The treacherous cycle from Girton to town

An inside look into what the mystical journey really consists of

Cambridge Cambridge University cycling exercise faculty girton sidgewick Students study

You may have heard of Girton. ‘Heard’ is the notable part of this sentence. It is unlikely that you have voluntarily seen it unless, like me, you reside there.

The notoriety of the distance is an essential part of being a student who hails from G-Town – every conversation where I have ‘come out’ as such instantly turns to questions about the cycle.

This is clearly an elusive and intriguing subject to the majority of non-Girton students. As one of the few in the know, I have decided to explain, minute by minute, exactly what it is like to live in a college so far away you have to actually plan what lectures you’re going to a whole day in advance.

Results day: Training starts now. A quick glass of champagne to celebrate, then a daily 40 minute spinning class is necessary until you are officially matriculated.

5 mins pre-cycle: Lunges begin. If you are not already wearing your spandex cycling gear, change into this now. Fact: no Girton student owns skinny jeans. They are just very intricately designed lycra leggings. Don’t forget the hamstring stretch.

3 minutes pre-cycle: Don your helmet, and pray to the Lord above that no one you fancy sees you in such an accessory that accentuates every insecurity you have.  To quote our Head Porter: “A helmet may flatten your hair, but no where as much as a five ton truck will.”

Young, wild and pooled

Young, wild and pooled

1 minute pre-cycle: Mount your bike in much the same way that a knight would climb upon his noble steed: with difficulty and an uncomfortable crotch region. Navigate it out of the bike shed, knocking into as many other bikes as possible en route. It’s a dog eat dog world out here.

Minute 1: Present your passport to border control on Huntingdon Road. (This is essential following the referendum in which Girton have voted to leave Cambridge University.)

Minute 2: Exit at a slow pace, allowing for your gas exchange system to adapt to the new oxygen concentration outside of the Girton bubble.

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Hello from the other side

Minutes 3-5: Cycle at a steady pace until you reach the first set of traffic lights. At this point, accelerate with vigour regardless of the colour of said lights. Traffic laws are only a rough guideline. Prison is only a room.

Minute 6: Pass Go and collect £200.

Minutes 7-10: It’s crunch time. Overtake that bitch who got the last copy of the book you wanted from the library. Take out that single mother with the child carrier bicycle. Cut in front of the large, well-populated bus at the last possible moment when you almost feel the claws of death reaching for you. These are the luxuries you can engage with if you own a well fitting helmet.

Minutes 11-20: Your energy levels are probably running low at this point. Unpack your small picnic on the side of the road consisting of (but not limited to): Red Bull, a banana and some raw glucose you stole from a NatSci. Ingest these substances and hop back on the bike.

A nice sunny day for a ride into Sidge

A nice sunny day for a ride into Sidge

Minutes 21-25: Subtly reenact Ariana Grande’s Side to Side music video because you can feel the presence of a potential suitor hot on your tail.

Minute 26: Realise that there is no time for frolicking or flirtatious behaviour on the Tour De Huntingdon Road. Snap back into reality and charge onwards, leaving a trail of dust, sweat and disappointment in your wake. Just like how I exit every romantic situation.

Minute 27-30: Change gears. Do you know why or what you’re doing? Of course not.

The puzzling gears, or as I like to call them, 'the genitals of the bike'

The puzzling gears, or as I like to call them, ‘the genitals of the bike’

Minutes 31-60: Arrive at the Cambridge Ocean. Don your lifejacket and wade the bike across the water, fighting off eels, leeches and members of the Law faculty. These categories are not mutually exclusive.

Minutes 61-70: We’re at the final stretch now. Take some performance enhancing substances of your choice (acquired from said members of Law faculty) and let your quads do the talking.

Minute 71: Arrive into the centre of Cambridge. Take in your surroundings and post a quick Instagram of Kings so your home friends think you’re from the real bit of Cambridge. Chain up your bike, and give it a kiss goodbye.

Minute 72: Cool down stretches. Rid your body of lactic acid and head in to begin your day.

This is a wholly factual account and I thoroughly encourage every single one of you to try it for yourself. I hope I have debunked the myth of Girton’s distance and to summarise, at least we’re not Homerton.