This article was published in 2010, in Newsletter 91.
Summer holidays, longer evenings and – possibly – better weather mean that now is a good time to try out some new routes, or longer routes, or introduce family and friends to the pleasures of cycling. While commuting by bike can be frustrating as one faces the challenges of traffic, time constraints and lack of consideration from other road users, leisure cycling is a different matter. One can choose one’s route and take one’s time. There are plenty of interesting places to visit, lots of nearby villages (with pubs and tea rooms) to explore, and if one gets tired one can stop and have a rest.
Local Nature Reserves Cycle Trail
One idea is to explore the local nature reserves in Cambridge. There are nine around the city, from Bramblefields and Logan’s Meadow in Chesterton to Nine Wells (the source of Hobson’s Conduit) to the south. They include the new Wildlife Trust nature reserve at East Pit – a large disused chalk pit with areas of chalk grassland, rare plants and specialist insects. Cambridge City Council has produced a handy leaflet showing all nine and indicating the routes between them, which can be downloaded at www.cambridge.gov.uk where you will also find further information about the reserves.
Wildlife Trust nature reserves
Many of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough Wildlife Trust reserves are not within easy cycling range because, as the name suggests, the Trust covers several counties. But others are within comfortable cycling range, such as the nature reserve at Fulbourn, or can be reached by combining cycling with taking the train, such as Shepreth L-Moor. See their website: www.wildlifebcnp.org for details of all their reserves and activities.
Summer cycling checklist
- Drink (water or juice or a cold beer, or a thermos of something hot)
- Field guides (depending upon your interests)
- Food (anything from a bar of chocolate to a full fancy picnic, according to taste)
- Pump and puncture repair kit (just in case)
- Sunhat and sunscreen (if appropriate)
- Waterproofs (to keep rain away)