Julia writes: With all the excitement about the tour de France coming to Cambridge next month, there are lots of cycling related events going on in the city and surrounding areas at the moment. One of them is the Huntingdonshire Cycling Festival, a programme of events throughout the month of June aimed to get people in the Huntingdon area interested in and enthusiastic about two-wheeled sport and transport. CTC Cambridge is contributing two led rides into Huntingdonshire: the first one took place on Sunday, 8th June (read our report) and the second one will be on Thursday, 19th June. We were also present at the central event in Hinchingbrooke Country Park last Sunday, 15th June - to coincide with the start of Bike Week - with stall to promote CTC as a national organisation as well as the activities of our local group specifically.
It is a fair way from our home in Fen Ditton to Huntingdon, certainly with a heavy cargo bike and a small child on board, so in order to avoid a long trip on Sunday morning, we decided to set off on Saturday evening and spend the night in St Ives, leaving only 7 miles for the next morning to get to Hinchingbrooke. Having gathered together our promotional material, we packed everything we needed into the box of our cargo bike and panniers on my orange hybrid and left home around the time when Flo would normally go to bed. He got quite excited with all the packing activity and did not seem to mind the change in routine; he happily pointed out cats, dogs, busses and anything else of interest that he could spot as we cycled through Chesterton and along the busway to St Ives.
The next morning we set off a little later than we had planned, arriving at Hinchingbrooke Country Park around 10:30 am. The event was officially opening at 11:00 am, so we quickly found our spot between the Peterborough Vintage Cycle Club, who had put on a lovely display of Penny-farthings, old tricycles and bicycles of various ages and sizes, and a Richardsons Cycles stall showcasing a large variety of rather more modern Claud Butler bikes, and started setting up our stand. The gazebo kindly lent to us by the Cambridge Cycling Campaign was quick and easy to erect, a table was provided by the organisers and our banner, leaflets, Cycle magazines and posters were soon on display.
We were a little late finishing our setup, but given the cloudy, windy, cool and drizzly weather, not many people had made their way into the park yet, so it was rather quiet initially. While we waited for the weather to improve and crowds to descend onto the park, Flo investigated the play area next to the events field and enjoyed the swings, various climbing structures and a giant slide that was built onto the hill side.
We were soon joined by Simon K, who had kindly agreed to help us man the stall, giving Ian and myself an opportunity to grab some sandwiches at the Park Cafe for lunch. In the afternoon, the weather did indeed brighten up, and with the sunshine came more people. Many of them were families with young children, some of them unaware that the cycling festival was going on that day, but a good number seemed to have come especially, many arriving on bikes with child seats and trailers for the little ones. Meanwhile, our little one needed a break and went to sleep for an hour, comfortably resting on a pillow in the box of the cargo bike.
There was a good variety of stalls and activities, ranging from a Sustrans stand with lots of information about their campaigning activities, over Outspoken, who had a pedal powered toy racing car circuit, and St Neots Cycling Club to Travel for Work, and a bouncy castle provided by One Leisure. There was also Bikability training for children and a range of electric bikes to try out. People could be seen effortlessly zooming across the events field on the electric bikes, while others were riding high wheelers or some of the adaptive bikes that Huntingdonshire District Council has recently purchased to give people with various disabilities access to cycling. Flo and I tried out a model that had a detachable front end which converted into a wheel chair for a disabled passenger; other models included side-by-side tandems and a hand-cranked bike.
Our stall had a good number of visitors, too, including some families, seasoned cyclists, and a lady who said she was in the process of moving to Cambridge and had been wondering how to meet people to go cycling with. Sounds like our group should be just what she's looking for, and we hope to see her on one of our rides before long. We gave out some of our updated leaflets, told people about our group and the rides we organise, and talked them through the benefits of joining CTC. You can download a copy of our promotional leaflet (pdf) here.
By 4 pm it was time to leave, and while Flo checked out the kids' bikes range at the Richardsons stall before they were all boxed up again, we took the gazebo down and packed our promotional material away. Overall, what started as a rather unpromising, drizzly and quiet morning turned into a sunny and sociable afternoon, with lots of cycling fun and some nice chats at our stall. I hope that our presence at the event helped to make people aware of CTC, and that it may have tempted some to join the club! Julia Hochbach