Summer Day Out – Cycling the Genome

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Spend the day cycling as a family. If you are a visitor you can hire bikes from several places including the train station. Follow the Addenbrookes to Great Shelford Art Trail. You can also walk this if you prefer. It takes 2 miles from the hospital and about 4 miles from the train station. Each end of the path is marked by a sculpture of the DNA double helix magnified 750,000,000 times.

  1. You can start at the train station or at Addenbrook’s Hospital. If at the train station, one of the main ways is to go over the cycle bridge and join the guided busway. However it is not all off road and some parts need confident cyclists. It may be easier to get the train to Great Shelford and make it a round trip.
  2. At Addenbrooke’s Hospital and follow the Genome Stripes. It is the code for the BRCA2 gene which produces protein to help repair human DNA. Four types of tree are planted along the route to represent the colours of the four genome bases. Yew (green), Rowan (blue), Crab Apple (yellow) and Cherry (red). BRCA2 (Breast Cancer Type 2 susceptibility protein) was discovered at the Sanger Institute by Prof. Michael Stratton and Dr Richard Wooster in 1995. As it is, the path runs alongside a railway for two miles through the flat countryside of south Cambridgeshire 
  3. See Nine Wells at the start,  this used to the spring that served the city.
  4. Ride past Addenbrookes Hospital and the new developments.
  5. Find the double helix.
  6. Lunch – At Great Shelford, there is a Chinese Restaurant, the Forum House. The Bar and Compass is a nice country pub if you want to eat here. Otherwise you could go back to Cambridge by train.
  7. You can take the train or cycle back. If you have small ones it might take up the day to do the round trip. If you are faster, you have the afternoon to spend doing something else or more cycling.
  8. Afternoon – If you feel still energetic, you can cycle again from the Train Station in Cambridge to Milton Country Park (3 miles), following the river. The park is just a few minutes from National Cycle Network Route 11 which links Cambridge to Ely. When arriving in Milton via the river Cam towpath, follow Fen Road over the railway crossing. There is a nice video visual of the journey on this link.
  9. Alternatively – in the afternoon you can park up the bikes and go to the Botanic Gardens near the Train Station and finish up at the Lammas Land paddling pool and playground.

Cambridge Evening News has a nice overview of some family friendly bike rides for various ages if you follow the link here.

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