Guy Barber ride report, Sunday 24th July

Peter B went on the Guy Barber Memorial ride to Cambridge, 24th July 2022 and writes:

A total of nine riders took part in this year’s Guy Barber memorial charity ride to Cambridge.  The weather was dry and warm with some sunshine, almost perfect, except for the wind.

Five of the riders met at the Canoe Centre in Northampton at 8.00am for the start of the first leg to St Neots, setting off at a steady pace.  

Unfortunately, after a few miles, just past Cogenhoe, Phil J hit an unseen defect in the road, resulting in a pinch puncture.  As Phil laboured to remove his exceptionally tight fitting tyre, and battle with a non-cooperating pump, Phil G, Chris H and Peter S, displaying the expected camaraderie, decided to leave Phil and me for dead, and continue to St Neots at a brisk pace.

On our way again, Geoff joined us at Newton Bromswold, some 10 minutes later than planned, continuing to St Neots to join everyone for coffee before returning home.  On arrival at St Neots, at around 10.30, the Brisk trio were found lounging outside the café, clearly enjoying life, and well into their coffees.  

Brian T and Dennis H were also waiting for us at the adjacent café, where Dennis surprised us by buying our coffees as we sat in the morning sun, a very welcome act of kindness (not even marred by the admission that it was actually at his wife’s insistence).  John C, who used to ride regularly with us a few years back, also joined us.

The now five steady riders set off from St Neots at 11.00, making good time to Cambridge thanks to some modest help from the wind, and we settled down in the sunshine at our lunch stop, Tatties, at around 12.45 on a table specially laid out for us (thanks Gino).  The Brisks, who had stayed in St Neots for extra coffee, joined us shortly afterwards.

All the riders decided to follow Brian’s slightly longer route back to St Neots, which used the Cambridge Guided Busway for almost 11 miles.  John, having ridden around Cambridge often, expertly led the group through parks and quiet roads to the start of the busway at Cambridge North.  We made good pace along the smooth, flat busway to our exit at Fen Drayton Lakes, where we parted company with John, and onto rough roads for a mile or so before emerging at Fenstanton.

The group stayed together until St Neots, the wind making the ride after the Busway quite hard going, especially going over A14 bridge hump before Hilton.  Having got to the outskirts of St Neots, everyone ready for a cafe stop, Philip G, in a momentary lack of concentration, hit the kerb of a traffic calming build-out.  Philip was thrown into a bollard, which was, very fortunately, cyclist friendly – bendy and soft, and he was not seriously hurt, just a grazed knee and dented pride.  He later blamed the peak of his cycling cap for obscuring his vision. The cafe stop at St Neots was especially welcome after that, although Philip, who was probably still distracted somewhat, left his water bottles on the table.

The original five riders set off from St Neots for the final slog, battling the strengthening wind, back to Northampton.  The Brisk trio pushed ahead slightly, and both groups arrived back at the start in CC around 6.45. Peter S was a gentleman, and shared his water with Philip without replenishing until the finish, which must have been a challenge.  The last time we did the Cambridge ride, Peter ran out of water before the finish and, in desperation, politely asked a chap sitting in his garden if he would refill his bidon, to be rudely told, with a smirk, no!

Phil J and I rested for a few minutes at the Canoe Centre, then set off on the four miles home, pleased with our accomplishment.  The three Brisk riders, not content with a mere 113 miles, decided to add another 12 miles to take their distance above 200k.  Chapeau!!!!

Many thanks to all who took part – it was a wonderful day with great company, and we raised £50 for the British Heart Foundation.

Cheers – Peter B

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