In spite of a cold wet weekend, and rain and hailstorms on the day, the turnout for our annual ride to Reach was almost the same as last year. We counted 261 riders leaving our start point on Midsummer Common, and 358 rode past our count at Quy. Taking into account the weather I am happy with these figures, though I do long for the day when we can beat 500.
The riders assembled from 9 am and the last group left at 10.30 am. This proved a great opportunity to talk to many of our members and the many other cyclists we’d not seen before. We met new people who supported our campaign and wanted to know more, and cyclists who’d yet to venture outside the city’s limits. For many of them the Ride to Reach and back would be the longest ride they’d ever done.
This year our marshals all had very big and bright flags attached to bamboo canes on their bikes. These were very popular and added a lot of colour and fun to the event. But during the ride we found many of the flags snagged on hedgerows jumped out of their mountings and snapped the poles!
Last year we had good cycle parking in a yard at Reach, but this time we discovered very late on that was not available to us. Instead we were given a field that had one long fence that provided the only place to lean bikes. It did not provide very satisfactory security. Unfortunately, it looks as though we’ll be stuck with this from now on and so we must make that clearer to participants in future years.
There was a constant, strong headwind against us all the way to Ely. Those who went back by train missed being blasted all the way home by the strong, constant tailwind. About ten of us made the survivors’ photo outside the Fort St. George just after 8 pm.
I should like to thank the very many people and groups who helped make this event so successful and enjoyable: our volunteer marshals, Cycle Cambridge for helping with organisation and promotion, Team Green Britain Bike Week for third-party liability cover, Outspoken Delivery for providing backup support for our riders (they repaired at least four punctures), committee members for providing software tools and design work, our Reach Fair contacts and everyone for coming along and taking part.