Ever since King John granted a charter to the village of Reach to hold an annual fair it has been the duty of the Mayor of Cambridge and the Aldermen to open the event. Back then the officials would have travelled by river, on horseback or in a horse-drawn carriage. In recent years the official opening party has travelled by limousine or luxury coach, but this year the Mayor and her entourage will cycle there, a first for the 800 year old event.
Cambridge Cycling Campaign and Cycle Cambridge have organised the bike ride on bank holiday Monday 2nd May. The event starts from 9:30am outside the Guildhall in Cambridge, and is open to everyone.
The ride goes down to the river at Jesus Green and follows cycle route 51 along Riverside and on towards Newmarket Road Park&Ride site picking up more riders on the way. Beyond Cambridge the route follows quiet roads and cycle paths to the village fair.
Weather permitting, the event organiser is expecting 500 riders to take part. The ride is timed to arrive for the opening ceremony at noon, when the mayor of Cambridge and Aldermen throw pennies for children to collect.
After stopping for a couple of hours the ride returns to Cambridge by a newly opened cycle route through the fens. The ride is expected to return to Market Square by around 4pm.
Ride organiser Simon Nuttall said: “Reach village is about 11 miles from the centre of Cambridge, and there is a good quality cycle route all the way. Without too much effort it is easy to get to the village in less than an hour and half. We suggested this to the mayor and she thought so, too.”