Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring has arrived - I saw my first Charity Bike Ride of the year!

It really must be Spring - I saw my first Charity bike ride of the year out and about today. I first noticed it when driving in my car and a string of cyclists were travelling in the opposite direction. They also had to put up with a car driver who did not seem to know whether they wanted to overtake, hang back or just force me off the road. I stopped - it was the safest thing to do. It was a mixed bag of cyclists - but they certainly looked enthusiastic and had a great day for their ride - sunny but not too warm. There were quite a few white A4 notices on lampposts and poles along the route - it was the Hannah 100. A 100Km from Cambridge up to Ely via Burwell, Exning, Chippenham and Prickwillow and then back on Sustrans 11 to Burwell and Sustrans 51 to Cambridge. At least I think that was the route - their map is here. By the way the 100 is 100Km not 100miles - still a good distance (around 60miles) especially when undertaken by people who do not do a lot of cycling.

I must admit I would have enjoyed taking part - and it was on a route I know well. Later that day when I went out for a cycle ride I did come across a few stragglers - some just wanted reassurance that they were on the right route back to Cambridge others looked as if muscle strain or cramp was a problem. I hope they all made it successfully.

I did a bit of meandering on my ride - partly to see if I could work out what route they were taking and partly because it was a nice day for meandering. Instead of turning right on Sandy drove towards White Fen I turned left and followed the track a short way - then took this picture looking back - the White Fen cycle path lies roughly between the two Pylon runs - off to the left. You see a lot of "plank" bridges around here - the only way to cross from one field to the next over the drainage ditches without taking the long way round. I had to try it of course.


TI also visited the site of the new Reach Lode bridge being built as part of the Lodes Way cycle/walking/horse riding route through the Fens. Apparently the design requires some large culverts to be built in case of flooding in the fields - this is one of those culverts.


The leek fields are being slowly harvested. It seems to take quite a long time as it is done by hand, presumably to ensure the leeks don't get damaged - there is an interesting onion-y smell in the air when you cycle past.


To avoid the traffic - such as it is, I cycled along the tracks Split Drove, Straight Drove and Harrison's Drove. I saw a group of 4 deer in the field alongside Reach Lode - it is not unusual to see them in the open - they were being cautious though. Each of the deer seems to be looking in a different direction. The top of the lode bank is much higher than the surrounding land as you can see in the picture.


Straight Drove is a grass/mud track - which connects the tarmac of Split Drove with the tarmac of Harrison's Drove. I rarely see anyone else around on the track - normally it is just farmers and farm workers in the fields. I do pass an occasional cyclist - we normally stop and have a chat about things. The mud was rock hard - I normally cycle at the edge. The ruts were a little to deep to cycle in - the pedals catch.


with the amount of drainage required there are quite a few concrete bridges across the drain (as some are called). This one is Commisioners' Drain - a bit further South it turns through 90 degrees.


The use of covers to accelerate the growth of freshly drilled crops is reasonably common - it seems to work - where the wind has blown away the cover there appears to be healthy growth.


Round the back of Wicken village , on the Sustrans 51 route one of the many signs to encourage participants in the Hannah 100 - in this case to encourage Carl Isaacson specifically.


It is not just the oilseed rape that is doing well - here is a large crop of dandelions growing well in a field. They have a slightly deeper yellow colour.


On my way back through Reach were, what I hope was the last two stragglers sitting in the shade of the Horse Chestnut tree in the middle of the green. It can get a bit unpleasant sitting for hours on a bicycle saddle when you are unused to it. Let's hope they made it ok.

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