There’s a lot of reasons to go on a cycling tour of Cambridge; as well as taking advantage of the increasingly warmer weather, Cambridge is one of the most cycle friendly cities in the UK, and relatively easy to get around on two wheels. At the same time, you can take advantage of straightforward access to the surrounding countryside and villages, while enjoying accommodation that ranges from central hotels to comfy self catering cottages in nearby villages.
It’s possible to take a short cycling tour of Cambridge city centre, which shouldn’t take more than two to three hours if you find the right guides; most of these tours focus on hitting all of Cambridge’s main attractions, which include different University sites, as well as Midsummer Common, the Wren Library, and the areas around Mill Pond. Cycle tours will also take you along the River Cam, and out to Grantchester Village and the nearby country for cream teas.
Alternatively, you can find your own way around Cambridge by using its cycle lanes, and by enjoying the city’s cycle friendly atmosphere. Cambridge is one of the most cycle heavy cities in Europe, and you won’t go far without finding somewhere to park up your cycle. If you’re taking a tour, you can choose from modern mountain bikes, or more eclectic antique bikes, bikes for children, and electric powered bikes.
If you have the time, make sure that you get out of Cambridge to see the countryside and its cycle paths, with most able to be explored within the space of a day trip; nearby attractions that are worth seeing include Anglesey Abbey, as well as the Fulborn Circular route in South Cambridgeshire, and Wisbech and the Fens in Huntingdonshire. Cambridgeshire has about 80 miles of cycle lanes, making it ideal for avoiding traffic.
When taking a ride out of Cambridge, make sure you follow approved routes, with many joining up with the River Cam – National Cycle Network 51 is one of the more popular for starting out of the city and exploring the local area. To the East of Cambridge, it’s also possible to find the Jesus Green and the Lode Watermill if you want to take the time to stop and have a refreshing picnic.
For more adventurous cyclers, it’s worth remembering that Cambridge will be one of the stages for the 2014 Tour de France; Stage 3, from Cambridge to London, will include a route that runs from Cambridge into Essex, and then down to London, ending on the Mall. Check online closer to the Stage for maps if you want to recreate the Stage on your own bike. Be careful, though, if you don’t have time to complete the whole route in a day, and book accommodation along the way in advance.
Tom Smith is a Cambridge native who’s also an avid cycler. He hopes to take his bike out on its first marathon trip around the UK in Summer 2013, and recommends trying out Cambridge Cottages for convenience when visiting the city.