Six regular riders with the B group spent two days in June 2021 in Cambridgeshire visiting Huntingdon, St Ives and Ely from an overnight base in Cambridge. The choice of venues (and hence routes) were based on Oliver Cromwell – he was born and spent most of the first 30 years of his life in Huntingdon; after falling out with officials in Huntingdon and losing some money, he moved his family to St Ives for 5 years; and then after inheriting property and an income through his wife, the family moved to Ely for 5 years, before his political career took off. Huntingdon, St Ives and Ely also all lie on the River Great Ouse, which plus the fact they are on the edge of the Fens, makes for relatively flat riding – and Cambridgeshire is well provided with cycle lanes and cycle paths (some alongside the extensive busways), so most of the routes were low, or no, traffic.
Sights visited included:
- The school room where Oliver Cromwell and Samuel Pepys attended grammar school in Huntingdon – now the Cromwell Museum
- The statute of Olivier Cromwell erected by the citizens of St Ives (see photo)
- Ely Cathedral, with its famous Octagon Tower (unfortunately, due to then current Covid restrictions, the group was not able to do the tour up 170 steps inside the tower and onto the roof). There was not time to visit Oliver Cromwell’s House in Ely, also now a museum.
- The Lodes Way, from Anglesey Abbey to Wicken Fen
There were also pretty villages on the route, with many thatched cottages (even a thatched church), and stretches of the ride were along the riversides of the River Cam and the Great River Ouse. A short walk on the Monday evening took in some of the key sights in the centre of Cambridge.
Another group of six B-riders plan to repeat the trip in July 2021.
For those wanting to spend some time exploring Cambridge and the surrounding area, you can book B&B in student rooms at some of the University Colleges out of term time (see www.universityrooms.com) and the Cambridgeshire County Council has produced some great maps of cycle routes (see www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/cycling/cycle-routes-and-maps).
B riders at Oliver Cromwell’s feet in St Ives