This cycle ride, which offered a choice of a 20 mile round trip to the village of Reach or a 50 mile round trip to Ely, took place on Monday 7 May. After five weeks of unbroken sunshine and talk of a summer starting in the spring, persistent rain arrived just in time to thin the numbers at the start.
I had hoped for between 50 and 100 riders, but the conditions meant I counted only 44 of us riding through Swaffham Bulbeck. Reach Fair is an impressive event: morris dancers and a maypole go into full swing after the fair is opened at noon by the Mayor of Cambridge and his entourage. 21 continued on to Wicken or Ely, and at Burwell our numbers were boosted when we were joined by members of a veteran cycle club.
The rain during the first hour and a half to Reach really dampened my enthusiasm at times. It was like being in a cool shower with your clothes on, but after that it brightened up and we didn’t get wet again. In spite of four punctures (myself included) the ride went exactly to schedule. On the way back there was one incident where a car overtaking the cyclists at a bend met an oncoming vehicle, cut in and forced one of our riders into a verge. Fortunately he was unhurt, but police were informed.
For several riders getting to Ely was the furthest distance they had ever cycled and was a huge personal achievement. Many returned by train, about a dozen cycled back in the perfect conditions that followed an intense downpour (which we had sat through in a café). Six of the original riders made it all the way back to Reality Checkpoint for the survivors’ photograph at just after 9 pm.
I should like to thank Sally, Jim and Jonathan for helping to marshal this event. We are very grateful to Sustrans for their support.