2001 Festival of Cycling

This article was published in 2001, in Newsletter 37.

This year’s Cambridge Festival of Cycling turned out to be our biggest ever. Normally, the small group of organisers feel quite worn out by the end of the week, so we decided to do less this year, that is until Clare had the brainwave of calling in the Company of Cyclists and getting the local authorities to make a contribution from their budget for promoting sustainable transport.

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Eliza Hembrow tackles the Micro Bike. Could these be the new scooter craze? – No! Thirty of us enjoyed a picnic beside the Roman Road at Copley Hill, just past Wandlebury

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Four-seater quadricycle at the try-out show

A new member of the group contributed a stunning poster that was widely circulated around the city and used as the basis for features in Adhoc. With additional help from the safer cycling promoter at the County Council, news of the festival spread far and wide.

Despite cold and wet weather, business at our first event, Dr Bike, was brisk: over 50 bikes were given free safety checks, and police security coded a similar number.

The cycle try-out show stands out as our biggest festival event to date. One hundred and sixty people came to try the 40 different bikes at the back of Addenbrooke’s. There was even an appearance from Olympic gold medal cyclist Chris Boardman, there to promote cycle security marking. He was seen riding a Mike Burrows recumbent and a photo of him and his son riding a 4-seater appeared in the local newspaper.

The 16 of us who went to see the Arts Picture House presentation of A boy, A girl and a bike had a real treat. A motorist’s head is turned by a girl (Honor Blackman) on a bike and although he pursues her, in the end he falls in love with cycling. I enjoyed spotting the subtle placement advertising for BSA.

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Soham Downfield Mill. We had the chance to explore the inside of this mill, which was working until recently Breakfast at Hobbs Pavilion Restaurant

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Chris Boardman tries out a recumbent tricycle – and likes it

After the film, three of us caught up with the ride to Wandlebury and were delighted to find a group of 30 picnicking in the meadows. We had a strong turnout for the free cyclists’ breakfast again and we welcome very much the support of the new restaurateur at Hobbs Pavilion, Jamil Akhtar. He ensured we had an excellent breakfast of toast, croissant, juice, tea and coffee. Thanks too for the continuing support of Cambridge-shire County Council Travelwise who subsidised the breakfast.

After five events in five days there was a break before our final event on one of the sunniest days of the year so far. This year’s all-day leisurely ride was our largest participation event of the Festival. Led by Sarah Elsegood – a keen windmill enthusiast – 46 cyclists set off from Parker’s Piece for Fulbourn, Little Wilbraham, Swaffham Prior, Burwell, Soham Downfield and Wicken windmills. At Soham there was an opportunity to look around the mill and meet the miller, Andrew Kite. We received a warm welcome at Wicken corn mill from mill restorer David Pierce and saw the sails turning. Morning tea was taken at Anglesey Abbey and we had picnics at Burwell and Wicken. Dr Bike was on hand to mend any punctures, and we all had an enjoyable day’s cycling.

Although the organisers are yet to meet to review the week, I thought we had a great time and thanks to all our volunteers and sponsors who contributed marvellously to the smooth running of the events. I dare say we’ll be doing more next year!

Simon Nuttall