It's late November in Ely, and I have an unexpected day off. A great time to jump on the bike, especially as the temperature is still in double figures. I decide to take the bike on the train to Cambridge, visit a few pubs, make my way back to Waterbeach, and catch the return train after lunch.

My first stop is the Mitre on Bridge Street. It is warm and welcoming and offers eight beers, three of which are from Adnams. I choose Furry Black IPA (£3.40) from Yorkshire via Michigan, USA. An unexpected start with bags of dandelion and charcoal… I begin to sink into the comfy leather tub chair and notice the plenitude of menus in the middle of the table – there are seven. This pub clearly wants to sell food, but I came for the beer.

Back on the bike, a quick doughnut from the market and I am off to the Carlton Arms. You can't miss this pub with its gleaming red frontage. The pub is split into two parts; I usually go in the lounge in the left. The two hand pumps are redundant, beer being delivered from somewhere between the bars. This pub really does have a revolving beer list. The only guarantee is that there will usually be a Thornbridge among the five real ales. Not today though. JHB, Potbelly and Caledonian are all available, but I sample Studland Bay Wreckage (4.5%). This really went down well, but the outstanding beer of the day was Wharfebank WISPA - classy biting peardrop pale ale ringing in at 5.1%. Just what I needed before pedaling off to the next hostelry.

With wind assistance I am at the Waggon & Horses in Milton in less than 10 minutes. Parking for cars is easier here but not so straightforward for bikes. I remove my reflective bib, the helmet is off and I secure my vehicle to the pub sign itself. This is a great pub, the only drawback being that it sells the same beer all the time… or so I thought! In addition to the trio of Elgoods beers (I have to have the underrated Black Dog) there is an unexpected guest in the form of Castle Rock Redstart (4.3%). Beer is poured with great care here. In fact, rarely do you see somebody pour a beer with such obvious pride. Both pints look fantastic, foam “crowning” above the rim. I am disappointed to see that this great village pub now has 24 hour TV multi news, but don’t look more than once. There is a range of hats, brewery stuff everywhere and of course the bar billiards table – just what a characterful pub should be. This pub still has beer mats too!

Up the A10 for the last leg – the Sun at Waterbeach. This is a new pub for me… but it is closed on a Tuesday lunchtime. It will have to wait for my next trip. Waterbeach however, is lucky to have more than one pub, so I nip over to the White Horse instead. 3 GK beers are on tap, and I choose Morlands Original (sic). I once lived in Oxford for a year, and today find that the Morlands is indeed very close to the Original – surprisingly so! This beer is right up there with the best of them. A decent bright pub.

Time for the train back, ignore the church clock which tells me that I have missed it. Just in time.

Overall, four pubs and a choice of 20 ales. My next trip will be over similar terrain aiming to take in one town pub, another out-of-town pub, an outlying pub and Histon.