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On yer bike they said – and 850 did just that to reach REACH

Reach Fair opened by the Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Jenny Gawthrope Wood

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Around 850 people cycled to the 2024 Reach Fair on the May Day Bank holiday, enjoying mild weather, beautiful spring countryside and all the delights of the historic fair. Camcycle and Ely Cycling Campaign were delighted with the turnout for their annual guided rides, which saw many people discovering the cycle event for the first time alongside hundreds of happy returners.

Fatima Zahra rode from Cambridge with her friend Easha, who persuaded her it would be a nice way to explore further than the city with the assistance of a guided ride.

They're off - the contingent from Ely head for Reach

They’re off – the contingent from Ely head for Reach

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They found the journey, of around 15 miles, easier than they expected.

Reach Ride: Aura and Ella. PHOTO: Anna Williams

Fatima said: “I started cycling in September to get to work and back in Cambridge – it’s really accessible and easy for a beginner to get started – but I haven’t been on any long-distance cycle journeys before. It’s been a lovely day for a cycle ride.

“We were a bit concerned about the weather, but luckily the clouds took mercy on us!”

Aura, aged 12, and Ella, 11, thought the ride was hard, “but we did it!”

Aura said the best bit was “cycling with everyone”, while Ella enjoyed “seeing the countryside and all the flowers we were passing – it was really pretty.”

Reach Ride. PHOTO: Camcycle

There were two Penny-Farthing riders on the route, three dogs on bikes and a brilliant bunch of six-year-olds who were pedalling the journey for the first time. One of them was Kitty from Bottisham who received a big welcoming cheer when she cycled down the hill into the village.

Reach Ride PHOTO: CamCycle

Other cyclists included around 30 who rode from Ely with Ely Cycling Campaign, King’s Lynn-based representatives of KLWNBUG (the Norfolk and Fens Cycling Campaign) and cycling visitors from Essex, Suffolk, and Kent.

The most far-flung Reach Rider was Mary from Michigan, who fulfilled a long-held ambition to take part!

In keeping with its 823-year-old tradition, the Reach Fair was opened by the Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Jenny Gawthrope Wood, and pennies were thrown for children to collect.

Reach Ride., PHOTO: Anna Williams

Camcycle’s CEO, Roxanne De Beaux, said: “The Reach Ride just gets better and better: today has been an amazing success.

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Camcycle would like to thank all those who make this event run so smoothly – our brilliant staff and volunteer teams, our busy team of roving mechanics from Outspoken Cycles, Cambridge City Council who support this ride and Cambridgeshire County Council who were busy mending potholes near Reach just last week.

Reach Ride PHOTO: Camcycle

We’re delighted that so many people enjoyed riding with us and hope it’s just the start of a wonderful summer of cycling around Cambridgeshire.”

Reach Ride : Photo Anna Williams

The 17th Reach Ride is planned for Bank Holiday Monday 5 May 2025. Camcycle invites expressions of interest from Cambridgeshire organisations that would like to find out more about joining the ride as a local sponsor.

A contingent of cyclists also set out from Ely – gathering at the rail station.

They're off - the contingent from Ely head for Reach

They’re off – the contingent from Ely head for Reach

“We couldn’t match the 850 riders from Cambridge, but perhaps next year,” said Stephen Biddle

“We had a great ride through the mainly traffic free countryside and our all-age group arrived in Reach after the 13 miles peddle where many of us headed straight for the local scouts hot dog stall.”

They’re off – the contingent from Ely head for Reach

He added: “The youngest rider was 7-year-old William Biddle, pictured, and the oldest, I’m not sure.”

Contingent leaving Ely

Mr Biddle and John Powell co-ordinated the ride from Ely.

FACT FILE

 Camcycle, a local charity with over 1,700 members, works for more, better, and safer cycling for all ages and abilities in Cambridgeshire. www.camcycle.org.uk

Kitty enjoying the Reach Ride. PHOTO: Anna Williams

  • The Reach Fair was first held in 1201, when King John granted a charter for the holding of a fair in the village. Find out more at http://www.reachfair.org.uk/
  • Camcycle’s first Reach Ride took place in 2007 and has been held every year since, apart from 2020 and 2021 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Ely Cycling Campaign campaign for better cycling in and around Ely. https://elycycle.org.uk
  • KLWNBUG is short for the King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Bicycle User Group, also known as the Norfolk and Fens Cycling Campaign. https://www.klwnbug.co.uk/

 

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