This was my most favourite event. Living out at Swavesey, I used to cycle round the villages at the weekend. I realised that it wasn’t all that far to cycle to Cambridge. A germ of an idea was born.
We devised a figure of eight cycle route between Oakington and Cambridge. This meant we could create a bike ride of 15, 30, and as it turned out 45 and 60 miles.
On 11 October 1995, We announced the event in the Cambridge Evening News and to family and friends of EAST and the bike ride event was born. Being our first foray into something like this, we deliberately kept the event small. I think we were a band of 30 participants.
Though we informed the police of the event, no marshals were required, nor signposting. We just gave the participants maps of the route. We used public roads and cycle paths (pre-busway) and all participants were local to the area.
A couple of us went on ahead to points we thought might cause confusion, to act as sign posts. And the Spencer-Thomas’s deliberately hung back to ensure no one got lost.
One or two family members were avid cyclists so they completed the course twice – 60 miles. Good training for their big charity riding events.
What astounded us was the number of youngsters who took part and completed the entire 30-mile route. We thought they would struggle with the 15 miles. A good lesson in never underestimating your supporters. They can quite literally go the extra mile!
We started at 10am from EAST’s base in Cambridge (with a little detour to Shire Hall for a photo opportunity) and took a leisurely ride. People were stopping off en-route at pubs and parks for lunch, refreshment and a play on the swings. But despite this, everyone was back by 4pm having had a thoroughly good time. And we raised a nice tidy sum of nearly £400 to boot.