Cambridge to King's Lynn July 2021 - Ride Report
From ride leader Claire:
The run up to the ride was a little stressful with riders getting pinged by the NHS track and trace app and the weather forecast suggesting thunderstorms. But in the end the weather was good and our reduced group worked well together. *Edit* oh and the West Lynn ferry not operating due to self isolating too.
We nosed at some curiosities in between the colleges in Cambridge as we set off, and got cheered by partying students on the greens and River Cam. One of club stalwarts, Gordon, was offered a can of beer by a partygoer and scooped it up without even stopping! And before we knew it, twinkling cycle path lights accompanied us out on to the Fens proper. We had a first mechanical at Quy but made good progress up to Ely and along the gravel path. Here we had to say goodbye to one of our riders who suffered the second mechanical of the night (his crank made a bid for freedom). He hung out at Ely station for a couple of hours until the first train. If you're going to have a terminal mechanical, Ely was the best place to have it.
After a brief comfort break at Ely McDs, where I (as the only female and leader) was amused by the uncommon sight of queues for the gents! On we went towards our midpoint stop at the Welney Wetland Centre. A barn owl escorting us part-way, and the full moon was amazing after the cloud cover finally moved away. By the time we got to Welney, we were about an hour behind my estimates, though that is the unpredictable nature of FNRing.
We had our refreshments whilst watching the early sunrise glowing pink over the wetlands, and soon after we got on our way again we stopped on the Welney bridge to appreciate the sun up - always a highlight of the Fridays rides.
From there we zig-zaged the fen roads, saw a pair of herons, some hares, and stopped at the appropriately names in Friday Bridge to look at some more infrastructure. Here one of the group had an off. He was well looked after by Gordon, while Bob and Greg straightened his bike out and we got going again, taking it steady.
Next we pootled through Georgian Wisbech (and the rather less Georgian Tesco Extra), where the third mechanical arrived in the shape of a split tyre. Our marvellous TEC team sorted this too. Up another cycle path past a blacksmiths, where we passed (B)Ollard Avenue....
After cycling a single track pathway alongside the Nene we passed the swing bridge and RAF memorial at Sutton Bridge. Here we had a pause to caffeinate, snack, and chat before setting off for the final leg. I phoned our breakfast cafe to warn them we were running late and they were very chilled about it.
Following the Nene port then turning north-east towards King's Lynn, the headwind made a guest appearance as we pedalled through crown estates, with workers cottages marked with the royal cypher from different monarch's reigns. Arriving at the ferry terminal, we divided into "off" and "on" road groups. The off road group followed the riverbank on the West Lynn side, giving us views of King's Lynn old port, Customs House, Minster and our breakfast stop. We joined up with the on road group (who'd done the cyclepath) to cross the bridge. After a few more shouts of “bollards", we reached Marriott's Warehouse for breakfast. Loads of outdoor seating, a bit of covered bike parking and a view of the quayside.
An eventful evening/morning, with some lovely highlights. It's intense leading a bigger group but very rewarding.
Photo credits: Claire Geary, Peter Haslam.