Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Around and about in Cambridge - on me bike!

There is nothing like a work excuse to get me cycling - well actually there are loads of other excuses that will get me cycling that are better - but ho hum, I'll take any excuse. At the moment meetings in Cambridge provided the perfect excuse to get out on my bike and cycle. Actually cycling in Cambridge is not so much an excuse as a necessity. It is tedious driving in Cambridge at the best of times and it is even more tedious when it comes to finding convenient parking. Having said that, any driving is tedious, gone are the days when I would relish driving out and about. For me now driving a car is a means to an end - at its best it is OK and most of the time it is rubbish.

The other factor is that quite often cycling can be quicker, no de-frosting is required, although I do wear some extra clothes (gloves and hat and yellow jacket) when cycling. My meetings were at places that didn't have car parks, but did have cycle parking with spaces, unlike the flippin' Railway Station cycle dump park. Providing I don't go too fast I can wear clothes that are sort of suitable for meetings. Actually I don't like wearing suits if I can help it. I lived a more corporate life once, with quite a lot of business mileage and suits and I rather enjoy not having to do that any more.

Now that neatly links into the following pictures, but before I do that I can't help comment on a recent Cambridge News item "One in 10 busway track joints could be 'faulty'". Phew, bumpy rides anyone! What would worry me is whether the uneven bumps could induce resonance in the steering wheels of the buses - which would I imagine would require slower speeds of operation. Here (.doc) is the report going to the Cambridge County Council on the 25th January 2011. Interestingly there is quite a section on shrinkage problems and in 3.12 the report also comments that the first half of 2010 was significantly drier than normal - it doesn't look good for the cycle path maintenance track linear swimming pool if that was the case. The report does talk of grinding back the faces of the concrete tracks to provide the required clearance. I presume this means that if 10% of the joints have the problem then it means that a bunch of tracks get lifted, ground and then put back. I have no idea quite how easy it is to remove a section of track and then put it back in the same place. Presumably it is not that easy otherwise the problem wouldn't have occurred in the first place. Will it require specialist equipment and does the CCC have access to it under the current contract?

Anyway back to Tuesday, in my eagerness to be on time and not too sweaty I tend to plan on travelling at half my fastest cycling speed. Which meant leaving my house at 9.15am. So I got up checked my email, printed out the stuff I had prepared for the day's meetings and horror noticed that it was nearly quarter past the hour and I needed to leave. It was only when I had gotten to my first meeting did I check the details, to find the room number and I realised I was an hour early. The quarter past I had reacted to was the wrong one. Still it allowed me to take a few pictures, get a coffee and get a bit more preparation in.

Despite Cambridge having quite a bit of formal cycle parking you still see lots of bikes chained to railings. If you live in a bedsit/small flat or shared house there is just not enough space to provide parking for bicycles as well.


The bicycle is also used to advertise on the streets of Cambridge and the advertising is not always related to cycling in any way.


Just by King's College Chapel, it is a popular thoroughfare for cyclists. With out even trying there are five in the picture. - it is not quite Copenhagen Cycling Chic, but you get the picture. (I am of course referring to the quality of my photography, not the cyclists!)


Whilst moving around Cambridge I tend to take the more scenic routes, it might take a little longer, but it really is more pleasant. This tree is alongside Midsummer Common, near Elizabeth Way Bridge (on Sustrans 51). I should have stopped to see what it was all about - but sorry I didn't so am not sure.


More Cycle advertising - in this case the advertising relates to the "billboard" - and of course this advertiser as well as using the bicycle also makes use of high-tech - The Bikeman.


I know these pictures are hopping around a bit - this is where Sustrans 51 passes under Elizabeth Way Bridge, alongside the River Cam. Actually the cycle and pedestrian route used to pass under the arch to the right, now closed off - I am not sure quite what is happening.


Newmarket Road in Cambridge is not one I travel along very often, either by bicycle or car. It is congested by traffic with lots of traffic lights and drivers who seem to think it is perfectly reasonable to block the lights or use the Bus lanes. On a bicycle, certainly heading out of town the cycle lane runs along side the bus lane and more than once I have had a moment with a bus whizzing by me causing suction to draw me to the bus. So I don't cycle along it.

However I have been meaning to take pictures of the graffiti along the town end of Newmarket Road. This has been sanctioned by the developers . Although the Police have probed it! Apparently some people don't like it, but as someone who doesn't live there I think some of it looks pretty good. This picture looks a little odd because I was shooting towards the sun and the coloured blurry bits at the bottom are reflections in the lens.


The picture remind me of a sort of adult version of the art that decorates some of the Disney rides at the Paris Disneyland. (What springs to mind is Smallworld - they seem to use a paint that glows in UV light.)


Mind you some of the glowing effect might be because these are HDR pictures. I took them with my small pocket camera which only takes three different exposures.


I also popped up Sustrans 51 a little way just past Fison Road - there is a pool/lake there. It was very still and the area is sheltered so the reflections looked pretty good.

S51 nr Fisons Road_Panorama.jpg

I forgot to mention it was pretty cold that morning, with temperatures around 2C and a bit of a ground frost. I wore a hat and then got too hot and took it off and then got too cold and so on. It was a pleasant suny day though.


  1. The Oak on Midsummer Common is, apparently, "for the chop". See http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/Oak-festooned-in-save-me-pleas-still-looks-set-for-chop.htm.

  2. Thank you. I had not realised that the Oak set for the chop was a small tree. I had assumed it was an old Oak on its last legs. It does seem strange for a tree to be fairly recently planted (and protected with fencing) and then chopped down a bit later. Not the most efficient way to spend tax payers money.