Friday, 18th February: I am slowly getting back into the habit of cycling most days. The grey days aren't much encouragement though. Although if I compare the Cambridge DTG weather charts for January and February there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of difference. I was expecting to see less sunshine but they are not too different. Perhaps it is all in my mind.
The other aspect of cycling is to have a reason for cycling and meetings in and around Cambridge have kept me clocking up some distance this year. I do find I take fewer pictures though, partly because I always set off later than planned and generally feel I ought to be focusing on getting to the meeting rather than taking pictures along the route.
Today's meeting was a lunchtime meeting and we had arranged to meet at the Carpenter's Arms. Regular readers will know that I favour the Dyke's End over at Reach, which gets its name from being at the end of the Devil's Dyke - now there's a surprise. If you do a Google search (and I guess other Search engines will be similar) there are loads of such Dykes.
We had our meal in the bar, but the Carpenters Arms also has a restaurant. They also feature some locally brewed beers and I had CB1 from the Fulbourn based Moonshine brewery. (There website is under construction at the moment so here is another with a review of their beers. It was a very quaffable beer - and there is a word I don't get to use too often.
The person I was meeting also cycled which is why he suggested the Carpenters Arms it was the right sort of distance for his current state of cycling (slightly less than mine). So I chose
the Great a circle route down past the Airport Cycleway into Cherry Hinton and then along Fulbourn Old Drift (West then East) into Fulbourn and then along Cow Lane before passing through the centre of Fulbourn and on up to Great Wilbraham.
I won't moan about the way the cycleway into Cherry Hinton seems to dump the unwary cyclist on the wrong side of the road, nor about the weird traffic calming layout of the roads which make life more difficult at least for cyclists (in my opinion) There is a nice cut through though down Fulbourn Old Drift which takes you past Tescos and then up a small hill (which can't be much more than 20m in height) when you pass through Fulbourn there is an interesting building, which I have always assumed was a converted Chapel, but did in fact belong to the Cambridge? Waterworks company.
Here is the route and map all in all a fairly short route - about 28Km, but it provided some fresh air on a Friday lunchtime. Fortunately despite the greyness of the day it didn't rain. The Wilbraham Road between Fulbourn and Wilbraham seems to have suffered a bit in the Winter. There were potholes along the edge of the road and some had been filled in, although to my untrained eye not to the highest standard. The verge has also had some drainage channels cut as the road also appears to collect large puddles and puddles and potholes are not a good combination for cars or cyclists.
As I was late I did not have time to stop on the way to the Pub to take pictures, although in the end I managed to get there less than 5 minutes late, but I was hot and sweaty. Afterwards I cycled through the Wilbrahams on up to Bottisham and then back to Cambridge on the NCN51 route. You can get from Bottisham to Cambridge pretty much all on shared cycle paths. Although the path is not very wide in places so beware the rush hour tidal flows, towards Cambridge in the morning and towards Bottisham in the evening. The hedge does also encroach on the path in places so what should be just about wide enough to two cyclists isn't. This picture might not show it very well, but the hedge has branches that protrude well into the cycle area. This bit of NCN51 does not have any of the lighting put into the path closer to Cambridge and only seems to have painted dotted lines on one side as well.
The other side of the road also had quite a bit of litter, I would imagine it was windblown, although there were several polystyrene fast food packages that had been dumped out of passing cars. People who do that are slobs. There are also traffic counters on the path - here is one near the Missing Sock, I wonder what they actually do with the information. Here is the 2009 Cambridgeshire County Council Report and the cyclist specific section is here (pdf). According to the data in 2009 during a 12 hour period 150 cyclists passed between Quy and Bottisham. (Assuming that represents 150 car journeys of 10 miles pr working day then it works out at a saving of a third of a million car miles.)
As you can see some Slob couldn't be bothered to carry his beer can home - it just had to be dumped as he walked.
Well despite the grey day - it made a pleasant Friday lunchtime spin out, saving the planet and having nice meal. As a cyclist I find Sticky Toffee puddings almost irresistible, and yes that was the case today. (Lasagne is another favourite cycling staple.)