Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sunny Sunday Cycling - Time for a new track

With the TTT (time to trip) reducing (less than two weeks to go) there is a conflict between getting out to get some more miles in my legs and sorting out the last minute items - such as no bike to take with me, a bike box for the bike I don't have ... Mind you even with the Internet making research and purchase possible you can't not go out on a Sunny Sunday. (That means you have to go out!)

As you can see from this picture then sky was cloudy but the sun peeped through from time to time - many of the fields have been l=ploughed, harrowed and appropriate nutrients added for the next crop to be grown. Near White Fen there are dark peaty fields alongside browner fields. This one looks as if it has also had a dusting of powder, I assume that it is the fertiliser.


I trundled up to Upware - notable for a pub called "Five Miles From Anywhere No Hurry Inn" I could not find a website for the pub so that link points to a review of the Pub- here is another one from a cyclist, well he cycled there anyway. There was a strong onion smell on the air - which turned out to be leeks being stripped from the fields. I presume that the Supermarkets have high standards for how leeks look - driven by us fussy shoppers who will always choose perfect looking, clean vegetables over interesting ones that look as if they might have been grown in soil (Whatever next eh). It is very labour intensive and requires gangs of labourers, who after a day's work look shattered as they wait by the roadside for transport. My son is involved in AgriScience and has spent the summer digging, weeding and lifting crops so has a lot of sympathy for them.


As it was a nice day and although I did not have the time to wander too far afield I decided that I would do a bit of exploring and in Wicken Fen set off down a "No Through Road" which I had an inkling of where it might end up. It was great a secluded track that in the end reached Soham. It was a delightful way to avoid traffic, I passed a couple of cyclists going the other way who had obviously had the same idea. Although I could have used the map display on my GPS to see where I was heading I tend not to unless I am tired at the end of a long ride and really want to head home. Along the track the path stopped being a Public Byway and became a Public Bridleway. I have always felt certain that it was permissible to cycle along either type of track, but was not totally sure quite what the difference was.


This was the Byway path, a single track between hedges, it looks as if it has been around for a long time and was probably the normal route for those travelling between Soham and Wicken Fen.


Here the route is now a Bridleway - it looks a lot more suitable for horses being wider and generally flatter. The Byway path had one or two rabbit holes in the path, not really a problem for a cyclist, but not so good for a horse.


A quick check of Wikipedia - here - provided a readable explanation. It turns out that Bridleways are ways over which the public can travel on foot or by horse and under the Countryside Act 1968 bicycles. However there is no obligation to facilitate the use by cyclists. I was on my Hybrid (Marin) on this ride and travelling dangerously. I had not bothered carrying any tools or helmet or puncture repair kits. Normally whenever I do that I end up either falling off or having a puncture. This time I was lucky. I tend to think of this part of the world as flat and boring but with a bit of investigation it amazes me how many off the beaten track paths there are for cyclists.

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