Country cycle rides with CTC Cambridge

This article was published in 2009, in Newsletter 86.

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Nigel Deakin has been a member of Cambridge Cycling Campaign since it was launched, and was a committee member for many years. However, like some other Campaign members he’s also a member of another cycling organisation, CTC, and was recently elected secretary of its local group. Here he tells us more about CTC Cambridge and what it has to offer.

CTC Saturday morning ride. Photo credit: Julia Hochbach.
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For Cycling Campaign members, cycling is the way we get about. It’s the way we get to work, or to the shops, or to see friends. We all know it’s simply the the best way to travel around Cambridge.

As we all know, one of the best thing about cycling is that even the most routine of journeys can be a cause of pleasure. CTC Cambridge is a group of local cyclists who know this too but also like to spend time cycling for no other reason than that we enjoy it. We’re the local group of CTC, the national cyclists’ association which was founded in 1878 as the Cyclists’ Touring Club.

Even the most routine of journeys can be a cause of pleasure, but members of CTC Cambridge also like to spend time cycling just because we enjoy it

At a national level, CTC is the main cycle campaigning organisation in the UK and is closely involved in issues such as traffic law and government policy. Locally, CTC Cambridge is also involved in campaigning, with a particular interest in the rural area around Cambridge. Although there’s a certain amount of overlap with Cambridge Cycling Campaign, I believe the two groups have similar policies and complement each other well.

Our main activity, however, is to organise four or five cycle rides a week, every week, throughout the year, all of them starting in or near Cambridge. We’re not a racing club – we ride purely for pleasure, with our routes chosen to be as quiet and pretty as possible, and we usually chat pleasantly as we ride along.

Cycling Campaign members are welcome on all our rides (though if you become a regular you’ll be expected to join). Our rides vary in length from gentle 15 mile Saturday morning rides to 70 mile Sunday all-day rides, but there are two types of ride that may be of particular interest to newcomers:

Saturday morning rides

These depart from Brookside (near the junction with Lensfield Road), in Cambridge city centre at 10.00am and are held about twice a month except during winter. Our next rides are on on Saturday 3rd and Saturday 17th October. These are short (no more than 15 miles), with a stop at a cafe on the way, and normally return to Cambridge by about 1.00pm. They are specifically intended for newcomers and are suitable for anyone.

Sunday afternoon rides

CTC Sunday afternoon ride passes through Duxford. Photo credit: Nigel Deakin
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These depart from Brookside at 2.15pm throughout the year. These are rather longer: about 45 miles in summer and 35 miles in winter. We don’t go particularly fast (and we won’t leave you behind) but we don’t tend to stop very often until we reach our tea stop at 5.00pm (summer) or 4.30pm (winter). Tea is often a substantial affair with sandwiches and cakes at a country pub, though we sometimes stop at country cafes and occasionally at members’ houses.

We also hold a longer all-day ride on Sundays (70-80 miles) as well as rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There’s no need to ride a fancy bike or wear garish clothes. Although some members do own nice touring or road bikes and wear specialised cycle clothing, many do not and there’s no need to worry about whether you’ll fit in. If your bike is up to the distance, and your clothes are comfortable and appropriate to the weather, you’ll be fine. We welcome all ages from 18 upwards. Our regular riders span a very wide range of ages, with most between their 20s and 70s.

So if you think you might enjoy sociable and non-competitive cycling in the local countryside, come and ride with us! I hope to see you on one of our rides soon.

You can find full details of our rides, as well as some reports of our recent rides, on our recently-relaunched website at If you have any questions, please ask me at

Nigel Deakin