Cambridge East Anglian Tour 300 Perm  Enter this ride

This is a permanent ride and can be ridden at any time.

320km, 14.3 to 30kph (10hrs to 21hrs).  1300m of climbing.

East Anglia can best be described as "flat" and "rural" — it was once the bread basket of the UK with Norfolk being the most-populous county and Norwich being the second-richest city in England.  By today's standards, though, Suffolk and Norfolk are open, empty spaces, with quiet roads and big scenery.

This easy 300 — and by "easy" we mean "not as hard as most 300s" — takes a tourist's route through Cambridgeshire, the shires of Suffolk and Norfolk via the county towns of Ipswich and Norwich, and then back through Fenlandia via March.  The route does use some main roads, but out there they are more like quiet lanes.  It's not flat, but it's definitely not hilly either — the profile gets decidely flatter the further along the route, with only 200m or so of climbing in the final 75km, and there is no unexpected "sting in the tail" … so long as you don't get a headwind on the exposed final leg!

This is a great first — or fast — 300 with splendid scenery from spring to autumn.  It's best ridden on a still summer's day, otherwise the final leg through the Fens could be challenging, unless you have a lucky nor'easterly to blow you to March and beyond!  If this is your first 300 then you pass through plenty of small market and castle towns en route and so you have plenty of opportunities to re-stock on food and fluids and there are quite a few of pubs along the route to break up the ride.

With an early start from Cambridge you should expect to take between 14 and 17 hours to get around, and so you should be able to complete the route in daylight (during summer months).  However, you should carry good lights with you just in case you take longer.

The route

The route leaves Cambridge city centre along Newmarket Road, but shortly turns south-east and climbs the Chilterns' chalk escarpment.  A steadily rolling route through beautiful villages follows, including the historic Lavenham, before arriving at Ipswich for the first control.  You have plenty of choice to stop here, but with an early start and a decent run, you should probably aim to bounce through and on to the second control at Framlingham, which is a much quainter castle+market town an hour's ride further on.

From Framlingham the route steadily steadies and the climb up past the castle in Norwich can be a bit of a surprise!  A quick receipt, or a beer and chips, and it's on to Swaffham, a regular stop on many rides, although not too often in the east-west direction.

And then out to March on the marshes: OS maps have sections of this part of the route below sea level!  If you're lucky you'll stay dry, though.  The Fens can be a little bewildering, as the roads don't always follow the straightest line, even though at other times they are as straight as a die for many miles!   The final leg from March back to Cambridge takes the wiggliest road from Chatteris to Earith before heading back into Cambridge via the Busway and thru Girton — by the time you get there, the slight 15m rise off the plains into Girton will feel like a "proper hill"!

You can browse an interactive map and profile of the route on RideWithGPS and download GPX/TCX files below.

The controls

Start and finish in the centre of Cambridge, opposite the entrance to John Lewis on Emmanuel Street (the bus station).  Grab a receipt from a cash machine or any shop within 100m. If you leave your bike then you will need a good lock with you!

The controls are all well-serviced, commercial controls with 24-hour provision: the route uses major towns as controls and you pass through a number of smaller towns en route too.

Alternatively you can start at any control on the route and ride in either direction.  If you wish to start and finish at a point on the route between controls then please confirm with the organiser first.

Toilets are available in all control towns, or behind any hedge on the route (notwithstanding the final two legs don't have many hedges — you have been warned!).

You should carry a lock to secure your bike at the controls.  You should carry good lights in case you are still riding when the sun goes to sleep.

The routesheet and GPS files

There are two versions of the routesheet, depending on what you want: one has distances between instructions and holds your hand; the other contains just the turn-by-turn instructions with only as many distances as necessary for navigation and planning, as preferred by old-school audaxers:  (updated 10 September 2016)

There are several versions of the GPS files, depending on your device and preference: TCX files provide turn-by-turn in Garmin Edge devices; GPX files provide a track to follow on-screen on all devices and is more universally compatible, although older devices need tracks with fewer than 500 points:  (updated 29 May 2016)

TCX courses for Garmin Edge and new devices

GPX tracks for all newer devices

500-point GPX tracks for legacy devices

REVERSE-ROUTE courses

These are the reverse courses for this perm — starting from Cambridge and heading clockwise via March, Swaffham, Norwich, Framlingham and Ipswich before heading back to Cambridge.

Getting to the start

Hopefully you live close enough to cycle to the start, but if not then park in one of the residential areas near the city centre and cycle in.  There is no cheap, all-day parking in the centre of Cambridge!

Cambridge is well-served by train, and it’s an easy 2km ride from the station to the historic centre of Cambridge — just turn right at the end of Station Road and keep going straight ahead until you see John Lewis.

Before you start

It is a requirement that you notify the organiser of the date of your ride for validation and insurance purposes — a text or email is sufficient.

On completion

When you have completed the ride, write the control establishment names and times on the brevet, complete your details on the reverse and then send your brevet card and receipts to the organiser (details are on the routesheet). And please remember to sign your brevet!

Have a great, safe ride!  Enter this ride