Monday, February 14, 2011

A loop around Cambridge (looking for lemmings - no)

Sunday 13th February: There comes a point in time when you need to re-decorate and the trouble is once you start you find it difficult to stop. Well I don't personally, but my wife tends to notice how things get a bit shabby over time and I can't disagree with her. What I mean is I could disagree with her, but I don't, because I agree with her, it does look a bit shabby when one part of the house has been re-decorated and another hasn't. So dismantling the various boxes that now make up a modern television took some time. I labelled the cables and drew a diagram. When I were a lad there was one box and you had to walk over to it to change channels - nowadays there seems to be a proliferation of boxes, screen, amplifier, speakers, HD recorder and remote controls for all of them. (Plus in my case an extra "all-in-one" remote control that was great but seems to have just broken, before all the dismantling though.) Yet we claim not to watch the TV that often.

So priorities being what they are moving stuff out of the living room became the priority for the Weekend. Most if it was fairly straightforward, except the screws holding the blinds up seemed to have been super-glued in. I had to resort to a T-handled screwdriver (used to dismantle the engine on my old Honda CB125 motorcycle - again when I was a lad). The other problem is getting leverage when using a step-ladder. Still it all got done and by Sunday afternoon I had a bit of time for a ride.

My original plan was to head out towards Lodes Way and I almost did before taking a detour at Swaffham Bulbeck and cycling around Cambridge for a change. Here is the link to the Bike Route Toaster map with a picture below. The ride started off badly, not because of the late start, but on my way out of Cambridge I stopped to take a picture and found that I had not got a memory card in my camera. So I ended up doing a bit more distance heading back and out again. I didn't stop the second time. In fact because I set off slightly later than usual and because it was such a grey day I took very few pictures.

The route as shown (without the detour back to get the memory card) was just under 56Km with two "hills" one of 50m elevation and the other of 60m elevation. In general terms mere pimples on the countryside, but for flatlanders like me they are hills.

Although there are some bits of news to talk about first. I thought my blog was fairly constrained - cycling and pictures taken when cycling - well there is a blog which focuses on the punctuality of the X1 bus route. It would also seem that Cambridge students seem to enjoy appearing topless - well one anyway. The comments are the best bit - a summary runs along the lines of "er a news story?".

When my mum comes to stay she thinks that the countryside is fairly litter-free, however there are some roads and railway lines with problems and Bill Bryson is launching a litter campaign to sort it.

Meanwhile researchers at Anglia Ruskin University (we have two Universities in Cambridge) have developed a new car bonnet aimed at reducing the injuries to cyclists and pedestrians. Apparently in Europe pedestrians and cyclists account for 20 per cent of all traffic fatalities.

And finally (before the rest of the Post) a story about Jelly babies - 10.5ft high in London's West End. Now that's what I call a Jelly Baby, I wonder if they are edible, I'd need a bike trailer to carry them round though.

Cambridge Loop 6 Antt.JPG

Why did I mentioned lemmings, well twice on my ride I had pedestrians walk out (well one of them ran out actually) in front of me. They emerged from between parked cars on side roads assuming that they could hear anything coming and then froze in surprise as they got in my silent way. As cyclists we are told not to cycle too close (and I was not too close) to a line of parked cars, just in case doors open or people pop out and they do. I find a hard-stare sufficient (after Paddington Bear).

As I mentioned it was a grey day as you can see here in this picture of the new Addenbrooke's Road where it rises over the railway line. I followed the Addenbrookes Great Shelford Cycleway and then looped under the bridge onto the Addenbrooke's Road cycleway. As you can see it was gloomy and the sky was an unrelenting grey.


The new roads make it much easier to get onto the Addenbrooke's site, however they are keen that it doesn't become a rat run for motorists to cut across from the M11 to the South-West of Cambridge so apparently there are cameras to catch people who do it. As you can see from the sign this applies to motor vehicles rather than bicycles though. This picture is looking up Francis Crick Avenue. Nice to see cycle lanes in the picture as well - although not up to Dutch standards.


After leaving the Biomedical Campus to cycle along the Shelford road I passed a young mum with a child seat and another one cycling alongside. One of the challenges for the young cyclists is that they are not so adept at controlling a bicycle, listening to instructions from Mum and avoiding obstacles. That doesn't stop some idiots from blocking the cycle paths though. Although to be fair the sign from this side suggests that the cycle path ends, whilst from the other side it is shown as a cycle path (it is on the OSM Cycle map as well). You should still not park on the pavement though.


I detoured though up to Coton and then into the new Countryside Reserve past Wheatcases Barn and then back into Coton. Although it was a Sunday the noise coming from the traffic along the M11 (near to the Reserve) was immense - try it if you don't know just how loud roads can be.

My route also took me back down Madingley Road where the shared used path alongside Churchill College has also been upgraded, nice and smooth and wider than before to help reduce potential conflict between pedestrians and cyclists. Then I returned via Gilbert Road - there were NO CARS parked, the double yellow lines were in place - it was so much safer.

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