London to Cambridge - June 2019
Ride leader Adam reports:
Despite being biased, I think the ride to Cambridge went very well, after a three year gap. The change in road infrastructure in London from 2016 was very evident, meaning we were often on no-through roads, or segregated lanes, leading to a much improved experience heading north-east out of the city.
The new route also meant we avoided the boy racer crowd normally experienced through Epping Forest, by going through Chigwell. And then we were out in the countryside, with gentle ups and downs and lots of wildlife.
I saw only my third live badger in 14 years of doing night rides, along with bats, owls and deer. Comments about Essex having a lot of night life must be true. Having said that, despite a lot of cloud cover, the sun was never far below the horizon, with it starting to get light before 3am.
The one downside to a more easterly route was that the half-way stop at Birchanger Services was more than half-way, so some people were struggling a little bit by then, but at least there's a convenient bail out station nearby.
It was 6am by the time we left the services with only 27 miles to go. Last minute, I'd put in a couple of minor changes to make for straighter roads so in the end we arrived in Cambridge on schedule, where local knowledge from Rob meant being able to leave the bikes at the back of the Wetherspoons.
In the end we had 14 first-timers come along which is impressive, and I was very pleased that some of them also joined in and helped with the way-marking which eases the pressure on the other volunteers. A special well done to 12 year old William for his longest ever bike ride.
Thanks also to Adrian for "All-Upping" and especially Greg for valiantly dealing with the sole mechanical issue caused by broken glass.