The heavens were kind to us during Bike Week this year and held the rain at bay until about fifteen minutes before the end of our final event. A combination of sunshine and attractive events meant that the numbers of participants beat all records. Of course, this was also due to the willingness of those who helped. We must thank all those volunteers who rose early in the mornings to publicise and set up events, who marshalled and who staffed our stall. Particular thanks are due to Cambridge City Council and to Cambridgeshire County Council, TravelWise and Travel for Work for their participation and for allowing so much employee time to be put into Bike Week, for providing funds and for printing and distributing our posters. We must thank H Drake (58, Hills Rd) for providing a couple of bicycles for the Adult Training, and Jamil Akhtar and his staff for their usual cheer and efficiency in running the breakfast at Hobbs Pavilion.
Throughout the week a team of adult cycle trainers from Travel for Work trained both novice and more experienced cyclists during the lunch hour. In all 24 cyclists were trained. Many of these had never cycled before and trainers were very impressed at how quickly absolute beginners could learn to ride – almost all could do a standing start, ride more than ten metres and do a standing stop by the end of the one-hour lesson. One confident cyclist even cycled round Elizabeth Way roundabout and received praise for her defensive, self-preservatory riding style. The Adult Cycle Training Scheme is a really valuable way to encourage more cycling in Cambridge.
Our first outing of the week was the City ride led by Simon Nuttall. Over thirty cyclists enjoyed a sunny five-mile ride around the City. We looked at the University old and new, we looked at modern cycle parking and old shops, we saw where the famous worked and lived and we cycled by the river and across the commons, learning new facts all the way. And on such an interesting and informative tour, we appropriately learnt about Nosy Parker.
Our second outing was our Sustrans Pedalling Picnic ride to Anglesey Abbey. This was enjoyed by 48 cyclists of every variety, from the baby in a trailer to the pensioner on an old ‘Cambridge’ bike. The day started with the threat of rain, but the sun came out and the parasols went up at Anglesey Abbey’s picnic ground where we enjoyed the shade of their trees for our picnic. Our route took us over Midsummer Common – past Midsummer Fair – and then along the river following the Jubilee cycle path, Sustrans Route 51. A brief stop by the bicycle sculpture at the Newmarket Road Park and Ride site to make sure everyone was present and happy and on along the Sustrans route past Quy and Bottisham to Anglesey Abbey. The ride was 16 miles there and back but was easily and happily managed by young and old alike. There were many young on a wonderful variety of bicycles. Some, of course, on their own solo bikes but others on the back of tandems, on trailer bikes and trailer trikes, on bike seats at the front and bike seats at the back. Altogether a Fun Day – thank you Lorraine and Mark for organising this Sustrans ride.
Between rides we sat in the sun and had an open-air breakfast at Hobbs Pavilion. Some participants took the opportunity to have a chair massage from Liz Knox and some had their bicycles security coded. About 170 cyclists enjoyed a relaxing chat with their coffee and croissants overlooking Parker’s Piece – a perfect start to a sunny Wednesday.
Lisa Woodburn and Simon Nuttall
(NB Why no apostrophe in Hobbs but one in Parker’s? Answers on a postcard, please!)