Hertfordshire’. I bought each of these around two years ago, and was impressed with the content.

The County Council’s Countryside Access Team produces a list of various walking and cycling leaflets covering Cambridgeshire. Some are free and some aren’t. Of cycling note are:

R1
Cycling in the Fens
£1.50
R2
Cycling in the Ouse Valley
£1.50
R3
Cycling Around Cambridge
£1.50

There are also quite a few leaflets containing both walks and rides.

The local interest sections in bookshops are packed with books on all sorts of obscure things to see around the county.

Still Further Afield

If you’d like to travel still further afield, it’s surprisingly easy to take bikes on WAGN and Anglia Railways services from Cambridge station.

WAGN runs services from Cambridge to:

  • King’s Lynn (stopping, for example, at Ely)
  • London Liverpool Street (including stops at Audley End and Bishops Stortford)
  • London King’s Cross (including stops at Royston and Shepreth)

Outside peak hours, WAGN does not limit the number of cycles carried on their trains, and it does not charge for cycle carriage. Be careful going to Ely though. Some trains from Cambridge to Ely are run by Central Trains, and they currently require reservation, have a limit of two bikes per train, and charge £3, so check the train’s paintwork before you get on. (Central’s cycle policy is currently under review, however).

Anglia Railways has made space for four bikes on its rural services. From Cambridge, Anglia runs services to:

  • Ipswich (via Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket)

From Bury, you can get an Anglia Plus ticket, which for £7.50 per person, and £1 per bike, gets you all-day unlimited travel on all Anglia Railways routes.

To stretch your horizons, consider taking a train out of Cambridge and cycling home, or travel out to one station, cycle across to another, and catch the train back home. For extra peace of mind, last year Anglia launched a cycle rescue service for cyclists using their local trains. The Environmental Transport Association provides the service. If your bike breaks down, the ETA will transport you to the nearest station.

For more information:

  • WAGN Railway Customer Service phone (0345) 818919
  • Anglia Railways phone (01603) 764776
  • National Rail Enquiries phone (0345) 484950
  • Railtrack timetables: www.railtrack.co.uk
  • TheTrainLine – ticket booking service:
    www.thetrainline.co.uk
  • Suffolk County Council cycle route info:
    www.suffolkcc.gov.uk/central/cycle_path/

Cycling is so much a part of everyday life in Cambridge that sometimes it’s easy to forget how much there is to be seen by bike further afield.

Clare Macrae