The luminous yellow direction signs from last weekends Rutland Cycling Reservoir Cogs sportive have been lurking on the road signs and street lamps of my patch all week. Driving my youngest daughter back from this mornings swimming lesson I noticed they had finally been taken down. In their place were the luminous yellow direction signs for this weekends Wiggle Steeple Chase sportive.
In the Summer the Cambridge Evening News Big Bike Ride passed this way as did another sportive coming up from the other side of Bedford, although I can’t remember its name. in the Spring we had another Wiggle sportive and the Richardson’s Rumble Sportive from St Ives (the pretty one in Cambridgeshire, not the pretentious one in Cornwall). I expect there are one or two that I’ve missed.
It seems Huntingdonshire has become a surprisingly popular place for routing a sportive. This may seem odd. I rode quite a few sportives in the early part of the 2000s. Back then there were precious few in this part of the world and sportive was synonymous with big miles and bigger hills. Since then the MAMILs have risen and the sportive scene has exploded across rural Britain’s minor roads. Now there is even demand in areas where the only big thing is the sky.
However, what Huntingdonshire lacks in peaks it more than makes up for with some of the finest cycling roads in the country, and better still, they extend into parts of Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire.
The roads are remarkably quiet, I have ridden an entire ride in the triangle of roads between the A605, A14 and A1 without seeing a single car. For the most part the terrain is gently rolling, but don’t be fooled by this. There are a number of sharp little hills, enough to warrant gradient signs. and when the wind blows in from across The Fens, pray you have a big lad to hide behind. Finally the landscapes and villages are just pleasantly pleasing in the way only the English countryside can be (and if you like to tour there are some fine pubs too). Together this may not add up to the most challenging of sportive geographies, but I think it probably makes for one of the most enjoyable; it is a glorious area to ride.
Anyway, if you are sold on riding around Huntingdonshire and beyond in to Northants or Beds, but have missed the sportives I have listed above, there is no need to worry, probably the best is yet to come. My own club, St Neots CC, is putting on its first sportive this year. On the 7th October, the St Neots CC Autumn Breeze Sportive departs St Neots, via the traffic free Willow Bridge, and heads north west around Oundle covering a total of 125km. There are still a few places left and the entry fee (£15, includes a meal voucher!) will go to supporting local club cycling not an Events companies profits! The route is below.
(No apologies for the sell, I think it’s for a good cause!)