Nigel writes: Tonight was our second winter evening ride, held entirely in the dark. We'll be holding further rides once a month throughout the winter on a Wednesday close to the full moon. The plan this evening was to ride the full length of the guided busway cycleway to St Ives and back, following the opening of the final section last month.
I arrived at Brookside a few minutes before our 6.30pm start, which gave me time to take a photo of the Hobson's Conduit monument with the almost-full moon above. The faint white dot to the right (clearly visible on the larger photo) is Jupiter.
After a few minutes Jacob, Rob and Ian D turned up, and since I didn't expect to take many photos on this ride I asked them to pose for a quick picture. Again, the moon and Jupiter are clearly visible in the larger photo.
We set off towards Parker's Piece and down to Midsummer Common. We followed the river to Riverside where we crossed over on the new Riverside Cycle bridge. On the north side we were joined by Gareth and Pete H, making six in all.
We rode quickly through Chesterton to join the busway cycleway at its start on Milton Road. Once we joined the cycleway we were soon in darkness, with only our cycle lights to illuminate the way. From here it is about 13 miles to St Ives along the smooth, wide, traffic-free cycleway. The ride was uneventful, with a persistent headwind the only challenge. Fortunately it was clear and the temperature was mild.
We arrived at St Ives about an hour later, at 7.45pm. Compared with the blackness this seemed an oasis of brightly-lit excitement, and a choir of carol singers was singing in the middle of the town when we arrived.
The cafe we had been aiming to visit turned out to be closed, so we stopped in a nearby pub for coffee. After about 20 minutes we set off back to Cambridge. Rob hadn't been to St Ives before so we rode down to the bridge to show him the river.
The return to Cambridge was slightly easier than the way out, but we didn't race along but took the opportunity to ride three-abreast chatting. The whole route was very quiet and we only passed a handful of other people on the entire route. Compared with our normal rides along roads, this route is very quiet, easy and somewhat dull - but it is also very relaxing and stress-free, and one finds oneself back in Cambridge without having really felt you've gone any distance at all. I was home by 9.30pm, having cycled 32 miles.
View this GPS track on a larger map