A record of my cycling trips in Britain and abroad


Tour of Britain

Cambridge to Bury St. Edmunds
~ 100 km (60 miles) round trip

Yesterday’s ride to Bury was a bit of an impromptu one; Julian (another engineer) suggested it earlier in the week, but the weather forecast at the time wasn’t looking too favourable, so we put off the decision to late on Friday night. The forecast then was still for rain, but we decided to go anyway. The penultimate leg of the Tour of Britain, one of the longest legs, is a 200 km loop starting at Bury St. Edmunds, and heading in a big loop through Suffolk and Norfolk to finish at Kings Lynn. Julian’s idea was to ride out to Bury to see the start - something I was very keen on, since I saw mid-stage and finish points of the Tour de France on my Alpine trip but no starts.

In contrast to the forecast, the day dawned bright and sunny, and I was up early to change the front wheel across from my fixie to my road bike.* However, I was out of luck: the axle was too narrow for the forks, and the rim was too wide for the brakes. So, put the other bike back together and swap my gear from my pannier to my rucksack - looks like I’m going fixed. In doing so, I realise that the wheel also has a puncture. So, wheel off again, change the tube, wheel back on. Finally I’m rolling! The start of the ride is familiar territory, through Fen Ditton and out towards Anglesey Abbey. I’m using a new route mapping website instead of Gmap, so courtesy of Julian here is the route: Cambridge to Bury route.

* The bearing on my road bike’s front hub collapsed earlier in the week, and I hadn’t yet got around to fixing it, hence wanting to swap the wheel across.

For the rest of the way the roads were empty and the sky was clear - I am definitely glad we went, it was a wonderful ride! Of course nice weather always helps, but I reckon this is one of the nicest rides I’ve done around Cambridge, if not the nicest. We rolled into Bury, downhill and with a following wind, as the day’s time and points leaders were being announced. ‘Five minutes to the start’ was announced just after, and we walked up the rode through the crowds to try to get a better view of the route. I must admit I was surprised by the number of people watchng; I had been half-expecting the total audience to be half-a-dozen keen cyclists and that to be all. The race was preceded by a little circus of other riders on a medley of bikes, some in fancy dress, others not. The only ones of any particular note were the first six, who were all riding one bike. If you know the appropriate name for such a machine please leave a comment! Once they’d passed, the race set off.

After a pastry and the world’s slowest espresso, we were on our way back, which apart from the rain, and the headwind, and the gettting lost, was every bit as nice as the way out. And it was such a nice day that even those three things didn’t seem like trials. Verdict: a successful ride, and the longest to date on my fixie!