When recabling the gears on a bike just before a ride, first make sure that the spare cable you intend to use is actually a gear cable, and not a brake cable.
I ended up having to ride to the shop in bottom gear, then had to recable the front shifter on the shop floor before the ride started. Luckily everything went together nicely and the shifting is far better than it was at the weekend. The ride was quite good as well, I rode home with Ian then back into town being held up by the cars as usual. I need to get a clear run back in one day just to see how much fun it is way over the speed limit.